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Vettel takes Canada pole as Bottas stars

NEWS STORY
08/06/2013

Mat Coch writes:

Mercedes pole position charge came to an end in Canada today after Sebastian Vettel put in the fastest time in a difficult qualifying session.

However the real story was that of Valtteri Bottas, the young Finn was third fastest to give Williams a second row start as the Grove outfit looks for its first points of the 2013 season in tomorrow's Grand Prix.

Rain began to tumble just moments before the qualifying hour began. The weather had been a talking point for much of the weekend; opening practice was damp to begin with before drying in the closing stages, as it was for final practice on Saturday morning.

Final practice had been shorted after damage to a wall in one of the support races took time to repair, the session cut in half as a result. Even then it was damp rather than wet, a dry line emerging by session’s end.

The two wet practice sessions had meant teams were forced to use their precious grooved tyres, the intermediates and wets. While the wet tyres have a long life expectancy, they're capable of running for several grand prix distances, the intermediate tyres tend to burn up as conditions move from wet to dry.

Tyre management, as well as being on track at the right time, would therefore be key for teams to have any chance of a strong race on Sunday.

Qualifying 1

Toro Rosso was first to send its drivers out on track, while Esteban Gutierrez was also among those to venture out immediately. While light rain was falling there was a dry line around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as drivers tried to get a lap in the bank early in case conditions turned for the worse.

Conditions were far from easy. Kimi Raikkonen slid off at Turn 4 on his out lap while Max Chilton spun at the old Pits Hairpin. It saw the entire field return to the pits to swap their slick tyres for intermediates.

Felipe Massa was among the first to begin a timed lap, almost five minutes into the twenty minute session, the Brazilian, on intermediate tyres, set a first sector time of 26.060. Vergne set the first lap of the session, a 1:28.204 which was quickly bettered by Massa and both Mercedes.

A number of drivers left the circuit in various incidents; Lewis Hamilton off at Turn 1, Adrian Sutil at Turn 8 and Felipe Massa getting his Ferrari out of shape at Turn 3. Sergio Perez too missed his braking marker, running across the tarmac run-off at Turn 8.

With conditions expected to dry as the session wore on, drivers continued circulating to make sure they were not caught in the pits when the circuit was at its best. A dry line was emerging in some parts, Fernando Alonso sweeping off line to cool his intermediate tyres.

The Spaniard came close to clouting the barrier on the outside of Turn 2 as he missed his braking at Turn 1, running wide and sliding across the circuit. The Ferrari driver recovered however, scrambling back on to the drier part of the circuit as teammate Massa went by.

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