Lewis Hamilton takes Montreal pole with record-breaking lap
Canadian Grand Prix - Qualifying

Lewis Hamilton takes Montreal pole with record-breaking lap

10/06/2017

Lewis Hamilton turned in a scintillating qualifying performance at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to beat Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to pole in Canada by 0.330s.

The pole position was Hamilton's 65th, moving him level with boyhood idol Ayrton Senna's career tally, and it was claimed it remarkable style. Hamilton and Vettel had exchanged near-identical times on the first runs, split by 0.004s, which seemed to set up a grandstand finish to Q3. However, Hamilton managed to find over 0.3s with his final run and Vettel just 0.006s, giving the Mercedes driver his sixth pole position in Montreal.

Valtteri Bottas qualified third, but was a massive 0.7s behind Hamilton's benchmark. Fellow Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen could not replicate his pole-winning performance from Monaco and settled for fourth on the grid.

Ferrari had gone into qualifying after going one-two in the final practice session, but Mercedes fought back to lead the first two qualifying sessions. It showed Mercedes has learned some of the lessons from its struggles at the Monaco Grand Prix, which had seen the team struggle to find the optimum working range from Pirelli's ultra-soft tyre.

Red Bull had moved to within 0.3s of the leaders in Q2 but dropped back when the engine modes were turned up for the top ten shootout. Max Verstappen continued his strong weekend by edging teammate Daniel Ricciardo by 0.154s. Felipe Massa was the lone Williams in Q3 and managed to beat Force India's Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon to seventh. Nico Hulkenberg's Renault rounded out the top ten.

Hamilton's performance was rewarded with a race-worn Senna helmet immediately after the session. He is now just three shy of the all-time record for F1 pole positions set by Michael Schumacher.

There were no big surprises in Q2, with drivers failing to improve on their final runs at the end of the session. Hulkenberg did well to emerge in 10th ahead of Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat, but the Russian driver's flying lap ended with a thump at Turn 8 and he limped home with a heavily damaged right rear tyre. He continued driving his damaged car down the back straight, which may have compromised the lap of Fernando Alonso behind, though the Spaniard also complained about a lack of power compared to Q1.

Alonso settled for 12th ahead of fellow countryman Carlos Sainz, who spun early in the session. Romain Grosjean qualified 14th ahead of Jolyon Palmer.

Q1 came to a premature end when Pascal Wehrlein spun at the start of his final attempt in the closing seconds of the session. After dipping a wheel onto the grass at the braking zone, he spun out at Turn 1 and into the barrier, losing a rear wing in the process. The session had seen the usual suspects battling it out for a place in the next session, with eyes on under-pressure trio Jolyon Palmer, Stoffel Vandoorne and local boy Lance Stroll. A 1:13.990 from Palmer saw him emerge just behind Renault teammate Hulkenberg, but the other two failed to make it through the session.

Vandoorne had been pushing hard -- brushing the wall at Turn 7 during one flying lap -- but missed out by just 0.1s behind Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz. Stroll finished just behind, albeit 0.8s off the mark set by Williams teammate Felipe Massa in fifth.

Behind that, Kevin Magnussen's problematic weekend continued in a Haas contender which continues to look unstable. However, his chance of escaping the drop zone ended with Wehrlein's late brush with the wall. Wehrlein finished the session in 20th, behind Sauber teammate Marcus Ericsson.

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