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2015 Canada GP Qualifying Report
Posted on 07 June 2015
By James Allen
I’m really not going back to Monaco. I’ve moved on. I don’t even have to think about it, I couldn’t care less about it. I can’t do anything about the past so there’s honestly no point in thinking about it. I’m thinking about this race, I’m excited” - Lewis Hamilton
How appropriate that Lewis Hamilton should score his 44th career pole position driving car number 44, a number he chose due to it’s happy memories from karting. He took a commanding pole position on the Montreal track where he scored his first pole and win eight years ago. It is Hamilton’s sixth pole in seven races this year and his fourth on this track.
Hamilton arrived in Montreal under a cloud after losing the Monaco Grand Prix in a public and humiliating way due to an unforced strategy error by him and his team in the closing stages of the race.
He needed a strong response here; a repeat of what happened here in Montreal 12 months ago, where he made a mistake in qualifying, would have been quite devastating mentally for the 30 year old. But he held his nerve despite a difficult weekend with limited track time and several issues on track to take pole by over 3/10ths of a second from his team mate Nico Rosberg.
Kimi Raikkonen starts a season best 3rd on the grid for Ferrari while his team mate Sebastian Vettel not only had problems with his turbo which put him 16th on the grid, he also had problems with the FIA Stewards, who wanted to know why he overtook another car this morning under Red Flag conditions during Free Practice 3.
This has been a strange weekend for the teams and drivers, as the practice sessions have been cut short by rain and red flags, meaning that no one has particularly good information about how the tyres will perform in the race.
Ferrari looked very fast in the limited race preparation running we saw on Friday and if that carries through in the race, then they can challenge the Mercedes drivers for the race win.
Strategy will be vital; the supersoft tyres are only 7/10ths of a second faster than the softs and they have higher degradation. but no-one has an accurate picture of what that degradation is until the race is more than 10 laps old.
So it will be a race where teams will be reacting to situations and making decisions on that basis.
The other factor here is the Safety Car, 11 of the past 17 races have been hit with at least one Safety Car and sometimes four in one race! A bold option for Ferrari and Raikkonen would be to do a one-stop strategy and take the benefit of the Safety Car is deployed. But Ferrari have only one car at the front of the grid, after Sebastian Vettel’s problems and so they may choose to be more reactive to Mercedes than offensive in their thinking.
Lotus has been much more competitive here this weekend with the Mercedes engine cars occupying seven of the top ten grid slots and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas is always fast here. He will be battling with Lotus to challenge for the podium should anything occur to the Mercedes cars and Raikkonen.
There are a lot of penalties this weekend, making the grid calculation tricky and we will se drivers taking penalties into the race; as they won’t be able to move back sufficient places on the grid to make up for their engine penalties, we will see drivers like Verstappen serving time penalties in the race.Leading Formula One™ commentator and journalist, James Allen is a contributing writer for Singapore GP Pte Ltd