From Fernando Alonso back in the front row, to Charles Leclerc starting at the back; and from Sergio Pérez with work to do, to Haas looking to capitalize on the best of themselves in each qualifying, we’ve selected some of the key things to watch out for when the lights go out at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve…
1. Fernando in the front row
Remarkably, it has been almost ten years since the last time Fernando Alonso qualified on the front row for a Formula 1 race, with the 2012 German Grand Prix, when he was on pole position, the previous occasion. His wait for a starting position like this came to an end with an impressive performance in qualifying in Canada, and he too has high hopes for the opening lap of the race.
Alonso says his goal is to lead on Lap 1, saying it would be “sweet” to overtake Max Verstappen early on. That could also be crucial for the overall race picture, as it would push Verstappen back into the clutches of Carlos Sainz, who is his biggest threat at the moment.
READ MORE: Verstappen braves wet conditions to claim Canadian GP pole ahead of sensational Alonso
While Alonso might have that dream start in mind, whatever he does will be critical. If Verstappen retains the lead, Sainz will need to clear his fellow Spaniard quickly to chase down the Red Bull driver, who was supreme in the wet but he is unlikely to hold the same advantage if the race turns out to be dry.
Easier said than done though, as the Alpine is fast in a straight line and Alonso is always a tenacious driver no matter the position, let alone when right on the sharp end.
Canadian GP Qualifying 2022: Fernando Alonso celebrates an impressive P2
2. Leclerc on a charge
The fallout from Charles Leclerc’s retirement in Baku continues, with the Ferrari driver losing the power unit that failed and needing to take on a number of new components. The team has decided that the best place to do it is Montreal, where overtaking is possible.
WATCH: ‘Hopefully we can get through the field’: Leclerc set to start from back row at Canadian Grand Prix
So Leclerc has taken on a whole new power unit, scoring a start at the back of the grid alongside Yuki Tsunoda, who has the same penalty.
It is the first time this season that we will see one of the two fastest teams (Ferrari or Red Bull) start a race from the bottom of the grid and work their way through the middle teams in cars that are easier to follow and race. with
Leclerc’s season has changed rapidly since he was comfortably leading the championship after Australia, and he now faces a race weekend in which he must try to limit the damage as he sits 34 points behind Max Verstappen in the standings. of pilots.
But he certainly has a fast enough car to progress, with a new power unit in the back of a Ferrari that has been on pole position in six of the nine races so far this season, and was obviously not in the race. ready for pole given the penalty this weekend. Time for the Monegasque to deliver a load across the field…
3. Perez with work to do
Things weren’t much better for Sergio Pérez in qualifying, although his early start was much more unexpected. In a wet second part of the session, the Mexican went straight into Turn 3 and slammed the nose of his Red Bull into the barrier.
Unable to turn back, Perez was eliminated in 13th, saving another grid position with a Lando Norris issue that meant the McLaren driver was unable to set a time at all.
READ MORE: Polesitter Verstappen expects tough battle with Ferrari at Canadian GP after taking pole as Perez admits ‘I was wrong’
The Red Bull is a very fast car and Pérez has been confident behind the wheel so far this season, but now he faces a similar scenario to Leclerc, albeit from a slightly better starting position.
However, Pérez will need to progress quickly from the start, or he could find himself in a fight with the Ferrari as the race unfolds.
4. Hamilton’s chances from his best grid spot of the year
It’s quite remarkable to think about, but such have been Mercedes’ struggles so far this season that Lewis Hamilton’s fourth place in qualifying is his best performance of the year. That’s right, the polesitting driver in series history hasn’t even been on the second row so far in 2022.
And Hamilton was duly delighted with such a result, having struggled with the handling of his car on Friday. It gives the Mercedes drivers a very good chance to pick up solid points too, with the likes of Perez and Leclerc facing their fights on the field and a potentially slower car in terms of race pace ahead of it in the form of Alpine from Alonzo.
WATCH: ‘I didn’t even know I was fighting for top positions’ in Montreal qualifying, says Hamilton
Hamilton has already scored a podium finish, but that feels a long time ago at the season-opening race in Bahrain, so he will be looking to put himself in position to chase another top-three finish. And that could mean another classic battle between Alonso and Hamilton when a trophy is at stake.
Behind them, George Russell is also worth keeping an eye on. The other Mercedes driver opted to go for slick tires in Q3 and failed to improve after going off track, leaving him eighth on the grid. If his streak of finishing every race in the top five this season is to continue, he’s going to have to make some moves.
HIGHLIGHTS: Watch action from a wet qualifying session in Montreal as Verstappen dominates in the rain
5. Haas chasing double points
The best results also keep coming, with Haas securing its best ever qualifying performance with both cars in the top six in Montreal. Kevin Magnussen led the way with fifth place, but Mick Schumacher is celebrating his top grid position by some distance, one that puts him within reach of his first points finish.
Haas has had some extremely strong spells this year, but hasn’t always been able to capitalize for one reason or another, dropping to eighth in the constructors’ championship after four races without a point.
Both drivers are well aware that there are faster cars behind them, but in such a competitive midfield starting position can be crucial and the aim surely has to be to put an end to that lack of scoring results, and ideally with both cars. . for the first time from Germany in 2019.
READ MORE: ‘I love these conditions,’ says Magnussen, after Haas locked out the third row in Montreal