Sunday, June 8, 2014

Rosberg Flies the Mercedes Flag in Canadian Grand Prix Qualifying

Photo Credit: Andrew Hone/ Pirelli

Two weeks after another memorable running of the Monaco Grand Prix, the enthusiasm of the 22-car 2014 Formula 1 season has jumped over the Atlantic Ocean. The first stop in North America for 2014, the Canadian Grand Prix held on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve provides an interesting combination of long, high-speed stretches and heavy braking areas.

The 4.361-kilometer track's now regular June date is typically a point in the Formula 1 season where the have and have-not teams are aware of where they stand on the grid. While the historically strong but under-performing teams for 2014 such as Ferrari and McLaren will be re-evaluating their efforts for a more productive season moving forward, the Mercedes AMG team is at the top of the Formula 1 world entering the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix race weekend.

While Fernando Alonso topped the first practice session on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Friday, the Mercedes AMG race cars of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were in hot pursuit. Just 0.016 seconds off the pace of the Ferrari in the first practice, British driver Hamilton posted a 1-minute, 16.118-second to dominate Friday warm-ups. Ahead of Saturday qualifying, Hamilton bettered his own time by more than half a second in a morning session.

Lewis Hamilton parlayed his speed in practice into strong performance in Q1 and Q2 time trial sessions on Saturday. Fellow Mercedes AMG pilot Nico Rosberg kept up appearances during the first two stages of qualifying being third fastest in Q1 and second-quickest in Q2. Mercedes-Benz teams also presented some encouraging performance during Canadian Grand Prix qualifying. Kevin Magnussen posted a second-fastest time in Q1, the rookie driver wound-up 12th on the grid after a less impressive Q2 run. Magnussen's teammate and 2011 Canadian Grand Prix winner Jenson Button will start ninth in his McLaren-Mercedes. The second Mercedes-Benz customer time to showing strength on Saturday was Williams Martini Racing. Valtteri Bottas and his more experienced teammate Felipe Massa posted some strong times throughout qualifying. After Q3, Bottas is starting fourth while Massa is placed in a solid fifth place position. Last year in Canadian Grand Prix time trials, then-rookie driver Valtteri Bottas qualified third but fell quickly over the course of the grand prix. With a year of Formula 1 driving under his belt and a Williams car that his appeared better than the 2013 version, could put together a better run.

When qualifying wrapped, the factory Mercedes AMG team enjoyed the victors. However, despite holding the advantage in the conclusion of the first two qualifying sessions, Lewis Hamilton would be bested by his German teammate. Posting a 1-minute, 14.874-second lap time in Q3, Nico Rosberg captured pole. While Hamilton attempted to take the pole position in the late portion of the final time trial session, his Mercedes AMG race car was 0.079 seconds off the mark. Holding a slim four point advantage over teammate Lewis Hamilton heading into the Canadian Grand Prix, Nico Rosberg have conceivably declared full-scale war against the 2014 Formula 1 field that includes, most provocatively, his fellow Mercedes AMG driver. 

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG

Taking third place in qualifying on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the Red Bull-Renault of Sebastian Vettel broke a dominating session among Mercedes-Benz propelled cars. Over half a second off the pace of second-place Lewis Hamilton, Vettel is still searching for his first victory in the 2014 Formula 1 season and arrives at the Canadian Grand Prix as the race's defending winner. The second Red Bull Racing car will start from sixth place on the grid for Sunday's main event.

The 70-lap Canadian Grand Prix is set to start at 2:00 PM Eastern time. The weather forecast calls for a sunny, warm race.

2014 Formula 1
Canadian Grand Prix
Qualifying Results

Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine

1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault
4 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams F1 Renault
5 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes-Benz
6 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault
7 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari
8 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault
9 22 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes-Benz
10 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari
11 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes-Benz
12 22 Kevin Magnussen McLaren Mercedes-Benz
13 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes-Benz
14 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault
15 26 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault
16 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber Ferrari
17 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus Renault
18 4 Max Chilton Marussia Ferrari
19 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia Ferrari
20 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham Renault
21 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham Renault
22 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber Ferrari

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