ESPN rounds up all the reaction from up and down the Montreal paddock following qualifying for the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton (4th): "It was a difficult qualifying. My laps weren't good and it just didn't quite come together for me. In practice things looked good and I think I could have been quickest in FP3, but in qualifying I couldn't quite hit the potential we had shown. I don't think today's performance has got anything to do with the older engine. Sebastian simply did a better job when it counted in Q3. You can see just how tight things are at the front of the grid, so I think it could be tricky to overtake tomorrow. Sure, it'll be tough to win from fourth here, but nothing is impossible. I'll dig deep tonight. My focus now is on tomorrow."
Valtteri Bottas (2nd): "That was a pretty good qualifying session. I was able to find a lot of performance from FP3 to qualifying and it felt like I got everything out of the car. It's a good result, although it's not perfect to start behind the Ferrari, but we knew that they would bring some improvements for this weekend. Red Bull will also be a threat, but it's cool to see three teams fighting for the win. We're happy that we qualified on the UltraSoft tyre in Q2, I think it's the right choice for our car. It will be interesting to see how it does in the start of the race, especially because Red Bull will start on the HyperSoft. Overall it seems like the margins are very small between the top 3 teams, so the strategy could really be the key. It should be an interesting race tomorrow."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside engineering director: "We'd expected qualifying to be a close fought battle today but thought we had a chance at pole given the pace of the car this weekend. We didn't really have any issues, it just looks very close with Ferrari in particular and this afternoon we just weren't quite quick enough. Valtteri had a solid qualifying session, his first run in Q3 was strong and that left him less than a tenth off pole. His second run wasn't quite as tidy, losing a little in turn two that he couldn't make back around the remainder of the track but he did a good job with what we have and he should be happy with his lap. Lewis had a more difficult session, not quite finding the car as predictable as it had been in free practice and that meant it was tricky to get the lap together. Only six hundredths would have put Lewis into third on the grid and it's always frustrating when you miss a place by such a small margin. So, overall a somewhat underwhelming day but we are expecting to race well tomorrow and we will be working hard tonight to look at the various opportunities in strategy that will give us the chance to win. It's going to be interesting at the front with the Red Bulls on the HyperSoft compound, which looks to be quite fragile, and Mercedes and Ferrari on the UltraSofts. It's also a race that rarely runs start to finish without a few incidents or safety cars, so there is plenty of opportunity likely to come our way if we can stay at the front and put some pressure on the cars around us."
Sebastian Vettel (1st): "Pole position is always important and for Scuderia Ferrari this track and this country means a lot, as this is the place where Gilles Villeneuve came from. That's why I am very happy to have qualified on pole. It's a great result for all the team, but I think I could have been even faster. I was quite happy with my first run in Q3 but I knew there was something more in the car for the first part of the lap. So I tried it all but I wasn't sure until the end if it was enough. We have definitely improved since yesterday, I was very happy with the car today. Choosing the ultrasofts for the start of the race was a pretty straightforward decision for us, now we have to do our best on Sunday!"
Kimi Raikkonen (5th): "On my last try in Q3, I suddenly had a lot of understeer entering Turn 2, I struggled to turn the car round. At that point I had no choice but to try and get out of it as quickly as possible, but obviously I was off the line and my lap finished there. What happened was a bit odd, my car had been working well all day. I'm sure there was more to come today, and the end result is not what we were looking for. Tomorrow is a different day though, we'll see what happens. For sure it will be tricky, with different tyres on different cars in the front. It's difficult to have a clear picture of how it will pan out, but we believe we made the right choice for the start of the race."
Max Verstappen (3rd): "I think we did a really good job today, the car has been performing very well and we made the most of it. In Q3 we were just lacking a little top speed but we were close and I'm happy. We have no issues, the pace was decent and we are not too far behind. The whole weekend I felt very good on the hypersofts which makes me more comfortable to attack the corners and this is always a good combination. The little engine upgrade probably pushed us a bit closer which is always nice to have. This track feels a little like a go-kart track and hitting all the kerbs is good fun. We have been fast all weekend and in the race we are usually faster than in qualifying. We are starting on a different tyre which will make things interesting in the race but we will see, because many things can happen and if the safety car comes out that can change everything. We can definitely overtake on this track so that will give us many possibilities."
