MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF CANADA (10.6.2016 – 12.6.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// QUALIFYING…

  • Bonjour!
  • Welcome (back) to North America.
  • Now…
  • …Why on earth would anyone want to make such a long trip?
  • …Well…
  • …Wide, open spaces.
  • …Massive portions of food.
  • …Some people might be into all the animals and elements that could kill a person.
  • …But, this weekend…
  • …It’s all about the Canadian Grand Prix!
  • …So, pick up that poutine, kids.
  • …We’re heading to Quebec!
  • Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada…
  • …Montréal, Québec.
  • …Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.
  • …4.261km (2.710mi) in length.
  • …14 turns.
  • …Giving the Île Notre-Dame street circuit a narwal-y shape.
  • …Run clockwise.
  • …On race day, there are 70 laps scheduled.
  • …Which will bring the total distance goal to305.270km (189.686mi).
  • …Should the driver survive the 200+mph challenge.
  • …And, the Wall of Champions.
  • In 2015, it was Mercedes’ Hamilton on top.
  • …Joined by (teammate) Rosberg and Williams’ Bottas on the podium.
  • Let’s see how this survival of the fittest shakes out this weekend.
  • Starting with…
  • …Qualifying.
  • …Three elimination sessions.
  • …All of which will form the starting grid for tomorrow’s race.
  • …Which, if you’re in the US, will shift over from NBCSN to NBC.
  • …As has been standard for quite a while, now.
  • …Because, it’s Montréal.
  • …The reason why so many of us (in border states) were directed to take French through school.
  • So, into Q1 we roll.
  • Renault’s Magnussen will not be taking part in Qualifying.
  • …As a Free Practice 3 crash left his car beyond quick-repair.
  • …So, he will either be starting from the back…
  • …Or, more likely, from pitlane.
  • With six minutes remaining…
  • …Rosberg, Ferrari’s Vettel, Red Bull’s Ricciardo, and Hamilton lead.
  • …With Toro Rosso’s Kvyat, Sauber’s Ericsson, Renault’s Palmer, Sauber’s Nasr, and Manor’s Haryanto in the drop zone.
  • Kvyat moves up to 12th.
  • Manor’s Wehrlein drops to 18th.
  • All eyes are on Haas’ Grosjean…
  • …Who hovers just above water, in 16th.
  • Haryanto is circling the track, attempting to return to the pits.
  • …With his rear-right tire wobbling quite violently.
  • …Following a crash, bounce, and spin.
  • …He didn’t make it.
  • …The rookie tried his best, but ended his session early.
  • …Parked up on the grass.
  • Q1, over…
  • …Mercedes’ Rosberg, Ferrari’s Vettel, Red Bull’s Ricciardo, Mercedes’ Hamilton, and Williams’ Bottas lead the session.
  • …With Ferrari’s Räikkönen, Red Bull’s Verstappen, Force India’s Hülkenberg, Toro Rosso’s Sainz, and McLaren’s Button rounding out the top ten.
  • …And, Force India’s Perez, Williams’ Massa, Toro Rosso’s Kvyat, McLaren’s Alonso, and the Haas duo of Gutierrez and Grosjean, holding on for another round.
  • …Out were Renault’s Palmer, Manor’s Wehrlein, Sauber’s Ericsson and Nasr, and, of course, Manor’s Haryanto.
  • …With Renault’s Magnussen not taking part.
  • Onto Q2 we go…
  • …16 cars head out.
  • …Welcomed by threatening skies.
  • …Will it, or won’t it?…
  • …That is the question.
  • Sainz has crashed…
  • …And, was just carried away by the wall…
  • …Just clipping the wall…
  • …Then, scooting his way out of Qualifying.
  • …If you’re wondering what the challenge of Canada is…
  • …That’s it.
  • …It’s super-fast…
  • …And, known for its car-wall brushes.
  • …Wall cameras are huge at this track.
  • …And, they move a lot.
  • …Basically, the challenge is getting as close to the walls as possible.
  • …At high speed (Bottas was clocked at 210mph in FP1).
  • …Without trashing your car.
  • …Sainz got it just a little wrong.
  • …And, sadly, that’s all it takes.
