Connect with us

2018 F1

2018 Canadian Grand Prix: Qualifying Analysis

Published

on

  • 56
    Shares

Sebastian Vettel clinched pole for the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix, and was followed by Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen. The three together managed to dislodge six time winner and circuit favourite Lewis Hamilton out of the top 3, and the Briton had to settle for fourth place on the grid.

Vettel claimed pole position at a circuit where Mercedes has had pole for the last five years, and where his title rival Hamilton has been a favourite. While the scarlet team has a way of building momentum over the race weekend.

From Friday Free Practice to Qualifying, it looked more like a Red Bull and Mercedes fight, however in the German’s words “Yesterday, I think we were n a bit of trouble, I wasn’t really happy with the car, we had some problems and I just couldn’t get the rhythm, usually I like this track”. Speaking of the contrast in qualifying, he said “The car was incredible in quali. It just kept getting quicker”.

His team-mate had to settle for fifth place on the grid followed by Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo in sixth. The fight between the top six was the closest so far in the season, where a fraction of a second splits them apart. When it comes down to such a narrow margin, the tiniest mistake can cost you a place or two, as seen with Hamilton where he locked up thrice on one lap and although he was quick it cost him a place in the top three. The same was with Raikkonen who could have been in the top three, but made an error in his final sector and then abort his final attempt in the third session of qualifying.

While the top six have secured their grid spots, the driver who was best of the rest was Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg, who has been consistent in securing P7 at most of the race weekends so far. The German was followed by Force India’s Esteban Ocon in P8, his team-mate Carlos Sainz in P9 and ex-teammate and Force India driver Sergio Perez in P10.

The Renault drivers often occupy similar spots as p7 or p9 and this year their main contenders are Force India, as they will fight for fourth place with them. But Force India’s limitations in developing their car due to financial issues, means they will have limitations at future races in the season.

Vettel’s fastest time of the 1:10 .764 seconds was the new track record. Although he had set the fastest time in all three sectors to string together his quick lap, he got beaten by Verstappen in the first sector. The sector times of the final session of qualifying were as follows:

Sector Driver Time
S1 Verstappen 19.420
S2 Vettel 22.626
S3 Vettel 28.570

A lot of times at a track like Montreal, a safety car or virtual safety car means it is very difficult keeping the tyres within the optimum temperature window. With the circuit being harsh on brakes, brake temperatures is something teams have to factor in when it comes to the cooling of the car and setup. As the track starts coming alive, the times start getting quicker, but it can also me a lot of brake dust on the tarmac, which can affect grip and balance for some later in the race. Brake by wire issues are common at this track and they either cause a retirement or bad performance issues for some.

With dropping temperatures during the race, pitstops and tyre compounds used will play key in determining the outcome of the race. While the FP2 runs indicated that the Mercedes look very competitive and strong on the ultra-soft and supersoft tyres in their long run pace/ race trims, it still can be a different ball game altogether when it comes to the race. It is likely that Ferrari and Red Bull will step up their game by then, and try their best to dislodge the Silver Arrows from the podium at one of their favourite circuits.

When it comes to engine power at this power sensitive circuit, there were talks of Renault’s new engine upgrade being boosted by an extra 20bhp, but it would still mean they would have 20bhp more to go to equal the Mercedes or Ferraris. However this weekend Red Bull Racing team have used the upgraded unit, and Verstappen’s final attempt in the Q3 session could be a indicator of the same. As far as the rumours about Ferrari cheating are concerned, the current result has proved that their engine as a whole is not a bad package and powerful enough around circuits like these. Vettel too had a mistake in his final attempt but it did not cost him much since the car and engine package seemed to have worked perfectly to generate the overall put come devoid of the error.

Another point to note, but a minor one is how Hamilton’s psyche evolves during the course of a race weekend. The psychosis of the drivers in contention for the title often plays as a huge factor in the battle that evolves through the season. At circuits like Montreal, and Silverstone where the Briton stamps his authority, it doesn’t just boil down to the race.

