CANADIAN GP - SATURDAY - QUALIFYING SESSION 1 REPORT

Five-nil for Spain

Fernando Alonso, Canadian GP 2006

Fernando Alonso, Canadian GP 2006 

 © The Cahier Archive

The world is besotted at the moment with soccer matches in Germany and so qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix was a low-key affair before the cars even rolled out of the pitlane. And even then it did not get much better. It was clear from early in the session that Renault was well ahead of the game and that the Michelin teams had an advantage over the Bridgestone users. That was probably due to the track conditions and to the amount of rubber on the race track but much will depend on Sunday on the temperature when the cars line up for the race. If it gets hot enough the Bridgestone teams may have more of a chance. If not this is going to be a Renault massacre.

The Ferraris never looked very competitive, to such an extent in fact that Fernando Alonso said that the team was sandbagging and not showing its full potential. In part that was true but then as Alonso said, it is irrelevant what happens on Fridays.

"Today was more realistic," said Alonso. "Ferrari is not in the top three or four so it seems that we have something more than them. It is a good job from Michelin and that has given us the possibility to be ahead of them. For tomorrow there are no worries at all. I think Ferrari will be competitive here maybe with more rubber down they will get better and better but if we finish ahead of them it will be a great result."

With Giancarlo Fisichella second on the grid and Kimi Raikkonen third there was a clear Michelin advantage but what was strange was the pace of the Toyota of Jarno Trulli which qualified fourth ahead of Michael Schumacher. Trulli is a very fast qualifier but the only way that Toyota can achieve grid positions like that is with a very small fuel load. Michael Schumacher himself gave signs that he was running fairly light so the Toyota time was quite a surprise. Nico Rosberg was sixth fastest but he had a very unhappy team mate in Mark Webber who was unimpressed when Rosberg got in his way at the end of the first qualifying session and Webber ended up not gettiung through to Q2. That was a disaster for Webber and condemns him to an afternoon struggling in the midfield on Sunday. Also missing out were Scott Speed (Toro Rosso), Tiago Monteiro and Christijan Albers and the inevitable two Super Aguris.

The Q2 session got rid of Jacques Villeneuve, Christian Klien, Nick Heidfeld, Ralf Schumacher, Tonio Liuzzi and David Coulthard.

That left Alonso, Michael Schumacher, Juan Pablo Montoya, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Fisichella, Trulli, Felipe Massa, Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button to fight it out for pole position. If the truth be told it never looked like that would go to anyone other than Alonso would get the pole. His time in the second session of 1m14.726s made it very clear that he was not messing about with a 1m14.726s lap, compared to Michael's best of 1m15.139s. In the final session the two men were separated by a full second.