  • …But, he’s good, they’ll repair the car, and we’ll just see what he can do.
  • …It’s F1.
  • …Anything can happen.
  • The Sainz crash has prompted a Red Flag.
  • …So, all action ceases.
  • …As the circuit crew hoists the shattered remains of the Toro Rosso…
  • …/Sainz’s Qualifying hopes and dreams…
  • …Off the track.
  • Green Flag, go!
  • 11-ish minutes remain.
  • …Only five cars have set lap times (thus far).
  • With 7-ish minutes remaining…
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Räikkönen, and Massa lead.
  • …With Grosjean, Gutierrez, Hülkenberg, and Perez in the drop zone.
  • …(And, of course, Sainz, locked into 16th-place.)
  • …But, it continues to change.
  • …As all squads launch their push for Q3.
  • Gutierrez and Hülkenberg engage in a little close dancing around the hairpin.
  • …And, live to tell.
  • …Yay.
  • One minute remains (for Q2).
  • Checkered flag…
  • …Flying laps…
  • …Alonso flies around the final corner…
  • …Launching himself out of the drop zone…
  • …And, into ninth.
  • …The Incredible Hülkenberg makes one, last, desperate push…
  • …And, it pays off.
  • Q2…
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Bottas, Verstappen, Räikkönen, Vettel, Massa, Hülkenberg, and Alonso move onto Q3.
  • …Perez, Button, Kvyat, Gutierrez, Grosjean, and (of course) Sainz…
  • …In the voice of ‘Kill Bill, Vol. 1’s The Bride…
  • …Stay right where they are.
  • Q3…
  • …The final push for a prime spot within the front five rows of the grid.
  • ….The race for Pole Position.
  • …Here we go.
  • If you’re thinking the action looks a little more green than usual…
  • …Do not adjust your television set.
  • …No, it is not “The Outer Limits”.
  • …It’s a brand, spankin’ new partnership between F1 and Heineken.
  • …In case anyone missed the memo, and was wondering.
  • Radio from Vettel…
  • …”I think I brushed a little bit with the Wall of Champions…”
  • …He did.
  • …But, got away with it.
  • …As I was saying…
  • …It’s a balancing act, like building a house of cards.
  • …If any of those charms your bracelet kiss a crd just a little too card, Marcia Brady, it’s game over.
  • Massa brushes the wall.
  • …But, saves it and lives to tell.
  • …See how exciting Canada can be?
  • …And, just think, there hasn’t been any wildlife on track…
  • …Yet.
  • The final minute…
  • …Who will it be?
  • …And, will all ten finish?
  • Time is up…
  • …Hamilton gets his fourth Pole of the season.
  • …Rosberg wrangled his misbehaving Mercedes into second.
  • …With Vettel, Ricciardo, and 18-year-old Verstappen rounding out the top five.
  • …And, Räikkönen, Bottas, Massa, Hülkenberg, and Alonso completing the top 10.
  • So, as of now, your starting grid will look like this (with 2015 results in parentheses)…
  • …(Everything, and its mother, subject to change.)
  • …Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (1) / Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg (2)
  • …Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel (5) / Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo (13)
  • …Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (15) / Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen (4)
  • …Williams’ Valtteri Bottas (3) / Williams’ Felipe Massa (6)
  • …Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg (8) / McLaren’s Fernando Alonso (DNF)
  • …Force India’s Sergio Perez (11) / McLaren’s Jenson Button (DNF)
  • …Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat (9) / Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez (N/A)
  • …Haas’ Romain Grosjean (10) / Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Jr. (12)
  • …Renault’s Jolyon Palmer (N/A) / Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein (N/A)
  • …Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson (14) / Sauber’s Felipe Nasr (16)
  • …Manor’s Rio Haryanto (N/A) / Renault’s Kevin Magnussen (N/A)
  • Well…
  • …That’s that for Qualifying.
  • …All drivers appear to be qualified to operate a motor vehicle.
  • …All cars…
  • …Eh…
  • …We’ll see.
  • …How about tomorrow?
  • …Say, around…
  • …Noon?
  • …(CT)
  • …NBC?
  • …Cool?
  • …Cool
  • Watch the Wall.
  • (Have a nice day!)