Lewis Hamilton has secured his fourth pole of the season with a 1:12.812 lap around the Circuit Gilles Vielleneuve, but he’s more than lucky to have it. Rosberg locked his brakes into turn one on his final flying lap of Q3, but still managed to qualify 2nd, but the Mercedes front-row lockout is the most unconvincing lockout so far this season.
The biggest surprise of the weekend came in the form of a flying Ferrari. Sebastian Vettel secured 3rd place, but crucially, was only 0.178 seconds off of Hamilton’s pole position lap. That’s the closest that the Ferrari has gotten to the Mercedes in Qualifying since the dawn of the dominant Mercedes era. Bearing in mind that the Ferrari is kinder on its tyres than the Mercedes hints that we might actually have a race tomorrow! Mercedes look to no longer be in a league of their own.
Vettel complained after the session that he lost traction on his best lap, so it’s possible that he could have done even better! Red Bull’s smiling honey-badger Daniel Ricciardo might be frowning, as a mistake on his flying lap saw the Aussie kiss the wall of champions a bit too eagerly. Actually, kissing the wall is considered to be part of a perfect lap, because it means you’re throwing the car into the corner with maximum speed. It might be better to say that Ricciardo got really frisky with the wall of champions, because he definitely lost momentum on the slight impact, hampering his speed on the pit-straight and finishing in 4th, just under half-a-second off of Hamilton.
The conclusion has to be that, had Rosberg, Vettel and Ricciardo had incident free flying-laps, the top four would have been even closer together.
The biggest losers of qualifying were Williams. This session has confirmed that they’ve really taken a step back from where they were last season. Valterri Bottas qualified 7th and Massa 8th, on a circuit that should be a massive advantage for Williams.