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Nico Rosberg has qualified on pole position for the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix, stealing the position away from Lewis Hamilton at a circuit that many consider to be his best. Hamilton had to settle for second, with Sebastian Vettel grabbing 3rd place at the last moment in an excellent performance at a track where Renault and Ferrari powered cars were expected to struggle.

Q1:

Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2014The general consensus heading into qualifying was that pole position was Hamilton’s to lose. This was bolstered by the results of final practice where Lewis was faster than Nico by half a second.

We’d lost a driver from Qualifying before it had even begun, with Esteban Gutierrez unable to qualify after a seemingly minor crash in FP3 which ruined the suspension on his Sauber. This alleviated the pressure for some who may have been on the cusp of being eliminated, but some were still at risk.

The two Williams cars were the early pace setters in the first few minutes of qualifying, with 2nd row qualifier Valtteri Bottas a tenth ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa. This was prior to the two Mercedes fast laps. Rosberg duly took the top spot away from Williams, with Hamilton unable to do so initially after an off track moment at turn 1. Lewis made up for it shortly after by going a few tenths quicker. Hamilton then really showed his speed by going 7 tenths faster than his team-mate.

The final few laps saw a last minute scramble to get into second session by some drivers who emerged onto the track on the super soft tyres. Perez was amongst them but made a mistake when he dipped a tyre into the grass at turn 8, spinning the Force India around. He was on the edge of being eliminated in 16th but was rescued after Pastor Maldonado pulled his Lotus off of the track due to a mechanical problem. Any threat of an advancement by a either Marussia or Caterham was also quelled when Ericsson put his car into the wall at turn 9, destroying the rear suspension and bringing Q1 to a premature close.

Out of Q1:

POSDriverTeamTime
17Pastor MaldonadoLotus1’18.328
18Max ChiltonMarussia1’18.348
19Jules BianchiMarussia1’18.359
20Kamui KobayashiCaterham1’19.278
21Marcus EricssonCaterham1’19.820
22Esteban GutierrezSauberNo time

Q2:

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2014With the debris cleared at turn 9, the 15 minutes of Q2 began with the two Williams cars taking the early lead, as they had done in Q1. The difference this time was that Massa was the faster of the pair and that they, like the rest of the runners, were on the faster super soft tyre.

The Mercedes pair left it late to make their first runs and surprisingly they did not take the top spot. Massa’s time was good enough to remain a few thousands ahead of Rosberg and Hamilton for the time being, with Bottas being pushed down to P4. Bottas made another run in the final minute to take him back up past the two Mercedes.

The two Red Bull cars were struggling in the early stages of qualifying, with Vettel unable to find a time to put him in the top 10 initially. He found a whole chunk of time to go just ahead of of team-mate Ricciardo in P6, with the Australian just getting back ahead of him in the closing stages. The late improvements by the Red Bull cars saw both Force India cars knocked out of qualifying, with Hulkenburg just on the edge in P11.

Normality was reinstated at the head of the times in the final few seconds, with Rosberg jumping to the top of the pile ahead of the two Williams, with Lewis Hamilton then bursting the Germans bubble by taking P1 by two tenths.

Out of Q2:

POSDriverTeamTime
11Nico HulkenburgForce India1’16.300
12Kevin MagnussenMcLaren1’16.310
13Sergio PerezForce India1’16.472
14Romain GrosjeanLotus1’16.687
15Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1’16.713
16Adrian SutilSauber1’17.314

Q3:

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2014The trend of this year’s Canadian qualifying continued Q3 with Williams out front for the start of the session, with Valtteri Bottas a few tenths faster than his time in Q2. His team-mate would follow him through a few minutes later to go a tenth slower, but not before the two Mercedes cars blasted to the top of the pile. Rosberg was the man to go fastest first as he became the first driver to dip into the 1’14’s. Lewis Hamilton caught a tiny sniff of traffic on his lap and settled for a time that was a tenth slower than P1.

The first runs ended of the session ended with the Mercedes, Williams and Red Bull cars paired two-by-two from P1 to P6, with Alonso, Vergne, Button and Raikkonen the other drivers in the session; with Kimi yet to set a time with 2 minutes to go.

Vettel was the first man to take the chequered flag, as he moved up into P3. Rosberg was the next man through as he extended his advantage at the head of the field. Hamilton was yet to finish his lap however and was trying to steal the pole away on what is considered his favourite track. He was pushing too hard however as he locked up into turn 8 and lost a few vital thousandths of a second which ultimately would be the gap between Rosberg in pole and Lewis in 2nd.

Vettel’s late effort was good enough to secure him 3rd, with the two Williams cars of Bottas and Massa taking 4th and 5th; the first time that both Williams cars had made Q3 since 2004 when Ralf Schumacher set the lap record on the circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Ricciardo was finally out-qualified by his team-mate after a string of excellent grid positions, with the Australian taking P6 ahead of Fernando Alonso in 7th. Jean-Eric Vergne got 8th place to out-qualify Jenson Button’s McLaren and Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari.

2014 Canadian Grand Prix Qualifying results:

POSDriverTeamTime
1Nico RosbergMercedes1’14.874
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’14.953
3Sebastian VettelRed Bull1’15.548
4Valtteri BottasWilliams1’15.550
5Felipe MassaWilliams1’15.578
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1’15.589
7Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’15.814
8Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso1’16.162
9Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’16.182
10Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’16.214
11Nico HulkenburgForce India1’16.300
12Kevin MagnussenMcLaren1’16.310
13Sergio PerezForce India1’16.472
14Romain GrosjeanLotus1’16.687
15Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1’16.713
16Adrian SutilSauber1’17.314
17Pastor MaldonadoLotus1’18.328
18Max ChiltonMarussia1’18.348
19Jules BianchiMarussia1’18.359
20Kamui KobayashiCaterham1’19.278
21Marcus EricssonCaterham1’19.820
22Esteban GutierrezSauberNo time

Nico RosbergNico Rosberg, pole-sitter for the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix: “I know it’s a track where Lewis is really strong. I’m very happy it worked out. It has been a fantastic day and through the weekend we have been progressing all the time and I’m in the best position for tomorrow.”

Lewis Hamilton, who qualified 2nd: “Nico did a fantastic job so congratulations to him. It was not a particularly [bad lap], it just wasn’t the greatest qualifying – sometimes you have a good qualifying, sometimes you have bad qualifying. But it’s a great to get a one-two for the team and a fantastic performance. Let’s hope we can make history tomorrow.”

Sebastian Vettel, who qualified 3rd:  “The start of the last lap was not great. I still didn’t get the first sector right. The second one I found a significantly better line so all in all it was a very good result. There are four or five cars within about five or six hundredths of each other – the Williams are really quick here. It’s a long race so the strategy could be a bit of a surprise. Williams have a very quick car down the straight.”

By Jordan Groves
Formula 1 correspondent for RTR Sports Marketing
Follow Jordan on twitter at www.twitter.com/jgroves1996
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