Hamilton takes pole in Montreal


Ahead of this afternoon's all important qualifying session the air temperature is 25 degrees C, while the track temperature is 51 degrees. It remains bright and sunny.

After this morning's free practice session - which was disrupted by an oil spill from Heikki Kovalainen's detonating Renault powerplant - the British media is waiting with baited breath, hopeful that Lewis Hamilton can continue his form and take pole position. The Ferrari duo or Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, not to mention Felipe Massa, will have other ideas.

The lights go green, but a few minutes before an engine roars into life and a car heads down the pitlane… it's Coulthard. Moments later he is joined by Schumacher and Trulli, who both looked good in this morning's session.

Coulthard goes on to the grass on his out lap, moments later locking-up at the first corner as his flying lap gets underway.

It's a scrappy lap from the Scot, who tells his crew that h has a problem, the car "crabbing" under braking, in other words jerking sideways.

Schumacher sets the benchmark (18.929) ahead of Trulli, as Coulthard dives back into the pits.

It really couldn't get much worse for Kovalainen. He is already due to forfeit ten grid spots following his engine change, now he has lost his rear wing, and a few other bit, having clouted the wall. The session is red-flagged as he makes his way back to the pits. The replay shows him appearing to be going just a little too fast, though the kerbs didn't exactly help. We've seen a lot of that this weekend, the kerbs launching a number of cars into the air, perhaps it's time the GPDA looked into this.

The session resumes and Jenson Button leads a train of drivers eager to get back to work. Amazingly, the Renault crew is attempting to get Kovalainen back on track - with eight minutes remaining. Should they fail, he will probably be joining DC on the back row - the Red Bull crew still working on the Scot's brakes.

Fisichella goes quickest, though there are still only seven names on the timesheets.

Alonso and Massa are both on hot laps. The Brazilian posts 17.236 to go quickest, but Alonso crosses the line at 16.562. Hamilton and Raikkonen are both on track.

Hamilton goes second with a 16.576 ahead of Massa, Raikkonen and Kubica, who goes fifth.

Coulthard leaves the Red Bull garage but is then promptly pushed back, the Scot's day seemingly over. Elsewhere, teammate Webber goes sixth, ahead of Heidfeld, Davidson and Fisichella.

Heidfeld goes fifth, as Rosberg takes sixth, however, all eyes are on Raikkonen who has gone quickest in the second sector. Sure enough, the Finn goes quickest (16.468).

Coulthard is back on track, but he is clearly struggling, unlike Sato, who goes ninth ahead of his Super Aguri teammate.

DC cuts the final chicane which means that despite going sixteenth his time will not be allowed. Fisichella improves to fifth, as Button goes thirteenth, thereby avoiding the chop.

Amazingly, Coulthard makes the cut, but his joy is Davidson's misery, the English youngster failing at the first hurdle.

Therefore, at the end of phase one we lose Albers, Sutil, Wurz, Kovalainen, Schumacher and Davidson.

Raikkonen was quickest, ahead of Alonso, Hamilton, Massa, Fisichella, Heidfeld, Barrichello, Rosberg, Kubica and Webber.

As if often the case, despite the eagerness to get to work in phase one, there is an almost casual attitude among the drivers when the second phase begins. It is several minutes before a car finally heads down the pitlane, signalling the beginning of the battle. It is Coulthard (again) who break the deadlock. He is followed by Trulli, Speed and Fisichella.

Coulthard has another excursion, which indicates that his problems are far from over.

Trulli posts the benchmark (16.935), as DC can only manage 27.679! Sato posts 17.119 to go second.

Webber is on a hot lap, going quickest in the first two sectors, finally crossing the line at 16.257 to take the top spot back from Fisichella. Elsewhere, Sato goes cross-country.

Raikkonen goes second to Webber, but both drivers are demoted when Hamilton goes quickest, posting a 15.486, the fastest lap of the weekend so far.

Massa goes second, but all eyes are on Alonso, who goes quickest in the first sector. The Spaniard loses pace - just a little - in the second sector, and at the line it's 15.522, good enough for second.

Kubica and Heidfeld go fifth and sixth, which demotes Raikkonen to seventh. Coulthard, Button and Barrichello are still in the danger zone, as are Speed, Liuzzi and Sato.

With three minutes remaining, Coulthard is back on track, followed, moments later, by Kubica. One would think that Raikkonen will also need to make another run… but there's little time.

As more cars leave the pits, the Finn sits tight, clearly feeling that he's done enough. But has he?

A brave lap from Coulthard but its only good enough for fourteenth, not good enough. Heidfeld is back in the danger zone having his best lap disallowed for cutting the final chicane.

Sato goes ninth, but Heidfeld, Button and Speed are still on track. The German goes third, which is bad news for Sato, who is bumped back down to eleventh. A fantastic lap from 'Quick Nick' who gave 100%, even leaving his mark on the unforgiving Montreal walls, delivering the goods when he really needed to. That lap alone should help him keep the BMW drive in 2008.

Therefore, we lose Speed, Button, Coulthard, Barrichello, Liuzzi and Sato.

Quickest was Hamilton, who finished ahead of Alonso, Heidfeld, Massa, Rosberg, Webber, Fisichella, Kubica, Raikkonen and Trulli. Raikkonen's gamble clearly having paid off.

The final phase gets underway, and Hamilton, who heads the queue at the end of the pitlane, is overtaken by Raikkonen, who clearly wants to get on with it.

Raikkonen is setting a blistering pace, and in his eagerness to keep in touch Hamilton makes a mistake at the final chicane. In his eagerness, Rosberg also makes a mistake resulting in a trip across the grass.

As the 'fuel burn' phase continues, Heidfeld goes quickest, as Alonso is told that his pace his good but that he should try to save some fuel. The German is running the supersofts, whereas most of the others are on softs.

Trulli and Webber are the first to pit, the Australian stationary for a lot longer than usual. Next time around Hamilton and Raikkonen stop.

Trulli is on a hot lap, but it is Webber who goes quickest in the first sector. The Italian posts 18.066, but Webber does a 17.261, to take provisional pole.

Raikkonen and Alonso are both on hot lap as Hamilton goes quickest with a 16.316. The Finn goes second, ahead of Heidfeld, Fisichella and Webber.

Alonso goes quickest, crossing the line at 16.163, as Massa can only manage fifth, posting a 'disappointing' 17.219.

The final round of pit stops get underway, as Alonso is advised that he is "P1" ahead of his McLaren teammate. Elsewhere, Rosberg has had his last (best) time deleted for a bit of naughtiness.

Hamilton is quickest in the first sector, but Raikkonen is also looking good. At the second split the English driver is up on his teammate, crossing the line at 15.707.

In the garage the McLaren mechanic clap, but Alonso is on track, and quickest in the first two sectors. However, he gets it wrong in the final chicane, appearing to slow on the main straight, thereby ending the pressure on his teammate who takes his maiden (F1) pole position.

A superb performance from Nick Heidfeld who goes third, ahead of Raikkonen and a somewhat disappointing Massa. A superb performance from Webber who qualifies sixth, ahead of Rosberg, Kubica, Fisichella and Trulli.

You'll read the eulogies elsewhere - boy, will you read them elsewhere - so we'll simply say that Hamilton takes a well deserved maiden pole which he should be able to convert to a maiden win just over twenty-four hours from now.

A mature, thoroughly professional performance, that seemed to be as well received in the McLaren garage as it will have been in the press room. The hype will be excruciating, but that should not detract from what was an excellent performance and a thoroughly deserved maiden pole.

Alonso will be disappointed with second, but will surely feature in the reckoning tomorrow, while Nick Heidfeld will have every right to be proud of his performance, having out-paced both Ferraris.

Fans of the Scuderia will be hoping that the relatively poor showing of the red cars is down to strategy, while Red Bull, despite David Coulthard's problems, will have received a humungous boost from Mark Webber's bravura performance. Great stuff.

It's unclear what went wrong for Alex Wurz, but Nico Rosberg's seventh should see Williams take some points home tomorrow afternoon, while Jarno Trulli out-qualifies Ralf Schumacher for the sixth time this season.

Robert Kubica is no doubt on a different strategy to Heidfeld - he usually is - so we can probably expect to see him figure in tomorrow's race, while Fisichella give Renault a few crumbs of comfort after a difficult day.

Thankfully this isn't Monaco and tomorrow we can expect a race - as much as contemporary design allows - let's hope we get one. After all, all the ingredients are in place.

To check out our Canada qualifying gallery, click here

Article from Pitpass (http://www.pitpass.com):

Published: 09/06/2007
Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2023. All rights reserved.