Championhip leader Lewis Hamilton achieved his 44th career pole position in Formula 1 – driving car number 44, recording his fourth P1 at the Circuit Gilles Villenuve.
Hamilton edged out his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg with a margin of three tenths, while Kimi Raikkonen had to settle with third position for Ferrari.
Rosberg described the conclusion to his qualifying session as “rubbish”, even though he was very competitive in Q1 and Q2.
The Silver Arrows duo were the only drivers to lap below one minute, 15 seconds around Montreal’s race track, and Hamilton’s one minute, 14.393 seconds lap on their first runs in Q3 stood as pole when neither he nor Rosberg improved on their second run.
With Vettel relegated to P16 due to a suspected MGU-H problem, Kimi Raikkonen was the sole Scuderia representative in the top ten shootout.
The 2007 world champion had a big moment exiting Turn 4 on his best lap but it was still reasonable to land third on the grid.
Fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas managed a big improvement on his final run to join The Iceman on row two for Williams and edge out the impressive Lotus pair of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg produced his best qualifying effort of the season to grab seventh, comfortably beating both Red Bulls and team-mate Sergio Perez, who rounded out the top ten.
Daniil Kvyat got the better of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo by less than a tenth to be best of the Red Bulls in eighth position.
Carlos Sainz Jr was highest placed of those to miss out in Q3 by just 0.036 seconds in a tight fight in Q2.
His Toro Rosso team-mate Max Verstappen was P12, but the 17-year-old will start last on account of a 15-place grid drop for a combination of driving standards and engine penalities.
Verstappen was just 0.017 seconds faster than Marcus Ericsson, who was P13 and well clear of Sauber team-mate Felipe Nasr.
Jenson Button’s engine problem in final practice forced him to skip qualifying, which meant only four cars were eliminated in Q1.
Vettel was not impressive to find out he was only P16. Swearing on the team radio. The Malaysian Grand Prix winner was over three tenths adrift of Alonso’s McLaren as he limped around significantly down on power.
Felipe Massa was the other shock loser in Q1, half a second further back.
The Williams driver complained of a lack of power from his Mercedes engine and he could do no better than P17.
The Manor Marussias were predictably the slowest of the cars that ran in qualifying.
Roberto Merhi was best of the two for the first time this season with a time just 0.024 seconds faster than team-mate Will Stevens.
Canadian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m14.393s
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m14.702s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m15.014s
4 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m15.102s
5 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Mercedes 1m15.194s
6 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes 1m15.329s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m15.614s
8 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull-Renault 1m16.079s
9 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m16.114s
10 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m16.338s
11 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso-Renault 1m16.042s
12 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m16.262s
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1m16.276s
14 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 1m16.620s
15 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m17.344s
16 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m17.886s
17 Roberto Merhi Marussia-Ferrari 1m19.133s
18 Will Stevens Marussia-Ferrari 1m19.157s
19 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Renault 1m16.245s*
20 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda No time
*15-place grid penalty