For the four time British World Champion, it is often the case, where if the rhythm does not build from a Friday to Sunday, it can play havoc with demotivating him and thats when a driver like Sebastian Vettel has the edge over him. An example of this is the 2016 season, when Nico Rosberg would use those bad weekends to his advantage.

While Canada marks one third of the season done, a win at tracks like these can motivate or demotivate a driver, and when it comes to the Vettel versus Hamilton battle, this is not the first time Ferrari has broken a Mercedes record of taking consecutive poles, they have managed that at China earlier this year. A feisty factor that adds into this is Verstappen starting in the same row as Hamilton, and the Dutch hasn’t had a crash or incident yet this weekend.

Ideally the Silver Arrows strategy will be to have Bottas take care of Vettel while Hamilton gets to battle Verstappen for his third place. However, if Ferrari uses their strategy correctly they can have Raikkonen play into the game as second gun man from the start of the grand prix. This weekend marks the 100th race without a win for the Finn, and it also marks the 100th race where a Merc, Ferrari or Red Bull Racing car have had a victory. The last time a driver who wasn’t from these three outfits and had one a race was Raikkonen with Lotus F1 team at Australia in 2013.

The Canadian circuit sometimes has thrown up boring races, when Mercedes had a superior advantage over majority of the grid, but when the fight between the top 6 is so close; one has to rewind back to some of the races here where there has also been a lot of drama. The start can be a chaotic one here, rain is often a factor, and if there is something to add to it, it is the straight at the Wall of Champions where a lot of drivers tend to mistakes or crash into it.

Loading...

Comments

Latest Results




Latest F1 News

2019 F112 hours ago

Lauda wanted Mercedes to keep going – Wolff

56SharesAn emotional Toto Wolff said in Monaco that Niki Lauda was enjoying Mercedes’ dominance in 2019. “The last time I...

2019 F113 hours ago

Binotto excuses Leclerc’s mistakes

56SharesMattia Binotto has excused Charles Leclerc for making mistakes at the start of his career at Ferrari. While heralded by...

2019 F113 hours ago

Ferrari should soon switch focus to 2020 – Webber

56SharesMark Webber thinks Ferrari should consider writing off the 2019 world championship after the next race in Canada. So far...

2019 F113 hours ago

Lauda funeral set for Wednesday

56SharesThe public can attend Niki Lauda’s funeral next Wednesday. German-language reports say it will take place at the gothic St...

2019 F113 hours ago

Alonso-McLaren relationship not broken – Brown

56SharesZak Brown insists McLaren’s relationship with Fernando Alonso is not broken. After almost winning the Indy 500 with the Andretti...

2019 F113 hours ago

Raikkonen dislikes modern Monaco layout

56SharesKimi Raikkonen says Monaco has lost its magic of the past – for the drivers. This weekend, the Finn –...

2019 F114 hours ago

F1 heading for new engine formula in 2025

56SharesF1 looks set to scrap the ‘power unit’ regulations for 2025. Due to their complexity, expense, lack of noise and...

2019 F11 day ago

Perez admits Mexico GP heading for axe

56SharesSergio Perez has admitted that his home race in Mexico looks set to drop off the 2020 calendar. Not yet...

2019 F11 day ago

Vettel denies 2019 Ferrari design is flawed

56SharesSebastian Vettel has dismissed suggestions the basic design of Ferrari’s 2019 car is flawed. “If it us, then there are...

2019 F13 days ago

Alonso rejected move to ‘buy’ Indy 500 seat

56SharesFernando Alonso rejected McLaren boss Zak Brown’s desire to “buy” a seat for the Spaniard in Sunday’s Indy 500. The...

Most Popular

ThisisF1.com is not affiliated with Formula 1, Formula One Management, Formula One Administration, Formula One Licensing BV, Formula One World Championship Ltd or any other organization or entity associated with the official Formula One governing organizations or their shareholders. Copyrighted material used under Fair Use/Fair Comment.

References
We could use the following leading F1 news sources for stories: SkyF1, BBC F1, Autosport, ESPN F1, FIA Media Center, MotorSport, JamesAllen and others leading authors blog.

All Rights Reserved © 2017 Prime Sport Media