Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Montreal, 2012

Vettel leads all the way in Canadian GP qualifying

2012 Canadian Grand Prix qualifying

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Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Montreal, 2012Red Bull have been forced to remove holes from their floor and change their wheel hubs in the past two weeks – but it didn’t stop them being quickest in qualifying in Canada.

Sebastian Vettel led qualifying every step of the way and claimed pole position for the second year in a row in the Canadian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton took second on the grid ahead of Fernando Alonso.


As qualifying began under clear skies, temperatures at the track had climbed to their highest so far during the weekend, passing 40C.

The drivers found the tyres gave their best performance after several laps. Vettel began his run late and stayed out on softs, setting a best of 1’14.661.

As usual the Caterhams, Marussias and HRTs were eliminated, but there were a few changes in the usual order. Both Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov out-qualified Jean-Eric Vergne, who was over a second slower than his team mate.

Pedro de la Rosa delivered on the potential HRT showed in practice, out-qualifying both Marussias.

Several of the front runners made late runs on super-soft tyres in case of sudden improvements by the slower drivers, but few found it necessary to improve their times and returned to the pits.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’16.263
19Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’16.482
20Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’16.602
21Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’17.492
22Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’17.901
23Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’18.255
24Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’18.330


Vettel led the times again in the second session, setting a 1’14.187 which put him out of reach of Hamilton by over a tenth of a second.

Alonso split the pair with a late lap in the Ferrari. He pitted, joining them along with Webber, Schumacher and Rosberg as the rest made final attempts to reach Q3.

Grosjean fell short with his first effort but had just enough time to start a final lap. That proved crucial as he crossed the line with a 1’14.627 to take seventh. Massa was also safe with a 1’14.641.

For the third weekend in a row Button’s time looked vulnerable – his lap of 1’14.680 left him tenth and Pastor Maldonado was on a hot lap. The Williams driver was fastest in the first sector but as he came out of the final corner he clipped the wall and spun.

That let Button off the hook and condemned Maldonado to elimination along with his team mate.

Daniel Ricciardo produced an excellent lap for 14th ahead of Sergio Perez.

The other Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi missed the final ten by the tiny margin of eight thousandths of a second.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’14.688
12Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’14.734
13Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’14.748
14Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’15.078
15Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’15.156
16Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’15.170
17Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’15.231


Vettel’s first lap in Q3 was quick enough for pole position. But with Hamilton and Alonso looking quick, he returned to the track for another effort.

He lowered his best to a 1’13.784. Hamilton came closest to beating him but he was still over three-tenths of a second slower.

Alonso began his last lap with a first sector that was fractionally faster than Vettel’s. But he lost time over the rest of the lap and ended up third. He will share the second row with Mark Webber.

Nico Rosberg made it four different constructors in the top five, followed by Felipe Massa.

Paul di Resta did a single run which was good enough for eighth behind Grosjean.

Behind them were Schumacher, who crossed the start/finish line too late to begin his final lap, and Button, who set his time on softs instead of super-softs.

Top ten in Q3

1Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’13.784
2Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’14.087
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’14.151
4Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’14.346
5Nico RosbergMercedes1’14.411
6Felipe MassaFerrari1’14.465
7Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’14.645
8Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’14.705
9Michael SchumacherMercedes1’14.812
10Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’15.182

2012 Canadian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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59 comments on “Vettel leads all the way in Canadian GP qualifying”

  1. It was so disappointing that getting into Q3 the gap got much wider than previous sessions.

    1. Do we know if it will be warmer or cooler track temps in the race?

      1. Yet hotter I believe. Not good news for Hamilton. Mclaren must be mulling a two stopper minimum unless he can get out front. I predict we will see more finger tomorrow.

    2. @eggry – I believe the gap is beginning to widen with the bigger teams pulling away; the season may become predictable soon!

