On Saturday, ,le Notre-Dame in Montreal qualified for the Canadian Grand Prix, rain, cold and wind came to play the sport.
The Dutch Championship and current world champion Max Verstapen has taken second place in nine cases this season, covering the 4,361-kilometer-long Gilles-Vilneeva track in 1 minute 21,299 seconds at the helm of his Red Bull.
For the first time since 2012, the two-time world champion and sports veteran Fernando Alonso used difficult conditions to use all his talents to be more than half a second late to climb with his Alpine. . The first three will be completed by the second Spaniard and Ferrari driver Carlos Saints.
“In the face of difficult circumstances, we were able to stay calm and avoid mistakes. It’s great to be a leader,” Max Verstapen explained from his race car.
Fernando Alonso, 40, smiled. “We have had an incredible weekend so far. Thanks to the wet track, the car was mega, so easy to drive. “I think I’ll attack Max from the first turn tomorrow,” he promised to delight the crowd.
However, after a few minutes at the press conference, he quickly lowered expectations, recalling that the Red Bulls, Ferrari and Mercedes have dominated the championship so far and that we often see the best cars in the race. Teams assemble all the pellets after facing problems. “Frankly, we’re not in the same league,” he admitted. “The best we can hope for is to fight for fifth place. »
Carlos Sainc had more ambition on his side. “The most important thing is a good start. We will have the speed to fight the Fee. It should be tight. »
The lack of grip and visibility complicated the lives of drivers who had already had to rebuild a track they had not been on for three years, at the wheel of brand new cars that were bigger, heavier and more difficult to drive. season.
Accustomed to being far further in the starting grid, Hass team riders Kevin Magnusen and Mick Schumacher will crush each other on Sunday when they see themselves behind seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who finished 4th, and ahead of his teammate at Mercedes, George Russell (8th).
Serhio Peress, the second Red Bull driver, was unable to perform better than the 13th time. Until then, the owner of six leading positions in eight qualifying sessions this season, the second Ferrari driver Charles Leckler was even smaller (15th) and will finally start from the last row, who was penalized for engine replacement.
Monaco will be ahead of two local riders, Montreal-based Lens Strolls and Nicholas Latifi (Williams).
Watch out for the walls
According to weather forecasts, drivers should be given better track conditions on just over 305 km on Sunday.
The Gilles-Vilnewa track, which consists of long straight lines and fast bends interrupted by short, more pronounced turns, is a “special track with great character,” Daniel Rikjardo, the Australian driver for the McLaren team, explained on Friday. “In some places, it almost looks like a go-kart track where you try to bend as much as possible.”
“It simply came to our notice then. We have to attack a lot and drive around the edges, and in case of a mistake we quickly find ourselves in the wall, ”said Lens Strolls from Canada.
Since 2014, one of the riders who started from one of the first two places on the starting network has always won the Montreal race. The landscape of many meandering weather and racing incidents, which had to regroup the pellet behind the safety car, still offers the track “Our Lady of Īle” a track where it is relatively easy to overcome, “said Charles Leckler. “It’s a place where riders can change something,” confirmed Sebastian Fettel, a German.
Pilots too fine?
This year, these drivers are facing new rules that have made their cars bigger and heavier, but are also subject to an aerodynamic phenomenon called “porpoising”, which causes their cars to oscillate up and down sharply and violently. As several of them have complained of headaches and back pain in addition to vision problems, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) said this week that it will look into the matter and may impose new rules to protect pilot safety.
Even though all teams say they care about the safety of their riders and want to cooperate, not everyone faces so many problems. This leads some to covertly accuse others of using this pretext to try to erase their poor technical choices.
“We all face the same constraints as the rest of the team,” Alpine team manager Otmar Schafnauer said on Saturday. We have chosen to keep our cars high enough to achieve performance without risking injury to our drivers or breaking our cars. [Mais] some teams decided to lobby the FIA to change the rules instead. »
AlphaTauri’s director Frant Tost, known for his sometimes brutal open remarks, attacked the pilots themselves. “It has always been difficult to drive these cars. […] These are Formula 1, not Rolls-Royce. Pilots should know that. If they find the cars too uncomfortable and difficult to drive, they have to go home, find a good chair in their living room and drive with video games. »
Red Bull benefits
After eight events in a 22-year season, Max Verstapen is the 150-point leader of the pilot championship, ahead of his teammate Red Bull Serhio Peres (129 points), Ferrari driver Charles Leckler (116) and the pilot. Merced George Russell (99). At the wheel of much less competitive cars, the two Quebec residents, Lens Strolls (17th) and Nicolas Latifi (21st), are far behind.
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