Ferrari and Lotus still threats despite poor qualifying

2013 Canadian Grand Prix pre-race analysis

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After two days of rain-affected running the forecast for the Canadian Grand Prix is for drier and warmer weather.

This will be welcomed by some teams more than others. After a wet qualifying session the teams have all the fresh slick tyres they could want, but not much data on how they perform.

But Friday showed Ferrari and Lotus should have the long-run pace to help them make up ground during the race.

The start

Sebastian Vettel is on pole position for the third year in a row. But that’s not the strong indicator of likely victory that it was in Monaco, as demonstrated by the fact Vettel was unable to convert either of his previous pole positions into victories.

In recent races we’ve seen Vettel make good starts and attack the cars in front of him. That plus the short run into turn one means it may be tricky for Lewis Hamilton to mount an attack from second on the grid.

Third-placed Valtteri Bottas is likely to struggle to remain that high unless the conditions are wet. Expect him to be a soft target for his pursuers. The double DRS zone with a single activation point is likely to make it very difficult for him to defend.

Fernando Alonso has made consistently strong starts so far this year and needs another if he’s to be able to challenge Vettel for victory. “Starting from sixth here isn’t bad, because you can overtake at this circuit,” said Alonso. “I’m definitely hoping for a race with no rain, because in the dry, looking at [Friday’s] long runs, we can be more competitive and quicker than some of the cars that start in front of us tomorrow.”


Pirelli expect to see drivers make two pit stops during the race. However the track will be low on grip, particularly in the early stages of the race, and managing graining will be a major challenge.

The race will provide a telling sign of how much progress Mercedes have made with their car following their controversial test at the Circuit de Catalunya. Prior to that test both drivers dropped back during the races in Spain and Bahrain.

Further back in the pack there are several drivers who should be able to make gains in the race: Felipe Massa in 16th and the Lotuses in 10th (Kimi Raikkonen) and 22nd (Romain Grosjean), all of which should thrive in the expected warmer conditions.

Another is Paul di Resta, who was fastest in the first practice session and looked quick in the afternoon as well. Another qualifying blunder saw him fail to reach Q2 and he starts 17th.

The lack of representative data makes it tricky to foresee who will be competitive when the lights go out on race day. Hopefully that means we will enjoy an exciting and unpredictable Canadian Grand Prix. Here’s what information could be gleaned from qualifying today:

Qualifying times in full


Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull1’22.3181’28.166 (+5.848)1’25.425 (-2.741)
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’23.8011’27.649 (+3.848)1’25.512 (-2.137)
3Valtteri BottasWilliams1’23.4461’28.419 (+4.973)1’25.897 (-2.522)
4Nico RosbergMercedes1’23.8401’28.420 (+4.580)1’26.008 (-2.412)
5Mark WebberRed Bull1’23.2471’28.145 (+4.898)1’26.208 (-1.937)
6Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’23.2241’28.788 (+5.564)1’26.504 (-2.284)
7Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso1’24.1591’28.527 (+4.368)1’26.543 (-1.984)
8Adrian SutilForce India1’24.5511’28.799 (+4.248)1’27.348 (-1.451)
9Kimi RaikkonenLotus1’24.4511’28.667 (+4.216)1’27.432 (-1.235)
10Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso1’24.7701’29.359 (+4.589)1’27.946 (-1.413)
11Nico HulkenbergSauber1’23.8991’29.435 (+5.536)
12Sergio PerezMcLaren1’24.1761’29.761 (+5.585)
13Pastor MaldonadoWilliams1’24.7761’29.917 (+5.141)
14Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’24.0211’30.068 (+6.047)
15Esteban GutierrezSauber1’24.4081’30.315 (+5.907)
16Felipe MassaFerrari1’23.7351’30.354 (+6.619)
17Paul di RestaForce India1’24.908
18Charles PicCaterham1’25.626
19Romain GrosjeanLotus1’25.716
20Jules BianchiMarussia1’26.508
21Max ChiltonMarussia1’27.062
22Giedo van der GardeCaterham1’27.110

