“The conditions were tough,” Verstappen said ahead of Round 9 of the World Cup on Sunday (8pm CST/ORF, Sky). “I am very satisfied. The pole position here is great.” Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s advisor, spoke of a “show of strength” on ORF TV. “Sometimes he was ahead and without any doubt. I haven’t seen such a great performance in a long time.”
Alonso, 40, had been happy to have a ‘fantastic weekend’ up until then. “The car was great. I felt comfortable driving it and the fans gave me an extra boost.” The Spaniard last started from pole position in Germany in 2012. “I think we will attack Max in the first corner tomorrow,” he said with a smile.
Montreal record holder Lewis Hamilton finished fourth at Mercedes, with Haas behind Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher. It was the best qualifying result in US racing team history. Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez got stuck in the hurdles after a run in Q2 and was unable to continue. In the end, 13th place remained for the Mexican.
On the other hand, Ferrari man Leclerc has to start his race to catch the last place. After installing new engine components at Ferrari Monaco on Friday, the team decided on Saturday to replace several parts again. Among other things, Leclerc got its fourth combustion engine this year, and only three are allowed per season.
Leclerc is also one unit above the limit for turbochargers, MGU-H and MGU-K energy recovery systems and electrics. Penalties were added, meaning he had to start from the back regardless of qualifying, which he completed without trying in Q2. Overtaking on the long tracks of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal is relatively easy. Presumably this played a big part in the decision to go ahead with the full engine swap this weekend.
For the 24-year-old, this is the next setback in the fight for the world title. Having been in pole position four times recently, but not winning any of the races, and instead not finishing twice, Leclerc was only third in the rankings after Perez. He is 34 points behind world championship leader Verstappen.
In the third free practice session before qualifying, the track was already wet, and Leclerc was the only one on the field doing the stabilization and didn’t have time. Two-time world champion Alonso was the fastest to complete the course under challenging conditions. 0.053sec behind the Alpine leader was Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri, and the third was Sebastian Vettel in Aston Martin. The latter two had to give up after about two hours in the first part of qualifying.
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