After a sensational lap in Montreal, Sebastian Vettel finally managed to break the Mercedes dominance in quali. But how did Q3 unfold? Where did Seb managed to find the time to beat the rest of the field? Let’s take a look at the numbers.
Qualifying session 3 (Q3) best times per sector
This analysis only takes into consideration the best sector time for each driver as long as it was done in Q3.
As we can see, Hamilton showed how strong the Mercedes car is in sectors with medium speed corners. Lewis was the fastest in both sector 1 and 2, with times of 19.323 and 22.369 seconds respectively. He was, however, almost two and a half tenths slower than Seb in the final sector, and that is where the Britishman lost the pole position.
Sebastian Vettel did a fantastic job in sector 3. He dominated and was faster than everyone else. He, however, was also great in sector 1 and sector 2. In the fist sector, he managed to stay only 3 hundredths of a second away from Lewis, while he did something similar in sector 2, managing to be only 48 thousands of a second slower than Hamilton. It may look like Sebastian only managed to take pole due to sector 3, but in reality, his entire lap was worthy of P1.
Charles Leclerc had a disappointing Q3 session. He never managed to be faster than Lewis, and was slower than the Mercedes driver even on sector 3. Unfortunately for him, it seems like his race for pole was lost not only in sector 3 however, but also in sector 1. Unlike Vettel, who managed to stay in touch with Lewis in sector 1, the Monegasque was 16 hundredths of a second slower than Lewis in sector 1.
Pierre Gasly managed to qualify 5th. While normally that may have been a disappointing position for a member of Red Bull, this was in fact one of the best qualifying weekends for the Frenchman. Regarding sector times, the RB15 was just not good enough in one lap pace against the Scuderia or the Silver Arrows. His best sector compared to the leader was sector 2, and even there, he was 2 tenths slower than the leading time.
Valtteri Bottas had a Q3 session to forget. He only managed to do one run during the session after almost crashing the car against the wall in a previous attempt. Valtteri was slower in sector 2 and 3 than his teammate, both Ferrari drivers, and even than Pierre Gasly. In sector 3, he was only faster than Pierre, but was still almost half a second away from Seb, and over 2 tenths away from Hamilton.
Qualifying session: Ideal lap?
Not every driver managed to do his best 3 sectors in a single lap. In fact, not all of the best sector times were done in Q3. What if we put together the 3 best sector times from the entire session for each driver, and create an “ideal” lap? Would that have changed something?
No and yes. Vettel would have still taken pole, albeit by a reduced margin of 0.141 seconds over Lewis Hamilton.
Charles Leclerc would have taken the 3rd place again, but would have been only a little bit over a tenth and a half away from Hamilton.
Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly would have switched places, with the Finnish driver taking a best position by a margin of 35 thousands of a second.
We got an exciting qualifying session after all. The Scuderia looked strong during the free practice sessions, and Vettel delivered when it mattered the most.
Mercedes will be disapointed with losing pole in Canada, but the difference in sector 3 was just too massive to overcome in quali pace. They will, however, be feeling confident about their chances in the race. Bottas showed very strong race pace, and in a track like Canada, they will be looking to get the win.
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