F1 Canadian Grand Prix Qualifying Full of Surprises: Verstappen fastest, Haas and Alonso thrive

·4 min read
Photo credit: Dan Mullan - Getty Images
Photo credit: Dan Mullan - Getty Images

Max Verstappen has a golden opportunity to pull further clear of his Formula 1 title rivals after cruising to pole position for the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix.

Reigning champion Verstappen stayed out of trouble throughout a rain-filled qualifying hour at a chilly Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to secure top spot for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

It marked Verstappen’s second pole position of the season.

“It was just very tricky out there, you were really on the edge with the grip in Q1, then it started to be more and more enjoyable when the track started to dry,” he said. “In Q3 it is all about putting in a banker lap but then you have to follow the track, luckily it all worked out.”

Verstappen’s predicament was aided by misfortune for his two closest title rivals. His Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez slid wide at Turn 3 in Q2 and hit the tire barriers. Perez tried to reverse out of the accident but his front wing became lodged under the barriers and he was unable to extricate the RB18 from the scene.

It means Perez, 21 points behind Verstappen, will line up from 13th place on the grid.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc will meanwhile start the Grand Prix from 19th spot. Ferrari equipped Leclerc’s F1-75 with several fresh power unit components ahead of Saturday’s final practice session.

Under Formula 1 regulations each driver is only permitted three power unit components each season and Leclerc has now exceeded that limit. As a consequence, he must start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid, ahead only of AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, who copped the same sanction.

It is highly unlikely to be the final grid drop that Leclerc faces this season given Ferrari’s recent reliability setbacks and the number of races remaining in 2022. Ferrari has suffered several technical issues in recent races, with Leclerc retiring in Spain and Azerbaijan, a race which Sainz also failed to finish.

It was a strong day for some other drivers who have had a tough time of late.

Fernando Alonso will start from the front row of the grid for the first time in a decade after finishing second to Verstappen.

“We will take the first row for sure, that is maybe better than any expectation,” said Alonso, who promised maximum attack into Turn 1 on Sunday.

Haas, meanwhile, will lock out row three of the grid after Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher put in strong laps when it mattered.

“I’m certainly not thinking that P5 is going to be our target tomorrow. We’ll take it if we can of course, but our car is around the middle of the field, pace-wise in the race,” said Magnussen.

Added Schumacher: “It’s great but I think everyone is also cautiously happy as we still have tomorrow to go for, but we’ve done a good job today which is good for the team.”

It was also an encouraging day for Lewis Hamilton. The Briton struggled on Friday, and was outside of the top 10 as he ran more experimental components on his W13, but put in a sequence of fine laps to qualify fourth.

“This past week has been a real challenge and every day working through the pain and getting my body right,” he said. “We are still struggling with the car, so to get top four in those conditions is awesome. It is my best qualifying this season and feels similar to my first-ever qualifying in Australia in 2007, I was so excited.”

His teammate George Russell gambled on slicks during the closing stages of the session but it was too early to change; he spun at Turn 2 and wound up eighth.

F1 Canadian Grand Prix

Qualifying Results

  1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull

  2. Fernando Alonso, Alpine

  3. Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

  4. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

  5. Kevin Magnussen, Haas

  6. Mick Schumacher, Haas

  7. Esteban Ocon, Alpine

  8. George Russell, Mercedes

  9. Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren

  10. Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo

  11. Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo

  12. Alexander Albon, Williams

  13. Sergio Perez, Red Bull

  14. Lando Norris, McLaren

  15. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

  16. Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri

  17. Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin

  18. Lance Stroll, Aston Martin

  19. Nicholas Latifi, Williams

  20. Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri