“Super happy and proud” Hulkenberg claims P2 in Montreal

Spread the love

In the ever changing conditions in Montreal at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve the Haas F1 Team secured their first ever front row from a qualifying session as Nico Hulkenberg put his VF-23 into P2 with a time of 1.27.102, over a second off the pace of pole sitter Max Verstappen and nearly two tenths of a second quicker than the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso – his first front row start since the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix.

The German driver had been on a solid pace all afternoon in the damp conditions of the Q1 and Q2, comfortably getting out of Q1 and managing to outdo teammate Kevin Magnussen to get into Q3.

Most of the field had completed Q2 on soft slicks with the track rapidly drying out from the cars on track but Q3 saw a return of the rain which increased in intensity as the session went on. In the slippery condtions Oscar Piastri slid rear first into the wall bringing out a red flag just as Hulkenberg had completed a flying lap which put him into P2 with seven minutes to go.

But during the red flag the rain worsened further and any hope of drivers lower down the order bettering the German’s time once the session resumed evaporated, with Alonso’s car returning to the pit garage as there was still over three minutes left on the clock, the Spaniard knowing it was a futile effort trying to improve on his position and with that, Hulkeberg’s front row was secure.

Speaking in Parc Ferme, the 35-year-old driver had a grin on his face as he described his emotions after qualifying:

“It was a wild quali – it was crazy, changing conditions. Tricky, especially around here with the walls so close, the exits and the speeds high. Obviously wet, dry then back to wet so you have to readjust all the time. But it was fun – it was good. Obviously this comes a bit unexpected but obviously very happy and proud…the team did a solid job it was very smooth so super happy.”

The veteran driver explained how staying in touch with the team in a challenging session such as we saw in Canada is crucial but also just keeping the car on the track can give you a good result:

“In this weather its just a lot of communications you know a lot of radio calls going back and forth. Obviously you look at what the others do and you think for yourself but I think we prepared pretty well today, no major mistakes and I guess that’s also why we stand here now.”

The forecast for race day is looking to be dry and with Fernando Alonso starting just behind him, the Haas driver will have a fight on his hands the moment the lights go out, so what is his expectations for Sunday:

“We’ll have to see, obviously first row is nice its very sweet, lets see how long we can keep that and lets see what the conditions are tomorrow…all the signs are that its very different, a dry race so very different cup of tea. I just want to go out there, race as hard as we can, squeeze it and hopefully we’ll get a nice result.”

Though of course the Haas isn’t in P2 on pure pace and would be expected to slip back down the order during the race, with a lot of other drivers out of position some decent points could well be on the cards provided Hulkenberg doesn’t get entangled in any first lap incidents.

Photo Credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team