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Verstappen takes Montreal pole with ease

NEWS STORY
18/06/2022

The conditions witnessed during FP3 have continued, indeed worsened, and as a result we have a wet qualifying session.

As if things weren't up in the air as it stood, those pesky Weather Gods have now decided to get involved.

And what a tantalising session they gave us, with Fernando Alonso edging out Pierre Gasly, Sebastian Vettel, Esteban Ocon and the McLarens, with the Red Bulls 8th and 9th and the Mercedes pair 7th and 15th.

And as if this wasn't enough, having taken on another engine, Charles Leclerc will join Yuki Tsunoda at the back of the grid.

These are the sort of conditions that produce heroes... but also zeroes, and with tomorrow's race expected to take place in the sort of warm and sunny conditions experienced yesterday that throws another spanner in the works... or Spaniard in Nando's case.

Hero or Zero it simply isn't worth taking any unnecessary risks especially on a track that allows overtaking.

Interesting however, that veterans Alonso and Vettel prove that there is life in those old dogs yet, something that the likes of Bottas and even Hamilton might well pay heed to as the pair continue to experience various issues with their cars.

Ahead of Q1, the air temperature is 12.1 degrees C, while the track temperature is 17.4 degrees.

With the session declared wet at the outset it will be the blue-banded tyres all round.

Bottas is first out followed by his teammate Zhou, then Hamilton, Russell, Verstappen, Ocon and Vettel.

It has now stopped raining, but it remains very wet.

Soon all 20 drivers are on track... each keen to get that all-important banker lap in the bag.

Bottas posts a 38.932 and Zhou a 38.646, while Verstappen posts 37.435 and Russell 36.688.

However, Bottas has his time deleted for exceeding the track limits at Turn 3, as does Hamilton.

Alonso goes second (36.866) only to be demoted when Hamilton posts a 36.818.

With so many drivers on track, and it being a short lap, the order is forever changing.

Verstappen improves to 35.830 but is demoted when Sainz stops the clock at 35.812.

Perez and Magnussen have their times deleted.

Russell goes top with a 34.989, as Perez drops to 17th.

Other than having times deleted, drivers are also missing apexes, running wide and experiencing all manner of problems.

Perez improves to ninth with a 36.741, as Hamilton has his time deleted yet again.

Magnussen goes quickest with a 34.893, ahead of Russell, Ricciardo, Ocon and Sainz.

A 34.811 sees Bottas go top, however Russell responds with a 33.925 and Verstappen a 33.200.

Alonso goes quickest with a 33.136 but is instantly demoted by Sainz (32.781).

Leclerc goes seventh with a 34.82.

With 5:25 remaining, Perez, Tsunoda, Vettel, Stroll and Latifi comprise the drop zone, with Schumacher, Norris and Zhou hovering.

Russell posts a 33.160 to go third while Hamilton goes sixth with a 33.841.

"What's the main limitation," Verstappen is asked. "A free track," he replies.

Magnussen, Alonso and Leclerc all have times deleted as Ocon goes second with a 33.012.

Perez improves to 13th (34.613), while Vettel is still down in 16th.

Stroll can only improve to 17th as both Canadian look likely to fall at the first hurdle.

Out come the yellows when Sainz goes off at Turn 4, however he is able to continue.

Perez improves to 12th (33.929) but is it enough?

Vettel can only mange 16th, while Alonso goes second (32.277).

Ricciardo goes eighth (33.636), as the stewards note Leclerc, Albon and Sainz for driving unnecessarily slowly.

Quickest is Verstappen, ahead of Alonso, Sainz, Magnussen, Leclerc, Ocon, Russell, Ricciardo, Bottas and Zhou.

We lose Gasly, Vettel, Stroll, Latifi and Tsunoda.

After his performance earlier it's a shock to see Vettel out so early, likewise Gasly as both Aston Martin and AlphaTauri fail to get their cars into Q2.

The stewards will be kept busy, with a number of incidents under investigation.

As Q2 gets underway, Zhou leads the way, followed by Albon, Hamilton, Russell and Magnussen.

The Dane, Schumacher, Alonso and Albon are sporting inters.

On wets, Hamilton feels it is time for the switch to inters.

Zhou posts a 33.724 and Albon a 33.231, however Alonso responds with a 30.910.

Out come the yellows when Albon goes off and into the barrier at Turn 6. He is able to continue however.

Unlike Perez who is off at Turn 3.

He is given instruction on how to continue but the car will not respond. Indeed, replay shows the car was being obstinate as he entered the corner, simply refusing to turn.

The session is red-flagged.

With 9:00 remaining, it's: Alonso, Verstappen, Sainz, Ocon, Bottas, Russell, Hamilton, Perez, Albon and Schumacher.

Perez has a long walk back to the pits, the Mexican being led through the undergrowth the lines the track as opposed to being picked up by a recovery vehicle.

With Leclerc not looking likely to go out, Perez is likely to qualify 14th.

As the session resumes, Bottas leads the queue at the end of the pitlane.

Most drivers appear to be on inters. Indeed, all are on the green-banded rubber.

Hamilton is told that he should get five timed laps.

Magnussen goes quickest with a 30.612, with Albon posting a 30.864 to go second.

The times are tumbling again, as Hamilton goes quickest, then Russell, then Sainz then Verstappen (27.764).

A 28.953 sees Alonso go second as Schumacher goes sixth, ahead of Ocon, Bottas and Hamilton.

Hamilton improves to second with a 27.815, but is instantly demoted when Sainz posts a 26.588.

Verstappen raises the bar with a 26.270.

Alonso goes third and Ocon fifth, as Norris finally leaves the pits with just under three minutes remaining.

Zhou goes fourth (27.345), but is demoted when Russell goes second (26.321).

Schumacher goes fifth and Ricciardo seventh.

Magnussen goes fourth as the timing screen continues to light up in green and purple.

Schumacher goes third, as Norris pits having failed to post a time.

Teammate Ricciardo however, goes fourth only to be demoted when Alonso bangs in a 24.848.

Russell goes second and Hamilton fourth, both demoted when Verstappen crosses the line at 23.746.

At the death, Ocon goes eighth (26.135), which is bad news for Bottas whose day's work is at an end.

Quickest is Verstappen, ahead of Alonso, Russell, Sainz, Hamilton, Schumacher, Zhou, Ocon, Magnussen and Ricciardo.

We lose Bottas, Albon, Perez, Norris and Leclerc.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Montreal here.

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