George Russell starts from pole in Canada

Cloudy. Dry. Air +20C, highway +32C

The Montreal circuit is sometimes compared to Monaco, although there are not many similarities – technically it is also in the city, and the 10th turn is a narrow and very steep hairpin, similar to Loews. But the fundamental differences are much more important: overtaking is quite possible at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, so much does not depend on the results of qualifying here.

Nevertheless, the battle for pole was very interesting and partly unexpected.

Before qualifying, clouds gathered around Notre-Dame Island, where the circuit is located, and although no rain had yet fallen, the chance was estimated at 80%.

In the first session everyone drove at the same time on the softest tires and engineer Lando Norrisa informed his driver that the first drops of rain had already appeared, but if it drizzled, it was only a little.

Either because of this or simply due to a wrong choice of speed, Carlos Sainz went off the track, drove through the relegation zone, but returned without consequences.

At the start of the first session, Lance Stroll took turns taking first place, followed by his teammate Fernando Alonso and then George Russell, and was replaced by Lando Norris with a result of 1:13.541.

But Max Verstappen, who was behind him, improved his time by 0.173 seconds. When half of the session was over, Oscar Piastri, Sergio Perez, Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon and Guanyu Zhou remained at the bottom.

By the way, Stroll did hit the “Wall of Champions” on his second attempt, but only slightly. Piastri was quite openly hindered by Lewis Hamilton and Yuki Tsunoda on a fast lap, although it was clear that it was not on purpose. However, the stewards became interested in the incident.

The Australian McLaren driver was not the only one with traffic problems – Charles Leclerc also complained about this – but he was at least in 7th place.

Gasly drove a very good lap and climbed into the top five, although he did not stay there long. Piastri also pushed himself, but showed an 11th result. The speeds increased and now Lewis Hamilton took the first line of the protocol with a result of 1:12.851. However, at the very end of the session the top three changed: Max Verstappen showed the best time: 1:12.360.

Yuki Tsunoda, whose RB contract was just extended for 2025, confirmed his speed with a second-fastest lap. Alex Albon was able to show the 4th result, but it was this performance that played a certain role in the fact that Sergio Perez, as in Monaco, dropped out of contention after the first part of qualifying. For the second stage in a row, the Mexican only shows a 16th result.

Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg and Guanyu Zhou also failed to qualify.

The engineers warned their riders that rain would still come, but that it would be light and short-lived.

All the cars were lined up in the pit lane, we had to rush to get a few fast laps in before the weather turned bad. In the second session everyone again used only soft tires and Oscar Piastri was the first to set a good time: 1:12.462.

But George Russell completed his lap 0.139 seconds faster. Lewis Hamilton moved up to third, Lando Norris was fourth, Charles Leclerc was fifth. His teammate Carlos Sainz occupies 10th place so far and Max Verstappen was 11th overall. But on the next attempt, Carlos showed an eighth result and Verstappen a tenth.

The replay showed that Russell almost lost control of the car on another attempt in Turn 4, but still managed to ‘catch’ his Mercedes and avoid contact with the bump stop.

The second session came to an end, all cars were on track with new sets of soft tires and Norris showed the best result: 1:12.201. But Tsunoda was in second place at the time, which could be considered a very impressive feat.

Lando’s result was in turn blocked by first Hamilton and then Russell, but this was still to be expected. But it was a bit of a sensation that Ferrari drivers didn’t make it to the qualifying final!

Charles Leclerc only finished 11th after making a mistake at the final chicane – apparently due to the car simply not having enough grip on the track. His partner finished 12th.

The red cars’ speed deficit was all the more surprising considering that both Visa RB drivers and Alex Albon in Williams made it to the final. Before leaving the cockpit, Leclerc mumbled irritably: “I don’t think we went through.” I better not comment.”

Logan Sargent, Kevin Magnussen and Pierre Gasly also dropped out of further competition.

The McLaren drivers took to the track first for the final session and the engineer told Norris that the threat of rain had subsided. In addition, all participants in the qualifying final rode on rolled-in Soft tires.

According to the results of the first attempt, Verstappen set the best time: 1:12.358. Piastri came second at this stage of the session, followed by Alonso and Stroll. But then George Russell was ahead of everyone and completed a lap in exactly 1:12.000. Hamilton lost 0.280 seconds to his teammate.

Lando Norris

After the first attempt, everyone returned to the pits, after which Piastri was the first to receive a fresh set of Soft. Norris came onto the track next. Of these, Lando was faster and climbed to 2nd place.

There were two minutes until the end of qualifying and by then everyone else had joined the fight. Lance Stroll showed the 6th fastest time, Fernando Alonso – 5th, Daniel Ricciardo – 4th, his teammate – 8th. But Max Verstappen was still on track and completed the first sector with the absolute best time, but slowed down slightly in the second and ultimately finished the lap with exactly the same result as Russell: 1.12.000!

But because George showed first this time, he took pole position! Moreover, this is only the second qualification he has won in Formula 1, the first being in Hungary in 2022.

Verstappen’s second result is not surprising, just like the 3rd and 4th times of the McLaren drivers, but Daniel Ricciardo’s 5th fastest time was the Australian’s best qualifying performance this season. This refers to the ‘real’ qualifying, and not the one that precedes the sprint, because in Miami he already started from 4th position in the short race of the weekend.

Russell simply beamed with joy as he commented on such a successful performance at the Montreal circuit. He dedicated this achievement to the Mercedes team and promised to fight for victory on Sunday.

Pilot Team 1 session Session 2 Session 3
M Time Kr M Time Kr M Time Kr
1. D. Russell Mercedes 7 1:13.013 9 1 1:11,742 eleven 1 1:12,000 6
2. M. Verstappen Red Bull 1 1:12,360 eleven 7 1:12,549 9 2 1:12,000 6
3. L.Norris McLaren 6 1:12,959 9 3 1:12,201 8 3 1:12.021 8
4. O. Piastri McLaren 5 1:12,907 10 5 1:12,462 10 4 1:12,103 9
5. D. Ricciardo RB 14 1:13,240 10 8 1:12,572 8 5 1:12,178 7
6. F. Alonso Aston Martin 12 1:13.117 10 9 1:12,635 7 6 1:12,228 6
7. L. Hamilton Mercedes 3 1:12,851 9 2 1:11,979 eleven 7 1:12,280 6
8. Yu.Tsunoda RB 2 1:12,748 10 4 1:12,303 7 8 1:12,414 7
9. L. Walk Aston Martin 10 1:13,088 eleven 10 1:12,659 8 9 1:12,701 6
10. A. Elbon Williams 4 1:12,896 eleven 6 1:12,485 8 10 1:12,796 7
11. S. Leclerc Ferrari eleven 1:13.107 12 eleven 1:12,691 9
12. K. Sainz Ferrari 8 1:13,038 eleven 12 1:12,728 eleven
13. L. Sargent Williams 9 1:13,063 12 13 1:12,736 10
14. K.Magnussen Hare 13 1:13,217 9 14 1:12,916 7
15. P. Gasly Alps 15 1:13,289 10 15 1:12,940 8
16. C. Perez Red Bull 16 1:13,326 eleven
17. V. Bottas Sauber 17 1:13,366 10
18. E. Okon Alps 18 1:13,435 eleven
19. N. Hulkenberg Hare 19 1:13.978 10
20. G.Zhou Sauber 20 1:14,292 eleven

Source: F1 News

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