It was fun while it lasted for Nico Hulkenberg. On Saturday afternoon, Hulkenberg was beaming after a surprise second-place finish in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Hulkenberg’s team, Haas, don’t have many days like this. Then Hulkenberg couldn’t stop smiling and waving, as he stood alongside Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso in an unlikely top three.
Unfortunately, their joy was short-lived. Hours later, the race stewards penalized Hulkenberg for speeding during a red flag in one of the qualifying sessions. Second place from him was now fifth on the grid, and the front row suddenly looked a lot more familiar: Verstappen on pole for Red Bull, with Alonso, in an Aston Martin, right next to him.
how to watch
Time: The Canadian Grand Prix begins at 2 pm Eastern time. (Global start times are here.)
TELEVISION: The race will be broadcast on ABC in the United States. The broadcast is available on ESPN+. Pre-race coverage begins at 12:30 pm Not in the US? A complete list of Formula 1 stations, wherever you are, It can be found here.
Sunday starting grid
Verstappen is on pole position, try to feign surprise, and Hulkenberg’s penalty lifted Alonso to second, a week after he promised he would would not finish on the podium again this season.
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will start third and fourth, which should be encouraging for Mercedes after they both finished on the podium last time out. But Ferrari’s struggles continued. Carlos Sainz dropped out of the top 10 after receiving a three-place penalty for hindering Pierre Gasly in qualifying, and Charles Leclerc broke out in the team after he thought a tire change had gone bad. “We need to improve now”, furious leclerc.
Sunday Story Lines
Impulse: Red Bull has won all seven races this season, and 17 of the last 18 overall. There’s no reason to think such dominance will take the day off on Sunday, and especially not with the chance of the team’s 100th Formula 1 victory.
Updates: Lewis Hamilton likes the feeling of what he is seeing from the Mercedes technicians. (Interesting.) Leclerc hinted that his Ferrari team was still fumbling in the dark, unable to figure out what was wrong. (Not good). Still, if some of these teams don’t start getting faster with their upgrades soon, Verstappen and Red Bull could have new trophies in their garage before your summer break is over.
Climate: Heavy rain in the Saturday sessions made it difficult for the drivers to see and hold the track and may have played a role in various penalties. The weather is expected to be a bit better on Sunday (cloudy, not rainy), but if there is a hint of rain then tire choice will be critical.
what are they saying
“The end of the day is not as good as it was before. That’s obviously too bad, and it’s a shame not to be watching from the front row. We have to face the consequences with that.” — hulkenbergwho brought his Haas up to second (briefly) before a penalty dropped him on the grid.
“Those are exactly the plans: Get two cars on the podium. I am extremely confident.” — St. Lawrence promenade, Aston Martin team owner (and proud Canadian), predicting a great weekend in Montreal. Alonso has positioned himself to live up to that boast; Stroll’s son, Lance, has not. He will come out of 16.
“The whole team has this new energy and it feels like we have a North Star. We know where we are going; we know how to get there.” — hamiltonwho was loving Mercedes updates before the weekend.
“Basically I want to reboot, start over.” — sergio perez for Red Bull, whose disappointing performances in their last two races have made their two early season victories a distant memory. His 12th place in qualifying on Saturday will not help change things.
“He has to stop thinking about the championship and just drive.” — Red Bull Team Principal, Christian Homerafter hearing Perez’s comments, and before his latest dismal qualifying effort.
last time out
Verstappen led from end to end at the Spanish Grand Prix two weeks ago, winning by 24 seconds.
Drivers’ Championship Ranking
With his fifth win in seven races – he was second in the other two – Verstappen extended his points lead to 53 over teammate Perez.