Paddock Cat talks Euro 2012 and milestones as the weather clears in Montreal

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It wasn’t so much the calm before the storm in the Montreal paddock this morning, more the calm after the storm. The torrential downpour that lashed the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve after FP2 on Friday gave way to clear blue skies, but much of the paddock was still licking its wounds. The fierce wind and rain had disturbed everything from team signage to pot plants, so an extra effort was made to put everything back in its proper place, just as Bernie would like it.

One man who arrived at the circuit looking particularly confident this morning was Fernando Alonso. The Ferrari star fancied his chances of bagging pole position after the performance upgrades he tried out on his F2012 yesterday immediately improved its pace. In the end, he had to settle for third on the grid, but he should still have a good chance of victory tomorrow – provided of course he doesn’t fall out with his mechanics in the meantime. The potential problem? A European championship football match taking place nearly 4000 miles away in Poland between Alonso’s home nation, Spain, and the country from which most of his mechanics hail, Italy.

“Of course I want Spain to win,” quipped the two-time world champion this evening. “But if I tell the mechanics that, I’m worried I’ll come into the pits tomorrow and there’ll be no one to change my tyres!” Best keep the pre-race chat strictly to F1 matters, Fernando…

One man hoping to follow the example set by his national football side is Sebastian Vettel. The Germans won their opening Euro 2012 game on Saturday night just hours after Vettel stormed to a dominant pole position. In doing so he equalled the 32 career poles achieved by British racing legend Nigel Mansell, leading Seb to tackle one post-qualifying interview with the British media in a rather amusing Mansell-esque Brummie accent.

It seems milestones are a bit of a theme this weekend. Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen will surpass Mika Hakkinen as the Finnish driver with the most grand prix starts on Sunday. Also moving up the career starts list is MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS racer Nico Rosberg. He’ll take the grid for his 115th grand prix tomorrow, one time more than his dad, Keke, managed.

“There’s no getting away from the fact that I know the most about F1 in the Rosberg family now,” says Nico. (Don’t worry Keke, you’re still ahead on race wins.)