The qualifying session was thoroughly entertaining and rather soggy. Hamilton got as close as possible to pole without actually achieving it, but there’s always the race tomorrow.
The whole first session of Q1 was soggy, varying from almost-slick weather to pretty wet. It got wetter near the end, which caught out some. The pointless teams all went out, but, rather surprisingly, so did Di Resta in 17th and Grosjean in 19th. It may have been due to wetter weather, and perhaps also because their cars look after tyres well but find it harder to get the heat into the rubber when it’s cold and wet. Charles Pic will be thrilled to, in 18th, be ahead of a Lotus.
Q2 was red-flagged with 2 minutes to go after Massa crashed. Both McLarens and Saubers also went out at this stage, as did Gutierrez and Sutil. Both Toro Rossos made it into Q3, as did Bottas.
Hamilton was agonisingly close (less than a tenth) but was pipped to pole by Vettel. Bottas did a staggeringly good job to qualify third. I doubt he’ll retain that in the race, but he should be on for good points. Rosberg was fourth, then come Webber and Alonso. Vergne, Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Sutil round out the top 10.
Hembery of Pirelli reckoned that cold weather in the race could mean that those who are harder on their tyres could benefit by getting heat into them more easily. Worth considering when looking at race betting.
Unlike at certain tedious processional circuits (yes, Singapore, you) the starting grid and final result in Montreal can be very different.
The intermediate conditions today mean that tomorrow the teams can pick and choose what tyre to start on, even within the top 10. It’s also unclear whether it’ll be dry or not (forecasts differ. The BBC reckons it’ll be wet, the other sites that it’ll be dry).
On dry race pace the Ferrari was very strong, and the Mercedes looked quite weak (relative to other frontrunners). So, if it’s dry (big if but it seems likely) then I’d guess Vettel would be mostly alright, the Mercedes and Bottas will go backwards and Webber/Alonso will go forwards.
Raikkonen’s hard to tell. He’s had a few slight issues with the car and was never anywhere near the hunt for pole. However, his win this year came from seventh and he got a second place from the same starting position, so he can’t be written off.
After sleeping on it I decided to back Webber for a podium at 2.64, hedged at 1.2. The Ferrari and Red Bull were both very good on race pace and I expected Bottas and the Mercedes to go backwards. In cooler temperatures the Red Bull may well have the edge over the Ferrari. The circuit’s one where overtaking is eminently possible so the race pace of the Red Bull should mean any pit stop faux pas is recoverable by the driver.
Regardless of whether or not that comes off I’m thinking of writing a piece trying to analyse why, good early tip in Oz aside, this season has been lamentable (from a betting perspective) so far.
Anyway, let’s hope the race is exciting and profitable.