Nico Rosberg caused a stir with a fine lap to snatch pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix from right under the nose of his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Rosberg – controversially on pole in Monaco two weeks ago – repeated his performance to snatch a second consecutive Formula One pole with a best lap of 1:14.874, the seventh of his career, by just seven hundredths of a second from Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel will start third, his best lap six tenths shy of Rosberg’s pole time.
Hamilton had been the firm favourite going into qualifying, having been fastest in FP3, and topping both Q1 and Q2, yet, come the final shoot-out it was Rosberg that pipped Hamilton to pole after the 2008 champion failed to improve on his final run.
Sebastian Vettel had been as low as sixth going into the closing stages of Q3, but a late flurry from the four-times champion saw him improve, jumping ahead of the two Williams cars of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, who had been expected to be Mercedes’ closest challengers.
Daniel Ricciardo was sixth in the second Red Bull, two tenths faster than Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari, the Spaniard having never looked a feature for the fight for the front two rows.
Jean-Eric Vergne impressed on the way to eight for Toro Rosso, the Frenchman, like Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen behind him opting for just a single run in Q3.
The two Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez both fell foul of the drop zone in Q2, the German by just half a tenth, in 11th and 13th respectively, with Kevin Magnussen’s McLaren sandwiched between the pair in a somewhat underwhelming 12th.
Romain Grosjean, who has scored points in both of last two grand prix, will start 13th as the lead Lotus, and he will be joined on the seventh row of the grid by Daniil Kvyat.
Adrian Sutil was 16th, the sole Sauber runner in qualifying, while Pastor Maldonado failed to progress out of Q1 for the fifth time this year and will start 17th after he was forced to pull his Lotus into the turn three slip road as a precaution.
The two Marussias were 18th and 19th, Max Chilton ahead of his team-mate Jules Bianchi by a single hundredth of a second, while Kamui Kobayashi was 20th in the first of the Caterhams.
His team-mate Marcus Ericsson brought Q1 to a premature end with just seconds to go with a red flag, the Swede crashing out at the exit of turn nine, the second consecutive race weekend that he has crashed in qualifying.
Esteban Gutierrez did not appear in qualifying after an accident in final practice, he will start 22nd and last.
Qualifying – Canadian Grand Prix – Classification
1. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes 1:14.874
2. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:14.953 +0.079
3. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 1:15.548 +0.674
4. Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Mercedes – 1:15.550 +0.676
5. Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes – 1:15.578 +0.704
6. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull-Renault – 1:15.589 +0.715
7. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:15.814 +0.940
8. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:16.162 +1.288
9. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:16.182 +1.308
10. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:16.214 +1.340
11. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes – 1:16.300 +1.246
12. Kevin Magnussen – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:16.310 +1.256
13. Sergio Perez – Force India-Mercedes – 1:16.472 +1.418
14. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Renault – 1:16.687 +1.633
15. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:16.713 +1.659
16. Adrian Sutil – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:17.314 +2.260
17. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus-Renault – 1:18.328 +2.578
18. Max Chilton – Marussia-Ferrari – 1:18.348 +2.598
19. Jules Bianchi – Marussia-Ferrari – 1:18.359 +2.609
20. Kamui Kobayashi – Caterham-Renault – 1:19.278 +3.528
21. Marcus Ericsson – Caterham-Renault – 1:19.820 +4.070
22. Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber-Ferrari – No time set
Image courtesy of Daimler