Canadian Grand Prix: Saturday Analysis

Following a heavily disrupted FP3, Qualifying was a relentless tale of intermediate runs, as teams failed to predict the unpredictable Montreal weather patterns. The circuit was damp throughout, which favored Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel, who put an end to Mercedes’ dominant string of Pole Positions. However, Lewis Hamilton proved just how strong he is around Canada, lining up P2 and overcoming his persistent brake issues. Performance of the day goes to Valtteri Bottas, who not only made it into Q3, but qualified an awe inspiring P3.

FP3

After yesterday’s tricky practice sessions, the teams did not receive the reprieve they desired. The session was significantly shortened to just 30 minutes following lengthy repair work to the armco barrier on the exit of turn nine after a support race accident. To compound the issues, another morning downpour had left the track damp, meaning that the slick tyres were not used until the final few minutes. 
The session began at 10:30am, (local time) which meant that schedules had to be adjusted to complete a full programme. However, as McLaren Sporting Director, Sam Micheal alluded to, the top teams only run a 40 minute schedule in FP3 sessions anyway. The fundamental issue faced was the damp track. This left many teams with a dilemma, as some considered saving the intermediate tyres. Some teams opted to either wait for the track to dry out or complete practice starts on the  extreme wet compound. Concequently, only 14 drivers had set a lap time after 15 minutes. Fernando Alonso was a notable absence from the timesheet, as he opted to run the extreme wet option. Meanwhile, Felipe Massa was setting blistering times on the intermediate compound. 
With 7 minutes remaining, Sergio Perez became the first man to head out on slick tyres, while his initial lap was merely an installation run on the medium compound. The majority left the pit lane on the super soft tyre, as the dry line was clearly visible. This drying track meant that the end of FP3 closely resembled the end of FP1, as times began to tumble. It was a case of the last driver to set a time would be towards the top of the timesheet. Hamilton, Vettel, Sutil, and Di Resta all hit the front before Mark Webber topped them all with a 1:17.895. However, Qualifying is likely to be a very different scenario.
FP3 Timesheet
01. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m17.895 7 laps
02. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m18.248 +0.353 8 laps
03. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m18.732 +0.837 7 laps
04. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m18.977 +1.082 10 laps
05. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m19.131 +1.236 6 laps
06. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m19.457 +1.562 7 laps
07. Paul di Resta Force India 1m19.496 +1.601 6 laps
08. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m19.750 +1.855 9 laps
09. Jenson Button McLaren 1m19.790 +1.895 9 laps
10. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m20.316 +2.421 8 laps
11. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m20.596 +2.701 9 laps
12. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m21.035 +3.140 12 laps
13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m21.364 +3.469 7 laps
14. Max Chilton Marussia 1m21.652 +3.757 9 laps
15. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m22.021 +4.126 14 laps
16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m22.720 +4.825 15 laps
17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m23.058 +5.163 7 laps
18. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m23.132 +5.237 14 laps
19. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m23.309 +5.414 8 laps
20. Charles Pic Caterham 1m23.620 +5.725 12 laps
21. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m24.317 +6.422 12 laps
22. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m26.195 +8.300 9 laps  
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