In treacherous conditions to qualify for the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix, it was Max Verstappen who kept his head up to claim his first pole position of 2022 since Imola – with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso joining him on the front row. join after a stunning run by the Spaniard .
With intermediate tires on the drying Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Verstappen clocked a time of 1m 21,299s, leaving him a full 0.645s out of the pack, led by Alonso – who will make his first front row start since taking 10 years on pole ago in Germany.
The top three was completed by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, whose teammate Charles Leclerc plans to start P19 after incorporating new power unit elements. Lewis Hamilton showed his ability in wet weather to take P4, putting in a fine performance for Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher, who shared the third row in P5 and P6.
Red Bull Racing
Haas F1 Team
Esteban Ocon claimed P7 ahead of George Russell’s second Mercedes – an attempt to lap on slicks in the closing stages came to nothing for the Englishman as he spun into Turn 2 – with Daniel Ricciardo steering Zhou Guanyu. The Chinese driver made his first ever Q3 appearance but will be investigated for a violation at Turn 14 after the session.
Valtteri Bottas was 11th, ahead of Alex Albon’s Williams, then Sergio Perez – who crashed his Red Bull out of Q2 and brought out red flags – ahead of Lando Norris, the Briton who had a power unit problem.
Leclerc was P15 but will go back on his penalty and promote Pierre Gasly, Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi, all of whom dropped out in Q1.
Yuki Tsunoda will bring the back of the field to the front, after he also gets engine penalties for changing the power unit.
More to follow…
Qualifying Highlights: 2022 Canadian Grand Prix
AS IT HAPPENED
Q1 – FP3 stars Vettel and Gasly fail as both Canadians drop out
Race Control was not concerned about the weather conditions prior to qualifying and confirmed the risk of rain was 100% – with all runners duly passing the opening segment on the extremely wet tyres. “The plan is to get a time on the board early with the risk of red and yellow flags,” Hamilton’s engineer Pete Bonnington radioed to his driver. “I can’t see much in front of me,” Hamilton replied.
Conditions were tough for sure – but the 20 drivers were ready to round the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, with Max Verstappen leading the way with a 1m 32.219s, ahead of Alonso’s Alpine, which drove beautifully in the rain, after having FP3 in similar conditions led.
Q1 would witness some major scalping, with Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel both failing to comply with the conditions and dropping out – the pair were P2 and P3 in FP3, Vettel audibly frustrated over the team radio.
There was also disappointment for the home crowd, with both Montreal-born racers Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi taking off in Q1, along with Yuki Tsunoda’s second AlphaTauri, who was awarded a penalty for the engine, taking P20. Charles Leclerc, who will also start at the top of the grid after taking on a series of new power unit elements, advanced to Q2 in P5, while Alex Albon also impressed to make his and Williams’ first Q2 appearance since Bahrain.
Knockout: Gasly, Vettel, Stroll, Latifi, Tsunoda
Q2 – Verstappen leads Alonso again as Perez smash raises red flags
A handful of drivers swallowed their brave pills and headed for Q2 on the green-walled intermediates, Hamilton – who went wet – said conditions were “definitely on the crossover, very close”.
Albon and Perez may have begged to disagree, the medium batter runners both found the wall in turns 6 and 3 respectively early in the segment, the two drivers moved away from aquaplaning and hit the hurdles.
Albon’s impact seemed harmless enough, causing little visible damage – although Williams did alter his front wing – but Perez damaged both his own front wing and couldn’t find the reverse on his RB18, leaving him stuck in the TECPROs and a red flag yielded.
The Mexican was forced to climb out of the car and pull through the park back to the paddock, finishing qualifying on a day when Red Bull would have liked to take home its advantage over grid penalty hit Leclerc.
2022 Canadian GP Qualifying: Pérez raises red flags after hitting barrier in Q2
Despite Albon and Perez’ goals, all the remaining runners went back on the inters for the remaining nine minutes, bar Leclerc – happy to park it given his penalties – and Norris, who reported an engine failed on his McLaren, the Briton who was on his way out with three minutes to go before retiring to the pits, his problem was clearly not resolved.
As the track improved, times tumbled but the top two finished similarly to Q1, Verstappen led Alonso again with a 1m 23,746s. In addition to Perez, Norris and Leclerc in the drop zone were Bottas and Albon – the Thai driver with his best qualifying of the season, but not enough to give Williams a first Q3 of the year.
Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu did well to be first-ever Q3 appearance at P7, as Mick Schumacher also impressed with his second appearance in the top 10 shoot-out, alongside his Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen. The Haases, the Mercedes and the Alpines were the only three teams with both cars in Q3.
Eliminated: Bottas, Albon, Perez, Norris, Leclerc
Q3 – Verstappen and Alonso again 1-2 as Dutchman pole
With the conditions as they were, you wouldn’t have bet against someone taking pole in the Montreal dreich on Saturday.
In the opening move, Verstappen led Sainz and Alonso, Schumacher did well to get into P4. But the track changed minute by minute, corner to corner, and the times kept getting better.
Was it dry enough for slicks? George Russell thought it was worth a punt, but got a cropper in Turn 2, spinning in the grass in a move that would leave him P8. Nothing daring…
However, Verstappen flew and duly popped in a 1m 21.299s on his final lap to take his 15th career pole. But it was Alonso who entertained the crowd, the power of the two-time champion slipped past the Wall of Champions in his latest attempt to claim P2 – Alonso surprisingly the fastest Spaniard, as he gave his protégé Carlos Sainz a pawn, who took third.
Hamilton claimed his first top four start of the year, ahead of the delighted Haas boys, Magnussen and Schumacher – while Ocon, Russell, Ricciardo and Zhou rounded out the top 10 after a memorable Canadian qualifying.
2022 Canadian GP qualifying: Russell’s risky move to slicks ends in spin
The most important quote
“Of course I still expect it to not be an easy race,” said Verstappen after securing pole for what will be his 150th Grand Prix. “But I think today with the difficult conditions we stayed calm, we didn’t make any mistakes and we had the right decisions in Q3, of course super happy to get pole position here. Also, being back here in Montreal, it’s been a while and it’s great to see all the fans.
“You really get the go-kart feeling back with real real curbs here, so we always enjoy driving here and look forward to tomorrow.”
The Canadian Grand Prix in 2022 starts at 2 p.m. at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Will it be number six in a row for a Red Bull this season? Or can Alonso use his experience to fight for his first win since Spain 2013?