Montreal played host to an extremely tight qualifying session today. As the season progresses, it’s beginning to look increasingly like we have a genuine three-way battle for the constructors’ championship. When was the last time that happened?
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is one that favours cars that have strong straight line speed and good braking stability at high speed, and the result today reflects this. Qualifying got off to a bang with Romain Grosjean creating his second smokescreen of the season (remember Spain?) when his engine went “pop”. I guess the theory was that if others can not see the pit exit, they can not qualify. I see what you did there, Haas. Other than that, and Marcus Ericsson tagging the wall, Q1 was a fairly unsurprising session; although Pierre Gasly being eliminated was a small shock.
The highlight of Q2 was Sebastian Vettel moaning on the radio about traffic. Nothing new there, right? This time though, his complaints were more than justified as the amount of cars backing off at the end of the lap was bizarre, and somewhat dangerous. I imagine the stewards will be having words about that. Kevin Magnussen, Charles Leclerc, Brendon Hartley and the two McLaren’s were eliminated in that session.
At the business end of qualifying, it was Sebastian Vettel who came out on top during the first runs – and he improved his time by 0.012 seconds on his second run. Kimi Raikkonen may have had a chance to beat that time, but ran wide on the exit of turn two, and was unable to set a representative final lap. As for the other teams, they were close, but couldn’t quite match the four-time German World Champion who claimed his fourth pole position in seven races. Valtteri Bottas lines up second with Max Verstappen third. Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton starts behind the gearbox of his team mate in fourth, with Raikkonen 5th and Monaco GP winner, Daniel Ricciardo, 6th.
Just behind the top teams we’ll have a very colourful grid with yellow and pink mixing together. It’s Renault-Force India-Renault-Force India who appear to be in an extremely close battle this weekend.
Hamilton has a 19 point lead in the championship as things stand. If the race were to finish as they qualified, Hamilton would leave Montreal with just a one point lead. We’re in for a frantic race tomorrow. What do you think will happen? Let us know in the comments section and come find out if you’re right with the MiniDrivers.