'I will attack Max on the first corner' – Alonso has pole-sitter Verstappen in his sights after taking surprise P2

By Sports Desk June 18, 2022

Max Verstappen clinched pole position for Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix and Fernando Alonso secured an unlikely spot on the front row in Montreal.

Alonso, who set the pace in the final practice session, claimed second place in tricky, wet conditions in Saturday's qualifying session.

That hands the 40-year-old Spaniard his first front-row start in Formula One since he won from pole position at the German Grand Prix just under 10 years ago.

The two-time world champion, racing for Alpine, was the recipient of a huge ovation from the crowd as he celebrated his supreme qualifying performance, clocking up a time of 1:21.944 behind championship leader Verstappen's 1:21.299.

"It feels great. It was an unbelievable weekend for us so far, we’ve been competitive in free practice – which we normally are on Friday but on Saturday we seem to lose a little bit of pace – but in wet conditions today the car was mega, I was so comfortable driving this car and I think the fans gave me a push," a jubilant Alonso said.

When asked what his approach will be on Sunday, Alonso quipped: "Let's see, I think I will attack Max on the first corner."

Verstappen's pole ended the day on a high note for Red Bull, with team-mate and fellow title contender Sergio Perez set to start in 13th place after crashing out in Q2.

In difficult conditions, the reigning world champion – who will be further buoyed by title rival Charles Leclerc having to start at the back on Sunday due to Ferrari changing his entire power unit – was delighted with the composure shown by his team.

"Of course I still expect it not to be a straightforward race, today with tricky conditions, we stayed calm and we made the right calls in Q3 so of course, super happy with that to get pole position here and to be back in Montreal and great to see all the fans," he said.

"You really get that go-karting sensation back on this track with proper curves. We always enjoy driving here and I’m looking forward to tomorrow."

Carlos Sainz looked poised to push Verstappen, but a mistake on the final corner cost the Ferrari driver, who will start third on the grid. An incident involving the Spaniard and Esteban Ocon was investigated, but the stewards decided no further action was required.

Sainz said: "I was feeling quite okay with the car, especially in the full wet. In that lap I knew I had lost a bit too much, I tried to do a very quick last corner but it didn't pay off and it cost me half a second. I ended up with three for that mistake. I think it's going to be a good fight with Max up front and Fernando has been fast all weekend."

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton – who did not hide his frustration with his car after struggling in practice on Friday – was lifted by claiming fourth.

Mercedes team-mate George Russell had to settle for eighth, however, after a decision to go on slicks in Q3 failed to pay off.

Related items

  • Alfa Romeo appoint Alunni Bravi as Vasseur successor Alfa Romeo appoint Alunni Bravi as Vasseur successor

    Alfa Romeo have appointed Alessandro Alunni Bravi as team representative following Frederic Vasseur's exit to Ferrari.

    Part of the Sauber Group since 2017, Alunni Bravi's new role effectively fills that of a team principal and he will "represent the team in all official functions at race weekends and away from the track".

    The appointment marks one of the first major tasks completed by Andreas Seidl, who joined as the new CEO of the Sauber Group last month from McLaren.

    "I am delighted to confirm the appointment of Alessandro Alunni Bravi to the role of team representative, in addition to his existing duties of managing director of the Group," Seidl said.

    "His vast experience in motorsport has equipped him with all the tools he needs to succeed, and his intimate knowledge of the team, of which he has been part for more than five years, will ensure stability and continuity in our progression.

    "Alessandro representing the team during the Formula One championship will allow me to focus on growing the Group and preparing for the challenges and opportunities that await us.

    "I thank Alessandro for his belief in our vision and I welcome him to this additional position: I am convinced this is another valuable addition to what is without any doubt a very strong team, from the drivers to the management team, to each one of our employees, capable of building on last year's success and creating a bright future for Sauber."

    The team is entering a transitional period this year, with the Alfa Romeo naming deal expiring at the end of the 2023 season and will be replaced by Audi, who officially enters F1 in 2026.

    Testing ahead of the new season begins in Spain next month, with the first race taking place in Bahrain on March 20.

  • Ben Sulayem: F1 belongs to the FIA and has only been rented out Ben Sulayem: F1 belongs to the FIA and has only been rented out

    FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem made it clear that Formula One's governing body has a say on who controls the series' commercial rights.

    The civil war between the FIA and F1 took another twist this week after Ben Sulayem expressed concern about reports that Saudi Arabia is interested in buying the sport for a mammoth $20billion (£16.15bn) fee.

    F1 responded fiercely, insisting that owners Liberty Media has the "exclusive right" to "exploit the commercial rights".

    Ben Sulayem is not backing down, however, with his belief that the FIA still has a decisive say on the matter.

    "The championship is ours. We have only rented it out," he said at the Monte Carlo rally, per Auto Motor und Sport.

    "So far there are only rumours about a possible sale. But the FIA should have a say and be able to offer advice."

    Two decades ago, a 100-year lease deal was agreed between the FIA and former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone for a reported fee of $300m (£242m) – a figure significantly lower than the motorsport's current value.

    Despite that, it is reported that a 'Don King clause' hands the FIA veto power over any sale.

    Ben Sulayem has regularly been at loggerheads with F1 since taking charge of the FIA in December 2021, recently publicly backing Andretti's proposed entry alongside General Motors and adopting a tough stance against drivers wearing jewellery during the 2022 season.

  • Bagnaia to take number one for MotoGP title defence Bagnaia to take number one for MotoGP title defence

    Francesco Bagnaia confirmed he will be the first MotoGP champion in a decade to take the number one for the forthcoming season.

    The 26-year-old will defend his crown in the 2023 season and becomes the first rider since Casey Stoner in 2012 to adorn the number on the front of his bike.

    Rules allow for a defending champion to use the number, but it has largely been overlooked, with only four riders in MotoGP history taking up the honour.

    Joan Mir and Fabio Quartararo both elected not to take the number after their successes in the past two years, but the Ducati Lenovo Team star announced his plans to buck the trend.

    "I decided to have both there and the 63 is still on my helmet. But it's been a long time since we last saw the number one in MotoGP," he said at the Campioni in Pista event.

    "I've always admired people racing with the number one. I've always loved it. Respecting the fact that you are world champion is right.

    "Number one represents who you are, it represents your identity as world champion. So, it's important for me to pay tribute to other world champions.

    "Sixty-three will always be my number, I'll always have this number on my bike, but hopefully together with the number one."

    The new MotoGP season begins on March 26 in Portugal, with pre-season testing to begin in Singapore next month.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.