  2. first five guys in quali are exactly how i predicted for sunday :)

    1. same here! however of them in the same order for me :-(

      1. none*

    2. Yesterday I was so sure about Hamilton, despite that all my predictions went right, the increase in 10 degrees really made Vettel get in the groove again, his level of confort is amazing the car looks amazing and great performance by Seb again yet we must hope for another winner maybe Hamilton can have a say about it, they have better straight line speed for sure and maybe this will be the day where RedBull makes a mistake, let’s hope for it so I can win this round of the Predictions champ. lol.

      1. I don’t think so . Alonso is the one that has a say in it. Hamilton used all of his se tires while Alonso and vettel save one set.

        1. @ tetalo lol keep talking my friend we know u always use ham in every sentance lol alo gt done by ham and u can clearly see macca are nt quick look at button were as we know ferrari r good because mass is quick

  3. just heard horner, red bull haven’t beaten canada yet. i’d say they are very determined. on a side note, i have to use my facebook to log into live blog, and my acount to post in comments. sorry they are not the same. is this just the way it is. likely me eh?

    1. @walster Same here … I wish I could post under my F1 fan account into the live (in fact I can reply to people but not send new thread with this one, quite annoying … Anyway always nice company to follow it live here and complete those comentators :p )

  4. go hamilton go

  5. Good to Force India in P8 after a long time

    1. Another great performance from di Resta.

      Is Paul a contender for driver-of-the-season-so-far? He’s absolutely maximising the opportunity in that car.

    2. rahulsampath
      10th June 2012, 5:02

      Good pace from Force India. Nico Hulkenberg would have easily got through Q3, as his first and third sector was quicker than di resta by .3 seconds,but due to yellow flag he had to slow down in the second sector.

  6. Was an interesting quali today, should not really been that mystified as to where had all the extra pace gone from Ferrari & McLaren, I’d say… Vettel somewhat surprised to be three tenths quicker than Hamilton & Alonso in P2 & P3 respectively, Alonso will be disappointed but very satisfied at the same time & Hamilton will be happy to be on the front row. Great lap by Vettel it must be said, especially the first run in Q3, just well controlled, Webber & Button have been true disappointments of the weekend so far, honestly I’d much prefer Rosberg ahead of Webber ( Massa is a bit questionable too).

    This season seems to be quite shape-shifting; running along with the unpredictable, with Canada showing glimpses of the 2010 season, one-stop strategies being the favourable direction for tomorrow’s race (which manufacturer does that remind you of?) but with warmer track + air temperatures than on Friday, it would be intriguing to know how the race is going to pan out. Hoping for a stunning race that will contrast Monaco.

    1. Webber & Button have been true disappointments of the weekend so far

      I don’t know about Webber. P4 seems a decent spot to start the race from. He equaled his second best quali result at Montreal, if I’m not mistaken…

  7. Very good session.And for once there were no surprises in the top 3.
    I hoped Massa would do a bit better.He was constantly 3 tenths off Alonso in sector 1.That’s strange.

  8. I Love the Pope
    9th June 2012, 19:43

    I think Vettel could put a Mercury Cougar on pole.

    1. the way he set up that car is unreal watching his onboards watching the rear slide through corners on such a perfectly controlled manner when he sets it up right no one can beat him, just unreal gosh how i dislike Vettel.

    2. RBR currently have the best car IMO, as I said yesterday, but I agree he maximised it.

      1. i think the difference was the driver this time. hence the margin to webber. vettel is a masterful qualifier.

    3. With a predictable car and a good set-up, Vettel beat Webber by almost 6 tenths of a second. I think Vettel has re-discovered his qualifying mojo!

  9. Pretty standard qualifying session with nothing too exciting.

    Had a strong sense of déjà vu, too, as it reminded me of the 2010 season with Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton and Webber battling it out for pole. All the whining about F1 being too predictable will look a bit silly later in the year, especially if someone runs away with it like in 2011. There’s only so many drivers that will win this year, and the championship story will develop itself along the way. And hopefully that feeling of déjà vu continues, as I’d readily welcome another 2010!

  10. Same song with Schumacher and Mercedes…Possible second row wasted…

    1. yep, this track and monza look like the ones that would best suit their car, a wasted opportunity.

