Next up after the F-1 practice session was first race of the Canadian Touring Car Championship. This is a multi-class race series based on regular road-going cars. All of the classes run together during the same race, and results are counted according to finishing positions within their class.
This was our first look at real racing today, and therefore a lot more interesting to watch. There were excellent battles between the lead cars in the high-end "super" class, as well as in the "B-spec" class. B-spec class was a bit humorous to watch, being composed of little mini cars like the Honda Fit and Mazda 2. Nevertheless, they were being raced hard and well.
After the CTCC race, it was time for lunch. The day had grown quite hot and sunny, and there was no shade whatsoever high up in the stands. We decided to retreat to a patch of forest nearby - a decision also made by virtually everybody else in the stands, it seemed. We managed to stake out a little corner of grass from the crowd that soon filled just about every nook and cranny of shade.
After lunch, we made sure we were back at our seats before 1pm, for it was time for the Formula One qualifying session. This was one of the highlights of the weekend - a point made clear by the fact that both our stand and adjacent stand 11 were now packed to the gills.
It was clear that the cars were now being driven more purposefully and agressively. It was no longer time for experimentation and learning; it was now time for results.
For anyone who was familiar with the 2014 season thus far, things went fairly predictably: the mid-grade teams started posting qualifying times, falling into an expected sequence, with sub-top-tier teams Ferrari, Williams, and Red Bull putting in decent times. Of the dominant Mercedes team, driver Nico Rosberg put out a lap time good enough for the pole, putting pressure on his teammate Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton delivered, however, posting a time that beat Rosberg - a time that kept him in first as the end of the qualifying sessions approached. Rosberg, having the low-stress cushion of an already banked good lap time, calmly executed a last-moment lap that bested Hamilton, wresting pole position from him.
So, after qualifying, the first seven on the starting grid for the next day's F-1 race were:
- Rosberg/Mercedes 1st
- Hamilton/Mercedes 2nd
- Vettel/Red Bull 3rd
- Bottas/Williams 4th
- Massa/Williams 5th
- Ricciardo/Red Bull 6th
- Alonso/Ferrari 7th
Fairly predictable and inline with what had been seen so far during the 2014 season. Hopefully it didn't portend a boring race.