2023 Canadian Grand Prix - Saturday
THE DAY ON TRACK
- The rain was the main story today, both in free practice and in qualifying.
- FP3 was held in the rain, which intensified towards the end of the session. The Ferrari drivers were the only ones to use Intermediates right from the start, rather than the Full Wets chosen by all the other teams for their first run out of the pits. The intermediates then gained in popularity after the first quarter of an hour, with Aston Martin the first team to make the switch.
- After about half an hour, the session was stopped when Carlos Sainz crashed at the first corner and it resumed at 13.07, once the run-off area had been cleared and the crash barriers repaired.
- The track was wet for the start of qualifying, even though it was hardly raining. The session was stopped almost immediately after Guanyu Zhou had to park his Alfa Romeo at the side of the track with a technical problem. At that point, only three drivers – his team-mate Valtteri Bottas and both Williams drivers – had set a time on the Intermediate tyres.
- The track began to dry out but in Q1 no drivers risked using slicks. The Intermediates worked well even as the track continued to get dryer, at least on the racing line, which meant several drivers were able to keep going for longer than the predicted crossover time for slicks.
- In Q2, Williams gambled by sending Alex Albon out on dry weather tyres right from his very first run and it paid off. The Thai-British driver struggled a bit compared to those on Intermediates for his first two laps, but then he found himself on the best suited tyres when the track itself was at its best – namely running the Softs at the right temperature and he thus managed to set the fastest time.
- All the other drivers did a first flying lap on Intermediates before switching to Softs, but by then, the rain was gaining in intensity and Albon’s time remained out of reach. Failing to make the cut out of this part of qualifying were several top team drivers, including Leclerc, Perez and Stroll.
- The third session really came down to just one run at the start, with all the drivers on Intermediates. Once again, Max Verstappen was quickest, thus securing his 25th career pole position.
- The only driver who ever looked like challenging the Dutchman was Fernando Alonso, but a red flag brought out when Oscar Piastri crashed, prevented the Spaniard from completing his second flying lap by just a few seconds and the Aston Martin driver thus had to settle for third place.
- The surprise of the day came from Nico Hulkenberg, who was second fastest. This feat means that, for the very first time, the Haas team should have seen one of its cars start a Grand Prix from the front row. However, later on Saturday night, the German was penalised for failing to slow enough when the red flags were shown and thus he will start from fifth place on the grid.
- Jean Alesi presented Max Verstappen with the Pirelli Pole Position Award. The Frenchman who raced in Formula 1 from 1989 to 2001, took his only Grand Prix win here in Montreal on his birthday (11 June) in 1995, at the wheel of a Ferrari.
MARIO ISOLA - MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR
“Yesterday’s weather forecast predicted rain for today and it proved to be accurate. It meant we could see both the Intermediate and the new Full Wet tyres in action, after we had got a taste of the latter towards the end of the Monaco Grand Prix. As for the Intermediates, we saw that their operating window is still very wide, given the competitive times set with them in Q1 when the track was practically dry. The Full Wet, which in this new specification does not require preheating, worked as expected without any evidence of temperature management issues right from the start of their use.
“Dry track conditions are expected tomorrow, but clearly all the rain that has fallen so far has effectively led to a degree of reset in terms of the track surface conditions. As for strategy, this could make a two stop race look even more competitive, starting with the Mediums and then switching to Hards for the next two stints. A one stop, starting on Hard and switching to Medium, could be the choice for those starting from the second half of the grid, as it would allow them to have greater flexibility to deal with any eventualities, especially on this track where the Safety Car has often been called on to do plenty of laps.”
Founded in 1872, Pirelli is a company with deep Italian roots now recognised all over the world for its cutting-edge technology, capacity for innovation, and the quality of its products. Motorsport has always played an important part in Pirelli’s strategy, following the ‘race to road’ philosophy. The company has been engaged in motorsport for 116 years and today supplies tyres to more than 350 championships on both two and four wheels. Pirelli pays constant attention to the most efficient use of natural resources and energy, aiming to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.
Pirelli has been Global Tyre Partner of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since 2011. The company also supplies championships including FIA Formula 2, FIA Formula 3, Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, FIA World Rally Championship and GT World Challenge, alongside numerous national series.