  11. Like @damonsmedley said, not the most exciting of qualifying sessions, however, we should be in for a good race tomorrow. Button having a bit more freedom with the tyres should allow him to make up some places in the race and who knows, with last years heroics he could be in the mix for 25 points. Impressed with Massa, just .3s off Alonso is respectable and so far looks like a continuation in form from Monaco. Given the completely different characteristics of the circuit that’s good, however we will only know for sure tomorrow.

  12. I hope it is not a 1-stopper tomorrow as many are predicted. It will be boring as hell then.

  13. Wow
    I said after P3 that I’d tip Vettel for pole, but by that margain given the relative performance between the cars is incredible. 0.562 seconds faster than webber. WOW

  14. I am very surprised with Ferrari’s pace. Good traction is imperative in this track, and that was probably the biggest weakness of the car at the start of the season. You don’t need a car that is the fastest on a straight line, but good top speed also helps, and Ferrari was dismal on that front too. So I am very impressed with how they turned around their car.

    I guess you can never write off Ferrari and Alonso!

  15. Lewis qualifying pace year has really been the benchmark of consistency: 1-1-2-2-1-4-2, about time tomorrow that it translates into a high scoring race finish if McLaren team doesn’t bottle it!

    1. Actually, it’s 1-1-2-2-1-3-2, so even better! I’m so glad we’re seeing the real LH this year, and all the damn Button fans are getting off their damn high horse. Button is having an absolutely pathetic year, bar his win in Australia.

      1. +1.
        Nice to see that the more annoying Jenson die-hards have drawled back into the woodwork. This time last season, they were heaping insults on Lewis and calling him a waste of space at McLaren. But what goes around has come around – thank heavens they now see that it’s not always the driver’s fault.

        1. I think Lewis’s woes last year were mostly his fault, just like Button’s lack of any pace at all this year is his fault as well.

          1. i agree. lewis race performance hasnt been anything like his qualifying performances but, i think he has underachieved in possibly the best car, and button dreadfully underachieved. alonso seems like the only one to have achieved better then the car should have on paper.

      2. It is 1-1-2-2-1-4-2. He qualified 4th in Monaco but started 3rd due to MS’s penalty.

  16. What is wrong with Button and his qualy laps

    1. Correction, what is wrong with him in general. I wouldn’t normally worry until a trend of poor performance emerged (which I class as 6 races), but he is getting closer to that 6 race mark! I hope he rediscovers his form from soon enough.

    2. He qualified on the Prime tyre.

      1. Because he squared-off a set of super softs in q2 going onto the hairpin. It was not a strategic choice.

  17. The only thing I am slightly surprised as is that Alonso wasn’t P2.
    And looking at Q2 he should have been.
    Car pace wise, I still maintain it is now: RBR, Ferrari, Mclaren.
    Look how well Massa is doing and how far Button has dropped back. Both RBR drivers are up their in the last two races. That is some of my logic to the current car order.
    Looks like Lotus have missed out on the results that they should have got from an excellent car, they seem to be going backwards now though. A bit sad really, but they might hit the sweet spot on a track like Silverstone.

    1. doh, there

    2. the thing is this year we no longer have a dominate car on every circuit…each car suits a certain track more than other…Mclaren and Lotus are good in high speed corners which Monaco and Canada don’t have! I’m not saying Ferrari hasn’t improved or RBR is not a fast car but thanks to tyres I don’t think if we can sort them pace-wise anymore. Williams won in the most balance-demanding circuit which was always dominated by RBR! It’s all about tyres now! (good or bad that’s the show for now!)

      1. @snafu Well I did mean for this particular weekend / track. Although a pattern will start to develop.

    3. i think mclaren still have the best car, but that they just havent understood the tyres as well yet. the other cars are catching them, and alonso is outdriving his car – a lot of it is driver skill this year.
      anyway, the track temperatures were colder on friday, which seems to be where mclaren and mercedes operate best, and then it was warmer on saturday, in temperatures that ferrari and redbull operate better. its going to be warm again sunday.
      also redbull probably looks better then it is because of a typically mega vettel qualifying cameo.
      we shall see how the race unfolds, i dont think it will be a procession like monaco – where mercedes were the fastest, not redbull. remember schumacher in qualifying, and rosberg was quicker then webber in the race. renault should do better in the race then qualifying also.

  18. sup is happening with Button, he sucks all the way

  19. You wouldn’t know we were in the middle of a very unpredictable season judging by today’s qualifying session. The gaps from front to midfield to back may still be smaller than they were in 2011, but otherwise this grid has a very familiar look to it. Also, with RBR winning two of the last three races, and looking very good for making it 3 out of 4, this season is starting to pan out the way I hoped it wouldn’t.

    With temperatures expected to be even higher tomorrow than they were today, Red Bull will only get better – and McLaren worse – so the only way I see Vettel not winning tomorrow is if he falls asleep at the start; or if his team take a leaf or two out of McLaren’s Book of Operations.

    On a different topic, it’s a little painful to see the Williams drivers struggle so much – Maldonado for consistency and Senna for one-lap speed. That car should be scoring a lot more points. At least with Pastor’s win in Spain this season will not be a complete waste of potential for Williams.

    Other disappointments were Mercedes and Sauber. Mercedes, just when you think they are ready to challenge consistently at the front, end up more or less where they were the year before: Rosberg just behind the really fast guys (but ahead of Button and Massa this time), and Schumacher a few places further back. Sauber has shown flashes of great potential but for reasons obvious and not they seem unable to frequently put good results on the board.

  20. Now I also know 17 Mercedes mistakes.

  21. It could be the first time we see these three chaps on the podium!

  22. I believe that Ferrari misjudged the last Q3 run for Alonso, as it seemed to me that he was on for two fast laps and not only one because on his last attempt he crossed the line with 1″10 to go, if it was only one attemp he shoud have started it a bit later because the track tends to improve.
    For the race it seems Vettel is just too strong but I also think that FA might have some advantage over LH, as the Ferrari seems a little bit faster and the warmer conditions will benefit the italian team.

  23. I thought this track wouldve suited the Mercs a bit better

    nooooo not the finger again…what a poser

  24. Why was Hamilton waiving before his last attempt in q3?

    1. @photofinish He was getting heat into the tyres.
      The problem is, the back straight is sooooo long that they need their tyres to be slightly overheated coming out of the chicane if they want the tyres to be at their perfect temperature as they hit the T14/15 chicane to start their lap. Hamilton apparently didn’t feel the tyres were perfect so he tried to warm them up before starting the lap.

  25. I would hate to be managed by some of your contributors who would sack anybody the instant things are not right. Sometimes you need to analyse and understand the problems and then resolve them. Eg Massa, Button and Webber didn,t suddenly become the wrong choice as drivers. Raikkonen hasn’t after a couple of good races become the wrong choice for this year. The reason there are so many support staff in F1 is precisely to work through all of the issues – they will have a plan for success one very small element of which is the driver decision. Some of the dismissive comments suggest that success is all about the drivers form. Sure there is an element of that BUT the car/tyre/software etc characteristics need to be integrated into a formula for success. Just saying so and so is crap doesn’t alter the jig saw, it really isn’t all about the driver – much as some of the the fans here would have us believe. Toro Rosso must be realising that now.

  26. @mads thanx mate. What I’m trying to understand how the higher track temperature is better for vett then for ham, as claimed in the forum. I believe they will both be able to switch the tyres on and then it will all be about tyres management due to possible one stop strategy.

  27. lol i wish a top driver was in the lotus i dont buy the fact kimi is doing well for all we know that car was the quickest by a long way.The reason im saying this is R Grosjean,kimi maybe beating him in the races but how can kimi (the former demon qualifier) not beat grosjean in qualifying its getting embarassining and j villenauve and j herbert agree. if grosjean was good we would of seen glimpses in 08 and alo whiped the floor so kimi needs to speed up

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