Daniel Ricciardo (6th): "I think my weekend has lacked a little bit of rhythm and we've been one step behind due to some of the issues on Friday. In qualifying, we actually made really good progress and I feel like we should be better than sixth with the way we performed. It's all very close; disappointing to be at the tail end of that top pack but actually I don't think we could have done more. Even though Max was quickest in each practice session, I think we still knew getting pole here would be tricky and for that reason we thought it would be better to start tomorrow on the hypersoft. We knew we would probably have a couple of cars to pass and it gives us a chance off the start and on the first lap with a bit more grip, afterwards we will have to manage them. This strategy sets us up to be aggressive and attack. The first few laps will dictate a lot of the race but I think we still have a chance of a podium and it should hopefully make some good TV as well."
Esteban Ocon (8th): "I'm happy to finish in eighth today. I had a fantastic feeling with the car and we've been getting better with each session. The work last night and in final practice really paid off and we took big steps forward in the build-up to qualifying. So I have to say a big 'thank you' to the team because we are really making good progress with this car. I think there is all to play for tomorrow: we are often stronger with race pace so the job tomorrow is to try and get ahead of Hulkenberg and bring home some big points."
Sergio Perez (10th): "I'm a bit disappointed to have finished behind the Renaults, but I am still confident we can fight with them tomorrow. Our set-up was completely geared towards the race and I felt it was very difficult to deliver a clean flying lap. Tomorrow, however, we should have an advantage and the opportunity to score good points. The first stint will be very important: degradation is quite high around here and we need to make sure we manage the hypersoft and don't have to pit too early. The cars starting outside the top ten will be on a better tyre compound and we'll need to fight them off if we want our strategy to work. This is what we've been working for and hopefully tomorrow it will work in our favour."
Otmar Szafnauer, Chief operating officer: "A solid qualifying effort by the team, which leaves us well placed to score important points tomorrow. The car has been quick here throughout practice so it's rewarding to deliver on our potential with both cars through to Q3 for the third time this season. Esteban's laps were clean and tidy and he came within a tenth of beating Hulkenberg into seventh place. Checo struggled a bit more in Q3 with the set-up, but we're confident the race pace will be strong."
Sergey Sirotkin (18th): "It's been a very difficult session. We were struggling to understand how to make the tyre work best in the hot conditions that we faced yesterday in FP2, and today in qualifying. This is crucial as you can play around with the car balance a lot but we missed the peak of the tyre completely. I really tried to be positive going into the session as we have been working on improvements and felt we had a better understanding of the car. However, I am quite disappointed we couldn't fight."
Lance Stroll (17th): "I thought there was a bit more in it. I locked up in the last chicane on my best lap and that lost something like two and a half tenths. However, it would not have been enough to get into Q2, and not enough to get another position as we were six tenths off Gasly in P16. Unfortunately, we are not as competitive as we should be, but I am still happy with my first run and my performance. In the race it is a whole other story and I hope the race pace will be better, as last time I started 17th here I finished 9th, so anything is possible. This weekend will be very special as it is my home race, I love the energy and I have a lot of butterflies in a good way."
Nico Hulkenberg (7th): "I'm satisfied with that today. I felt a little on the back foot heading into qualifying due to the lack of running yesterday, but I've been confident in the car all weekend. I think we did the best we could in terms of position. There was probably more in me and a couple more tenths out there to extract in Q3. We have the top speed and a generally good package with the high fuel runs yesterday, so we'll be there to fight and pick up positions tomorrow."
Carlos Sainz (9th): "Qualifying was good for us. We were able to go through Q1 on one set of tyres and that gave us two sets for each of the other sessions. Both drivers felt they could have got more out of the car. Nico felt there was another couple of tenths out there and he didn't quite get the perfect lap, but still, seventh is very good. Carlos was just pipped in the end for eighth. It's going to be a challenging race tomorrow but both cars are well-placed to score points. We know this circuit well and the weather looks like it should be similar to that we've seen today. We're hoping for a clean and straightforward race."