Sector times

DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Sebastian Vettel23.153 (1)27.724 (5)31.415 (1)
Lewis Hamilton23.600 (4)27.761 (6)31.950 (9)
Valtteri Bottas23.856 (10)27.646 (2)31.944 (8)
Nico Rosberg23.392 (2)27.800 (7)32.053 (14)
Mark Webber23.473 (3)27.608 (1)31.962 (11)
Fernando Alonso23.648 (5)27.670 (3)31.906 (7)
Jean-Eric Vergne23.973 (14)28.227 (10)31.959 (10)
Adrian Sutil23.881 (11)28.357 (15)31.974 (12)
Kimi Raikkonen24.091 (16)28.345 (14)32.011 (13)
Daniel Ricciardo23.915 (12)28.012 (8)32.360 (18)
Nico Hulkenberg23.672 (6)28.397 (17)31.725 (3)
Sergio Perez23.993 (15)28.285 (11)31.898 (6)
Pastor Maldonado23.791 (8)28.316 (12)32.086 (16)
Jenson Button23.852 (9)28.048 (9)31.839 (4)
Esteban Gutierrez23.678 (7)28.377 (16)32.126 (17)
Felipe Massa24.175 (19)27.702 (4)31.858 (5)
Paul di Resta23.953 (13)28.497 (18)31.717 (2)
Charles Pic24.136 (17)28.818 (20)32.375 (19)
Romain Grosjean24.148 (18)28.333 (13)32.058 (15)
Jules Bianchi24.655 (21)29.208 (21)32.461 (20)
Max Chilton24.443 (20)29.445 (22)32.630 (21)
Giedo van der Garde24.710 (22)28.796 (19)32.828 (22)

Speed trap

PosDriverCarSpeed (kph/mph)Gap
1Sergio PerezMcLaren322.2 (200.2)
2Max ChiltonMarussia322.0 (200.1)-0.2
3Paul di RestaForce India322.0 (200.1)-0.2
4Adrian SutilForce India322.0 (200.1)-0.2
5Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso322.0 (200.1)-0.2
6Kimi RaikkonenLotus322.0 (200.1)-0.2
7Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso322.0 (200.1)-0.2
8Romain GrosjeanLotus321.4 (199.7)-0.8
9Nico HulkenbergSauber321.4 (199.7)-0.8
10Lewis HamiltonMercedes321.0 (199.5)-1.2
11Nico RosbergMercedes320.9 (199.4)-1.3
12Jenson ButtonMcLaren320.8 (199.3)-1.4
13Fernando AlonsoFerrari320.7 (199.3)-1.5
14Felipe MassaFerrari320.6 (199.2)-1.6
15Esteban GutierrezSauber320.1 (198.9)-2.1
16Jules BianchiMarussia318.3 (197.8)-3.9
17Valtteri BottasWilliams318.2 (197.7)-4.0
18Pastor MaldonadoWilliams317.8 (197.5)-4.4
19Mark WebberRed Bull316.7 (196.8)-5.5
20Sebastian VettelRed Bull316.1 (196.4)-6.1
21Charles PicCaterham315.4 (196.0)-6.8
22Giedo van der GardeCaterham315.2 (195.9)-7.0

Over to you

Will Vettel finally get his first Canadian Grand Prix win – or can Alonso move up from sixth to challenge him? And how will Bottas fare from third on the grid?

Share your views on the Canadian Grand Prix in the comments.

2013 Canadian Grand Prix

Browse all 2013 Canadian Grand Prix articles

Images © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Lotus/LAT

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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40 comments on “Ferrari and Lotus still threats despite poor qualifying”

  1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
    9th June 2013, 9:27

    Given dry conditions, it is almost obvious that Alonso will be on Vettel’s tail soon enough. From ALO’s perspective, Webber will be passed within the first lap. Bottas isn’t something to be much worried about. The Mercs, as before, may have low race pace and fall victim to Alonso’s charge. In any case, Montreal is an easy-overtaking circuit, so Alonso should be running at second within 20 laps. Now comes the hard part of clearing the gap with Vettel, passing him, and then defending position. And of course, Ferrari will have to nail their strategy and make absolutely no mistakes. In conclusion, second place is guaranteed for Alonso. But is that enough from the C’ship point of view, especially as Vettel is in front? No. That will increase the 29-point gap to 37. That’s not something Alonso wouldn’t want.
    Coming to Bottas, he will probably finish in the points if he drives very well. But it is certain that he will drop atleast 5 to 6 places.
    Hoping for an epic ALO-VET battle, and Alonso hopefully emerging victorious. :)

    1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
      9th June 2013, 9:28

      *Alonso would want

    2. Too many IFs in the scenario.

      If Alonso’s Monaco form is any indication, Alonso is going to struggle to make the podium.

