Kimi Räikkönen will start from ninth on the grid and Romain Grosjean a distant 29th – or thereabouts – after a hectic qualifying session for the Canadian Grand Prix. Following a shortened morning practice session, qualifying was wet throughout with a brief red flag period nearing the end of Q2.
Romain was a victim of unfortunate timing as a yellow flag affected one fast lap in Q1, and an increasingly wet track prevented another. He qualified 19th, meaning he will start from the back of the 22-car grid once his ten-place grid penalty is factored in.
We didn’t have grip in these conditions so we did pretty much all we could do, but if there’s no grip you can’t go faster. In this weather it’s difficult as sometimes the rain gets harder, sometimes the track is drying so you have to try to be out there when the circuit’s at its best. P9 on the grid is not what we want so we’ll have to see what we can do in the race tomorrow.
Clearly not the best day, and of course with the grid penalty I now start in what [would] be P29 for the race, which is a long way back! After we changed to new intermediates mid-way through the session I had one lap to set a time when the track was at its driest, but there were yellow flags after someone went straight on so I had to slow down and respect the warning. Then the track was too wet to go faster. We got caught out a little bit by the weather but it’s nobody’s fault; just yet more bad luck. In these conditions it’s impossible to predict when the rain will be at its heaviest and we didn’t see anything from the radar to suggest it would get worse. It’s going to be a long race from the back, but we know the car is quick so our weekend is far from over yet.
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
How was qualifying for the team?
It was a disappointing day for us. Romain couldn’t get a good lap in the first session meaning he will start from the back of the grid. Kimi struggled too and will start from ninth, which is not where we want to be. The E21 clearly wasn’t working well in the wet conditions experienced today. We opted for a more dry weather focused set-up which, although it hindered us today, should benefit us tomorrow if the weather does stay dry. We certainly weren’t expecting the level of water that we did see on the track during qualifying.
How difficult was it on the pitwall through qualifying?
It wasn’t that difficult as it was consistently wet rather than being wet and dry giving us a decision to make on which tyres to run. We went for the first lap of Q1 with both cars using the super soft dry tyre and it was immediately clear that it was too wet for slicks. After that, timing and finding space on track became the key considerations. Predicting when there might be yellow flags, unfortunately, is a very difficult science.
What are the predictions for tomorrow’s weather and strategy?
Certainly we expect it to be warmer than today and that should help us. There’s still a chance of rain, but the track and air temperatures should be of benefit. If it is dry then we – like all of the teams – will be learning the slick tyre performance as we go along as there has been only limited running on them so far this weekend. That said, I think it could be a race of 1-2 pit stops rather than a 3-4 stop strategy.
Subbed by AJN.