Brendon Hartley: "It was a good first day and experience for me in Montreal. It's a very difficult circuit, especially in the first session as the track was very dirty. I enjoyed driving my first laps here, although there were a few challenges. I went straight through the chicanes a couple of times, but we kept it out of the wall which was good! In FP1 we had a couple of small issues on my car which were nothing major, and everything was resolved for FP2. We also ran a few experiments on the aerodynamic side, which was a positive step in the second session as we got the car in a good window. There was some fine tuning to help the traction as that's quite significant around here. All of the corner exits are very important and there's a few long, combined exit phases. I think there's still some more time to find but we're definitely in the mix of the midfield battle."
Pierre Gasly: "It was great to discover a new track in Montreal and it was a positive beginning to the weekend. It's a really good, exciting, and challenging circuit... I really enjoyed my first laps around here! We finished 10th in FP1 which was a good beginning, and the car felt pretty good from the first few laps of the session. With the hotter conditions in the afternoon the car still behaved well. However, we had a couple of issues on my short run, so we didn't get to show the true pace the car has. I think we're in the fight for the top 10 as Brendon's times show. We need to work a bit tonight, but I'm feeling good with the car, so we just need to find the little tunings to make it a close fight tomorrow!"
Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer: "Overall I'd say it was a fairly productive Friday for us in Canada. Neither of our drivers knew the track, so coming here - similar to Monaco - the plan was to give the drivers lots of laps with a car that is as consistent as possible. We've obviously fitted our next new power unit here, being an updated power unit we needed to carry out the normal mapping work, and everything is working completely as expected. There's been no issues and the driveability is very good. In the first session we ran some mechanical and aerodynamic tests, trying to find the best compromise with the setup on this track. Everything behaved as expected in the first session, we made some further changes for FP2, in particular with Pierre's car. It was a fairly standard plan in FP2, Brendon had a very good session and his finishing position reflects that. I think the setup changes we made went a bit too far for Pierre. He wasn't 100% comfortable with the car so he wasn't quite able to get a lap together, which is why he finished lower on the timesheets. We know if we string it all together and get the setup optimised we can improve that. The Hypersoft was struggling a bit with graining and degradation, so I think many teams were suffering with that. On our car the Hypersoft looked fairly under control. There's a lot for us to go through tonight to decide the best setup tomorrow, and to decide the right strategy direction for Sunday."
Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 Technical Director: "We are running updated PUs on both cars, with the changes mainly linked to the ICE and so far, everything is working as it should, which is encouraging for the rest of the weekend. Apart from that, we worked on our usual Friday programme of finding the best settings for the PU at this circuit. The two sessions were trouble free and so we were able to run through all our planned programme."
Romain Grosjean (20th): "Something went wrong. Maybe the beaver from yesterday was still in there somewhere. Seriously though, we laugh about it as it's been a terrible series of luck since the first race of the season. We've had some really tough luck. Anyway, the feeling in the car was really good since FP1. I was very happy with the upgrade. Kevin was improving and getting better in qualifying, which is great for the team. Starting last is never ideal, but it's one of those racetracks where you can overtake, so luckily it's not Monaco. I think everyone starting on hypersofts is going to suffer from the degradation, especially if it's warm. We're going to try something different. There are a lot of cars to get around. A good safety car, some luck at a good time, and we could be up there."
Kevin Magnussen (11th): "We brought an upgrade here and we hoped that would improve the car, and it looks like it has. This kind of track - we knew it was going to be difficult here. We put this upgrade on and, of course, it's difficult to see as we're not as quick as we were in Barcelona, where we were dominating that midfield. I think without the upgrade we'd have been a lot worse here. Low speed tracks are our weak point, but I'm happy that, so far, we've been able to limit the damage. I think we can attack tomorrow. Our race pace, if anything, is better than our qualifying pace, and we're starting with a free choice of tire in P11 - that's probably a better position to be in than P10 and P9. We're going to fight."