      1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
        9th June 2013, 9:51

        The point is, Monaco is a very different thing. He himself admitted he lacked pace. He obviously wouldn’t repeat it. Obviously there are ifs, this is pre-race discussion. :p

    3. A very optimistic view :) – Mercedes isn’t too bad in the long runs, so I don’t see the easy passes there. Both Mercedes had no problem to stay in the tires operating window and I would be surprised if that changes that much on Sunday. Also Alonso isn’t on top of his game lately, so my prediction is a Vettel Hamilton fight and Alonso going for 3rd. Unless there are mixed conditions then anything is possible.

      1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
        9th June 2013, 10:34

        @tmf42 Merc isn’t “too” bad, but it is most certainly bad. I don’t think Hamilton can challenge Vettel – he is totally out of his depth – that’s what happens when you concentrate too much on a dog. Alonso has driven well in Montreal barring the lock-up in S3 during Q3.

        1. @shreyasf1fan the same seems to happen if you focus on being a samurai rather than a F1 driver :) – jokes aside, I think your assessment isn’t completely off, but rather optimistic. Everything needs to fall in place for Alonso to pull that off and I just don’t see that happening. The Mercedes pace in the long run seems pretty consistent and the rear tires seem to hold – too many variables to say Alonso is a sure bet to battle for the race win.
          Anyway, we’ll see it soon enough.

          1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
            9th June 2013, 11:03

            Actually, Mercedes actually is pretty hard on its rear tyres. Haha, samurai thing was funny. :p

          2. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
            9th June 2013, 11:05

            And also, nothing else needs to fall in place for him except for the track being warm and dry. All rest will be done by the samurai.

      2. @tmf42 – Alonso is not at the top of his game because of one race where the car did obviously not have good pace? That seems to be a hasty judgement.

        1. @dragon88 – not on top of his game because of the overall performance this year. The mistake in Malaysia, average qualifying performance and Monaco are signs that he is no where near the consistency he had last year although he’s sitting in a much better car.

          1. The mistake in Malaysia was rather a minute one as the touch to Vettel was really quite light. Still a mistake, but it’s not like he braked 50m late.
            Also Ferrari is renowned to not be particularly outstanding in qualyfing: it was last year, it is the same this year.
            Finally, the reason why Ferrari has a better race car than in 2012 is because it’s kinder on the tyres, hence it can extract more pace in the race compared to other cars. I doubt it’s much faster on a single lap that the 2012 car was.

    4. Now comes the hard part of clearing the gap with Vettel, passing him, and then defending position.

      Maybe that’s where Massa can be useful. If he crashes and causes a safety-car nobody will think he did it on purpose.

      In reality my money is on Vettel for the win. I think his race pace is good and Alonso will be held up by Mercedes for quite some laps.

      Also, I dont think Bottas will finish in the top 10. I suspect he’s on a wet weather set-up. Besides, the Williams is too slow in the dry anyway. With these effective DRS-zones he will be a sitting duck.

    5. In conclusion, second place is guaranteed for Alonso.

      I chuckled. ‘Nuff said. I believe that Ferrari will show pace IF we have a dry race, but your comment sounds like you think only Vettel and Alonso will be on the track.

    6. Don’t sell the bear’s skin before hunting him. You seem to despise Hamilton, Rosberg, Webber … yout fanaticism clouds your mind dude.

  2. Hope it stays dry during the race…that’s alonso’s best shot for a top 3 finish . Interesting to see how Bottas performs in the race after such a fantastic qualifying show…

    1. As much as I want a Alonso show, I would like a wet race also.

  3. Besides the question of a dry or wet race the track temperatures will play an important role. if it stays dry but the track stays cool then I don’t think that Alonso can pass both Mercedes that easily.

    But from what I understood there is a higher chance for mixed conditions, so everything is possible.

