The likes of Fernando Alonso and Mick Schumacher excelled in thrilling qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix, but inevitably not everyone was able to take advantage of the greater opportunity for a shock result than the 2022 season of Formula 1 has produced so far.
We’ve covered George Russell’s failed slick bet and the underdog performance that inspired it, as well as what prompted Aston Martin to turn a highly promising practice into a dismal qualifying one.
But they were far from the only drivers to underperform and miss an opportunity to secure a strong grid position for Sunday’s race.
While seventh place could mark Esteban Ocon’s second-best qualifying of the season, he’s understandably ‘not happy’ to be five places behind Alpine team-mate Fernando Alonso with a lap in Q3 over a second. and a half slower than the best of the Spaniard.
“Since the start of the weekend, we have been on the back foot,” explained Ocon after qualifying.
“We have some kind of problem that we have to find since this weekend.
“We usually go pretty well with Fernando, but this time we were way off. [off]. The performance is there somewhere so it’s up to us to find where the problem is.
Ocon said he saw “huge differences” in minimum cornering speed and joked that if he was really up to four tenths slower than Alonso in a corner, he “should give up”.
A mystifying mid-season deficit for Alpine teammate Alonso is not a scenario Ocon needs repeating.
He also acknowledged there was a “big opportunity” this weekend for an Alpine team who have overhauled Alpha Romeo for fifth in the Constructors’ Championship and have a chance to make some serious inroads into fourth-place McLaren. if she can convert a double top seven. start in solid points on Sunday.
For the second weekend in a row, Valtteri Bottas has been overqualified by rookie teammate Zhou Guanyu and his absence from Q3 spans three races.
On Friday in Montreal, Bottas said Alfa Romeo identified the suspension issues that caused his problems in Baku, but then missed the race in FP2 due to a technical problem, then in qualifying Bottas seemed weirdly out of rhythm again.
Zhou kept his nose clean and did a stellar job of reaching Q3 for the first time, while Bottas fell 0.104 seconds off a spot in the top 10 on penalties.
“I was just a bit unlucky with the lap times, the car handled really well in wet conditions, just a bit unlucky,” Bottas said. “The track was getting a lot better with each lap, so doing another lap would have a pretty huge impact.”
Bottas was the second driver to take the checkered flag at the end of Q2 and lost a lot of time on his final flying lap by locking the inside front tire in Turn 1 and running a compromised line in Turn 2.
This error likely made the difference between Q2 and Q3 and means Bottas will enter his eighth Canadian GP from 11th on the grid.
Sergio Perez’s second qualifying crash in three races snuffed out Red Bull’s golden chance of having two against one on Sunday with Charles Leclerc at the back of the field with engine penalties.
It was a fairly simple mistake at turn 3 on the intermediate tire which had just become the correct one for the track.
“It’s very frustrating, a bad day for myself – I let my team down and I’m really sorry,” Perez said after qualifying.
“I should have waited and taken things a little more carefully at the time. But I was just trying to heat up the tires and unfortunately I went over the limit and then became a passenger.
“But now I have to focus on tomorrow and try to minimize the damage.”
Perez will start Sunday’s race from 13th on the grid and his main objective will surely be to keep Charles Leclerc behind him no matter how far he manages to leap.
He will also need to ensure that the momentum of his recent purple spot – which included signing a new two-year contract – is not derailed by a weekend in Montreal.
Lando Norris never looked comfortable in qualifying and by the end of Q2 it was clear why that was – a power unit issue which meant there was never any question of repeating his exploits qualifying in Sochi on wet ground.
“It’s a shame, but that’s life and we move on to tomorrow,” Norris said simply after qualifying.
A sensor problem on the power unit caused Norris’ Mercedes engine to misfire, leaving him 14th on the grid – five places behind McLaren team-mate Daniel Ricciardo – and with plenty of work to do on Sunday.
“From 14th place, just getting into the points is a good start,” added Norris.
“I want to be optimistic, I want to hope that we can do something good. There’s a lot to do for strategy or at least try, so we’ll find our best move of what we think will give us the best chance and go with it.
Pierre Gasly attributed his third Q1 outing of the season to his “off” brakes.
“I didn’t have a left front brake,” Gasly explained.
“I couldn’t slow the car down, I was messing with the rear brakes. So I was on the side in all the entries, just a complete disaster because this morning was great in these conditions with the second fastest lap.
“The start of the session was correct, we should have gone through easy stages and [I’m] just extremely disappointed to completely miss this qualification.
Gasly said it was even more frustrating to have come within a tenth of Alonso in the third training session given the Spaniard’s qualification.
His weekend in Baku delivered what looked like a breakthrough after a sloppy start to 2022 for a Gasly/AlphaTauri combo that was one of the most effective midfield operators of 2021.
But this latest qualifying ‘disaster’ suggests the team still has a lot of issues to deal with, and AlphaTauri’s plight is further compounded by Gasly’s teammate Yuki Tsunoda having to start from the back due to the poor reliability on his side of the garage. away this season.