Guenther Steiner: "I think we cannot get rid of being unlucky, as much as we don't believe in it. With Romain, we were finding a good speed in the car, then we had an issue with the power unit, so that was his day done. I think Kevin stepped up pretty good from FP3. He got a little more confident with the car and put it P11. All in all, that's not a bad starting spot for tomorrow."
Stoffel Vandoorne (15th): "Today's result is a bit disappointing. From this morning, we've found ourselves in this very tight group, and it seems like we didn't make a step forward into qualifying. It's a shame, as yesterday we had good pace going into FP1 and FP2, especially considering we didn't run the Hypersoft in FP2. This morning we looked to be getting close to being able to get into Q3. In qualifying, there was nothing particularly wrong - the balance was good and I think we more or less got the maximum out of our car if you look at the lap-times - but we're just lacking pace. It's a shame we weren't able to progress further. The race is a different story. There's a lot to prepare for tomorrow - the race is always interesting here in terms of tyre degradation, especially for the guys that are going to have to start on the Option tyre - so we'll have to wait and see. Our race pace is usually better, and at least we have the freedom of tyre choice, so hopefully that will give us an opportunity tomorrow. This is also a circuit where we can overtake, so we'll see what we can do."
Fernando Alonso (14th): "We knew this could be a difficult circuit for us, but yesterday we felt competitive, the car was feeling good and we were fast. Today the car was still feeling okay, but we lost that level of competitiveness. In FP3 we felt a little bit worse and less competitive and unfortunately, we confirmed in qualifying that we were not on the pace today. It's a disappointing day but the race is tomorrow, and hopefully we can recover some places with a solid start and the right strategy. This is a circuit that provides good opportunities for overtaking, and I still think points are a possible target for us."
Eric Boullier, McLaren racing director: "Today's performance is not one we can be satisfied with. Following Friday's performance and the promise we showed in this morning's final free practice session, there was optimism that at least one of our cars would get through into Q3, so it's disappointing to have qualified where we have. However, before this weekend we knew this track would be tough for our package, and therefore we cannot be too surprised with our final qualifying positions. We know our race pace has often been stronger than our qualifying performances have led us to believe, and, knowing the work we've put in so far this weekend for our Sunday set-up, we can be fairly confident of a better showing on Sunday afternoon. We believe that the benefit of a free tyre choice does offer some advantage here for the race, and it means we'll be able to work hard to optimise our strategy for the package our two drivers have underneath them. It certainly won't be an easy race, but we've often seen drama here in Montreal, so we'll be looking to maximise every opportunity that comes our way tomorrow afternoon to fight the other midfield teams for points."
Charles Leclerc (13th): "It was a good day overall. We made some good steps from FP3 to qualifying, and I am pleased to have finished in Q2 again. The track was new to me when I arrived in Montreal this weekend. After the last two days, I definitely feel comfortable driving here, and the car also feels good. Starting in P13 tomorrow is a positive, and I look forward to seeing what we will be able to do during the race to get a good result."
Marcus Ericsson (19th): "After a promising Friday, today was more difficult for me. In FP3 I was not as comfortable with the balance of the car. We did some work in preparation for the qualifying session. Initially I felt better - unfortunately, I was pushing a bit too much and touched the wall, damaging the front right. I couldn't rejoin the session and it was disappointing for me as the potential was there. At the moment, I am struggling a bit to put everything together in qualifying. Regarding the race, as we showed in the last weekends, we have the pace so we need to remain focused and fight back."
Mario Isola, head of car racing: "Qualifying went as we expected, with an important strategic element as Mercedes and Ferrari chose the ultrasoft to set their fastest times in Q2 and therefore start the race. This has the advantage of a longer life than the hypersoft, but it is theoretically slower off the line, so the start tomorrow will be very interesting. With a wide mix of possible tactics and a historically high chance of a safety car, it's particularly hard to make any predictions. This isn't a race where qualifying has the biggest influence on final results, so the most important thing during the grand prix will be to react efficiently to circumstances and opportunities as they happen."