  4. Dry race would be welcomed.

  5. I think Vettel has a good chance of winning here for the first time. He will lose it only if Red Bull’s pace is much worse than Ferrari’s. Which didn’t seem the case in FP2, but you never know. Alonso will be on the podium without too much effort, I guess.

    I would love Bottas to do well. I’d love to have a wet race only to see him in the top 5. In a dry race he will struggle to get into the points, I’d say.

    I predict that the two Lotuses will get some points and that the Mercs will be better than what we have seen in Bahrain or Spain, but they will be a bit behind Red Bull and Ferrari.

    1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
      9th June 2013, 10:45

      @yobo01 : Actually, second place is as good as guaranteed for Alonso. His primary objective will be to beat Vettel – a bit of a tough job.

      1. Lets not jinx Alonso please ;)

        1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
          9th June 2013, 11:12

          Haha, true man! ;) you an alonso fan?

    2. An optimistic prediction for grosjean there!

      1. Yeah, I can’t help it. I’m probably the only guy on earth that is convinced that Grosjean can do very well.

        1. @yobo01

          It’s two of us. If it rains, who knows…

  6. Too many people making it seems as if it’s a given that Alonso will win. Same was the case in Sepang and Sakhir and we know how that turned out.
    I just hope he makes a good start (better than the opposition) and has a trouble free race, with no collisions nor technical problems.
    I’ll just cheer on from that and hopefully he’ll have some good luck on his side this weekend too.

  7. Vettel was mighty in the last sector in qualifying: anybody who thinks Hamilton lost out because of his mistake think again – Vettel was flying through there and was also up in S1 & 2 but fell back in S3! Hamilton would’ve been no different even if he had made the chicane.

    1. @vettel1
      You worry too much about Hamilton Max, no-one here is thinking that.

      1. @jason12 I commented here because the evidence is clear from the sector times which I assume many didn’t have access to in their arguments yesterday, that is all!

  8. Looks like too many fans her for under performing champion ;)

  9. I do fear Bottas will drop like a stone if it is dry. I actually thought Hamilton was going to have a bad weekend (because of his braking troubles) and to see him distraught at P2 can only be a good sign. However, Mercedes’ tyres have a tendency to drop off quickly. Has anyone noticed that? Perhaps they should see if Pirelli can figure out why… *sarcasm*

    Watch out for Sutil, Force India have just looked quick as a whole this weekend, so if any of the top cars have a brain fade moment he could be in for another decent result.

  10. Damn, look at the speed of Red Bulls in the speed trap! I know they are usually slow, but this looks like they are hoping for a wet race. They are very slow compared to the top 15 drivers in the speed trap. Bottas is one of the slowest too. From 1-15, they are separated by less than 2kmph, but after that it goes from -2 to -7 difference!

    Lotuses have quite a high top speed while Ferrari and Mercedes are in the middle.

    Hopefully, Alonso will be able to gain the ground lost on Vettel in quali.

  11. Will be tough for Vettel in the dry. He has at best the third fastest race car. Overtaking is a non-issue these days so the much faster Ferrari and Lotus of Alonso and Raikkonen should quickly make up lost ground.

  12. What about the Mercedes guys. That test would have surely helped them, many are underestimating them.

  13. Little notice has fallen on Mercedes’ switch to Carbon Industries brakes, after Hamilton’s talk about how he doesn’t feel at one with the car it seems no coincidence to see hem again able to pull out a time at will now that he’s got his fancy brakes on the car. Hamilton is a genius at this track (except where the runs into the back of parked cars) so I would not write him of for the victory here.

    1. I must have missed this, would be good if this helps his pace,but unless the problems of tyre wear have been sorted a march backwards looks the most likely. Alonso and Vettel are great drivers and they are both capable of winning.But A Race.NO!

  14. Who was fasties in the 10 am warm up???

  15. The sun is shining in Montreal. :) The track temperature is already twice what it was when the long run data was gathered two days ago. I think, it’s a huge step into the unknown for everyone. I’d expect Lotus and Kimi to run an alternate strategy to the Red Bulls, Mercedes and Fernando. Possibly even risking a one stop. We will see… ,but I’m sure, that a few teams will try a 3 stop strategy.

  16. Give the latest weather forecast, I’d say Alonso is the most likely winner. Probably followed by Vettel and one of the Mercs, though Kimi has an outside shot at a podium as well.

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