Canada Qualifying: Hulkenberg impressive in P2, Ferrari disappoint

Haas Ferrari, Hulkenberg

The rain threw a spanner in the works for Qualifying. Everything could have changed, and almost everything did, except for one thing – Max Verstappen and Red Bull came out on top.

The Dutchman claims another Pole Position and will be joined on the first row by Nico Hulkenberg in the Haas. Just behind was Fernando Alonso in third, while Mercedes optimised the W14’s potential in the wet and secured fourth and fifth place for the Sunday grid.

Ferrari, on the other hand, had a very difficult session. A combination of mistakes and bad luck will put the Scuderia very far down the order for the Canadian Grand Prix.


FP3 ended with rain, whilst also featuring a mistake and crash from Carlos Sainz. Ferrari subsequently changed the entire rear end, also replacing the gearbox (assembled in the morning) with an old specification, as well as checking and repairing the front, allowing the Spaniard to start the qualifying session on time. 

There were immediate problems for Alfa Romeo, with Guanyu Zhou suffering from a lack of power and being forced to stop on track. The Chinese driver managed to restart his car and slowly bring it back to the pits.

The red flag was quickly deployed and then removed, briefly interrupting the session, which resumed with Zhou’s presence as well.

Qualifying continued smoothly with Max Verstappen ending the session with a 6-tenth advantage over Fernando Alonso. Times that improve steadily, given the drying circuit.

Eliminated in Q1: Yuki Tsunoda, just 16 thousandths behind Nico Hulkenberg. Pierre Gasly saw his good lap ruined by a messy situation at the last chicane, which involved Sainz and Tsunoda.

Also out was the other AlphaTauri, De Vries, by just over four-tenths. Six-tenths cost Logan Sargeant the chance to progress. Despite returning, Zhou Guanyu still found himself last.


Alexander Albon was the first and only driver to go out on softs. In the first timed laps, both Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc ask for information on the possibility of using the soft compound.

The McLaren driver returned to the pits, while Ferrari asks Leclerc to set at least one time before taking softs.

The first sector was critical, with the track gradually drying out. The initiative from Albon paid off, with the Thai driver going fastest in Q2.

In the end, even the last drivers previously on inters switched to dry tyres. There was plenty of variety with track conditions.

McLaren ‘turns on’ the tyres will in these mixed conditionswhile Ferrari struggled, especially with Charles Leclerc.

Sergio Perez, after an attempt on softs, returned for intermediates. At this stage, it was already too late – and the drivers in the elimination zone had no chance to improve.

Ferrari SF-23

Eliminated in Q2: Charles Leclerc by +0.189 from Lewis Hamilton, who remained at risk towards the end. Behind him, eliminated once again in Q2, was Sergio Perez, more than half a second behind the Mercedes W14 in tenth position. Thirteenth was Lance Stroll and behind him, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas.


The rain came back as the conditions worsened, with a track that is now in conditions between Intermediate and Full Wet. 

Max Verstappen put himself first with a 1.25.858, whilst Nico Hulkenberg went second, 1.2 from RB19 number 1.

Fernando Alonso was very unlucky, having set a purple sector 2, being forced to abandon his final lap in Q3, due to the red flag brought out by Oscar Piastri.

Conditions worsened after the red flag, preventing any changes in the running order. Thus, Max Verstappen claimed Pole Position with a surprise Nico Hulkenberg in second.

Fernando Alonso is forced to settle for third after some late misfortune. After a difficult start, Mercedes finished in fourth and fifth.

Sixth was Esteban Ocon, who puts Alpine once again in Q3. Seventh and ninth were McLaren with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri

Between them was the only Ferrari in the top 10, Carlos Sainz. However, the Spaniard is under investigation for impeding. Alexander Albon ended the session in tenth.

Author: Paolo D’Alessandro

Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang