Sunday, June 12, 2016

Lewis Hamilton Claims Top Spot for Sunday`s Canadian Grand Prix

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG

The first of three visits to the North American continent in the 2016 Formula 1 season, the Canadian Grand Prix has been a mainstay event for all but two years since 1978 at Circuit Gilles Villeneueve. Racing on the on 4.361-kilometer, 14-turn track on a man-made island positioned just off from the city of Montreal, the track is known for stretches that allows a car to run up to 330 kilometers per hour combined with sharp, low-speed turns. Braking is generally a concern for drivers and teams as they both seek to optimize their on-track performance but also maintain enough stopping power throughout an event.

As typical for the 2016 season, the Mercedes AMG team cars proved immediately quick in practice. After having their team's 11-race pole-scoring streak snapped by a Red Bull-Tag Heuer of Daniel Ricciardo at the Monaco Grand Prix, Mercedes AMG team was seeking to come back with a vengeance in qualifying in Canada. Nico Rosberg topped Q1 while Lewis Hamilton stood fastest after the Q2 session. For the final Q3 timed laps, Lewis Hamilton prevailed to take pole setting a top time of 1-minute, 12.812-second around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Lewis Hamilton's fourth pole of 2016 comes at the track he scored his first grand prix victory in 2007. Crediting his late braking technique as a key to success on Canadian Grand Prix weekends, Hamilton has also noted the fans and atmosphere as a perk to visiting the venue.

For what proved to be a tight qualifying session at the end, Nico Rosberg guaranteed an all-Mercedes AMG team front row. Rosberg`s lap time was only 0.062 seconds slower than his teammate. Entering the Canadian Grand Prix with a 24-point lead on Hamilton, Nico Rosberg`s momentum has been disrupted in the last two races consisting of a coming-together with with his fellow Mercedes AMG driver at the Spanish Grand Prix and a seventh place on the streets in Monaco. While Lewis Hamilton has won a total of four times on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve during Formula 1 competition, Rosberg is searching for his first win in the event.

Third on the grid for the Canadian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel`s Ferrari wound up fairly close to the Mercedes AMG on pace. Vettel`s Q3 time was 0.178 seconds slower than Hamilton his a track Vettel claimed victory on in 2013. Starting the year with momentum, victory lane has still eluded Scederia Ferrari for 2016 in Formula 1. After six races, Vettel`s championship ranking is actually one point behind his teammate Kimi Raikkonen will start seventh for Sunday`s main event.

As the 2016 Formula 1 season trekked into the mid-season, the Red Bull Racing teams has appeared to reverse the tides that placed the team underwater through 2015. Strong results and Max Verstappen`s win has allowed the Austrian-backed effort to seriously consider a third team victory in Canada. Daniel Ricciardo is fourth place positioned just ahead of his teammate.


During qualifying, the so-called 'wall of champions' located on the outside of the final corner claimed two more victims. The first was Renault`s Jolyon Palmer who brushed the green wall but escaped without any major damage. Palmer concluded to press hard but only managed to claim 17th place on the starting grid for the 2016 Canadian Grand Prix. He did manage to out-place teammate Kevin Magnussen who was sidelined from qualifying after crashing his primary race car in Saturday`s final practice.

In Q2, the second victim of the notorious Circuit Gilles Villeneuve wall was Carlos Sainz Jr. Unlike Jolyon Palmer contact, Sainz Jr`s Toro Rosso-Ferrari was not able to escape harm. Hard contact made with the right rear wheel assembly crippled the Spanish driver`s efforts that were good enough for 9th place after Q1. Instead, of a potential Q3 berth, Sainz Jr settled with a 15th place starting spot for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Following qualifying, Daniil Kvyat and Marcus Ericsson have each been demoted three positions as a penalty for on-track incidents during the Monaco Grand Prix.

Scheduled for 2 pm Eastern time, the 2016 Canadian Grand Prix for 70 laps. Weather conditions are questionable for the Sunday afternoon event as overcast conditions holds the possibility for rain falling during the race.

2016 Formula 1
Canadian Grand Prix
Starting Grid

1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
2 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
3 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Ferrari
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull TAG Heuer
5 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull TAG Heuer
6 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari
7 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams F1 Mercedes-Benz
8 19 Felipe Massa Williams F1 Mercedes-Benz
9 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes-Benz
10 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda
11 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes-Benz
12 22 Jenson Button McLaren Honda
13 9 Esteban Gutierrez Haas F1 Team Ferrari
14 8 Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team Ferrari
15 55 Carlos Sainz Jr Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari
16 26 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari
17 30 Jolyon Palmer Renault Renault
18 28 Pascal Wehrlein Manor Mercedes-Benz
19 12 Felipe Nasr Sauber Ferrari
20 98 Rio Haryanto Manor Mercedes-Benz
21 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari
22 20 Kevin Magnussen Renault Renault

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