A thrilling qualifying session in Montreal sees the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team qualify in P4 and P8
Lewis will line up for the Canadian Grand Prix in P4 and George in P8 after a frenetic qualifying session in changeable conditions with the W13 showing strong pace.
Qualifying began under full X Wet conditions before a handful of drivers made the switch to Inters at the start of Q2, finding significant lap time on a drying track. Following a red flag stoppage after PER went off, the remainder of the field followed suit at the restart and lap times began to tumble.
George and Lewis both comfortably made it through to Q3 and went on to set competitive times on the Inter tyre in their first run. Lewis opted for fresh Inters for his second run, while George made a bold switch to Softs to fight for pole.
While Lewis improved his time with a strong lap good enough for P4, George’s gamble didn’t pay off as he slid off at Turn 1, the wettest part of the track and didn’t have the chance to test the dry line which had formed around the rest of the circuit.
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Honestly, I feel amazing, so happy! P4! P4 has never felt so good to be honest. Maybe when I was like in my first year of racing, my first year here in 2007 when I got my first P4 in quali, it felt great then. I think this kind of feels like that, but particularly because it’s been a really, really difficult year. We did a lot of work on the car overnight, we went in two different directions yesterday just to try and get the information. We have slightly different set ups for the race still, but we’re in a great position so hopefully I can try and hold position at least.
With this car you need everything, and more, to come together. You know what, I think this car works… I like to think that I’ve got rhythm and at this track, and particularly in this session you need to have rhythm. I feel like this car works on a completely different beat. It doesn’t work on a normal beat and that’s been difficult to get used to. The rain always open up opportunity and I love this track, while it’s been a struggle so far this weekend and there’s still a lot of work to do tomorrow, I hope all the team are feeling positive. My message to them is: please continue to push. We need you. I need you. We all are working as hard as we can, and I believe in them so much. I hope at some stage we can stop this bouncing and move forwards.
Today was high risk, high reward - switching to Slicks was our only chance to get pole position today. It was literally just turn 1, had that been as dry as the other corners we could have been in a really good place. We showed some really strong pace today but as I said on the radio, I’m not here to settle for P4/P5, we need to try things and at the end of the day, points are tomorrow and I’m glad we tried something different. In Sochi last year, I made a similar gamble and it paid off to get P3 for Williams so I’m always open to making the switch, particularly as we’ve had worse qualifying sessions this year in normal circumstances. For tomorrow, we should be able to pass the cars around us, starting P8, and move back up to P4/P5. Obviously, we have Checo and Charles behind us fighting their way back through so I just need to make sure I get up there as soon as possible tomorrow.
We were pretty competitive in the wet conditions today and finishing P4 and P8 is below what we could have achieved. Lewis did a great job in Q3 to take P4 but unfortunately he was out of phase with the other cars and set his time one lap earlier, so he didn’t get the track at its best condition. So potentially it could have been P2 when we look at the relative performance across the field. As for George, I loved the call he made today and it was worth rolling the dice. This is the moment when we can take risks and I’m up for bold calls like that – it could have been a hero moment but today it didn’t work out. Looking to the race, we have a mixed up grid and a forecast of warmer, dry conditions – so there’s going to be plenty of opportunities with the strategy and cars around us out of position.
We had a tough time in wet conditions in the final practice session but both drivers seemed much happier with the car in qualifying itself having made some changes. Wet sessions are never straightforward and even less so when your car is off the pace, so we’re pleased to be starting P4 with Lewis. We could have found a bit more time on the last run by saving the tyres for one big lap at the end but you never know if there is going to be a red or yellow flag so we can’t be disappointed as it’s a solid place to start from tomorrow. George took a bit of a gamble going to slicks, it was definitely a brave choice and whilst it didn’t pay off today, it’s great that he’s prepared to take a few risks to get a shot at pole position. Conditions are expected to be very different tomorrow with hot and dry race. We were struggling with a lack of grip on Friday but we’ve changed a lot on the car so hopefully that’s improved and we can have a strong race.