Nico and Michael qualified in fifth and ninth positions for the Canadian Grand Prix today.
Nico missed third practice owing to a problem with a fuel connector, which was resolved quickly after the session. Just 0.493s separated the top 10 cars in Q2, but this was still only the fourth closest session of the season so far.
Warm-up on the supersofts was a key factor with varying strategies used to get the tyres performing on timed laps.
“As we are getting used to this year, it was an extremely close session and warming up the tyres in the right way was a critical factor” said Ross after the session. “In the final part of qualifying, both drivers had two sets of options available and completed a single timed lap on their first run.
They felt that the tyres were not quite up to temperature, so Nico opted to do a second one-lap run with a more aggressive out-lap, while Michael chose to do two timed laps, with a slower lap followed by a quicker one. This worked well for Nico, who set his fastest time of the session, but we mismanaged Michael's run and lost too much time while looking for a gap in the traffic.
He therefore crossed the line 0.04s after the chequered flag came out, and was unable to complete his final lap - although he had set his best first sector time before he backed off.
This was certainly not a session where we achieved our full potential, but Nico did a strong job to recover from the running time he lost this morning, and we know that, even from fifth and ninth positions, we will still have plenty of opportunities to make progress through the field tomorrow.”
Norbert felt that we saw “a good effort from Nico after he had to miss third practice this morning. He and his engineers could not fine-tune the car in the morning session, so fifth place in this competitive field constitutes a good recovery. Michael was in traffic during the out lap of his final qualifying run so he had to build a gap.
The chequered flag came out at the very moment Michael crossed the start and finish line, starting what was supposed to be his fastest qualifying lap. The consequence is that he has to start from ninth position. Our long run pace yesterday and this morning looked quite good, so we are hoping for a good race for both of our drivers tomorrow.”