Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel claimed his 54th career pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix, while his Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton was only fourth.
Vettel set the pace throughout the Q3 top ten shootout, posting a time of one minute, 10.776 seconds on his first run to take top spot.
He then shaved 0.012 seconds off that time on his second run using the hypersoft Pirellis to make sure of pole. By securing the prime position on the grid, this was Ferrari’s first pole since the great Michael Schumacher in 2001.
Valtteri Bottas was second fastest for Mercedes, but was unable to improve on his first-run lap having lost time in the first and second sectors.
Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen made it three different makes in the top three by jumping to third on his final lap, relegating Hamilton to fourth place – just over two tenths slower than Vettel.
Kimi Raikkonen had been third after the first runs in Q3, but ran wide onto the grass exiting Turn 2 on his second set of hypersofts and was forced to abort the lap. The Iceman ended up shuffled down to fifth.
Daniel Ricciardo was sixth fastest, lapping just two-hundredths of a second off Raikkonen.
The Ferrari and Mercedes drivers will start the race on the ultrasoft Pirellis, having used that compound to set their fastest times in Q2, with Red Bull and the rest of the top ten using hypersofts.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg took seventh place ahead of Force India’s Esteban Ocon.
The Renault and Force India pattern was repeated on the fifth row, with Carlos Sainz Jr comfortably ahead of Sergio Perez.
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was fastest of those eliminated in Q2, lapping two-tenths slower than Perez.
That was enough to put him 29 thousandths of a second ahead of Brendon Hartley’s Toro Rosso, which is running the upgraded Honda engine package.
Hartley complained about losing a couple of tenths in the final chicane on his quickest lap.
Sauber driver Charles Leclerc was P13, with McLaren duo Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne never looking like a Q3 threat and ending up P14 and P15 – separated by just 0.009 seconds.
Alonso complained about poor drivability out of the hairpin on his last run, but Vandoorne suggested over the radio that this pace was representative of McLaren’s capability this weekend.
All five of those drivers had been in the drop zone after their first runs in Q2, but despite all finding time on their second set of hypersofts none were able to break into the top ten.
Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly, who had an engine change to the old-specification Honda after a problem in final practice, was knocked out in Q1 by last-minute improvements by Alonso and Vandoorne.
Gasly was unable to improve on the pace he set on his first Q1 run having been 11th at that stage, meaning he was shuffled down the order in the final minutes and ended up P16.
Williams duo Lance Stroll, who had an off-track moment at the final chicane on his last run, and Sergey Sirotkin were P17 and P18 respectively, effectively last of those not to hit trouble.
Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson hit the wall exiting the Turn 8/9 chicane on his first run, and sustained damage that left him P19.
Haas-Ferrari driver Romain Grosjean was unable to run at all after suffering what appeared to be an engine failure as he headed towards the end of the pitlane billowing smoke at the beginning of the session.
So an exciting qualifying session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Title challenger Sebastian Vettel sets a new track record to take his 54th career pole. The lap times between the three cars – Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull – are very close. Roll on the Canadian Grand Prix.
Canadian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m10.776s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m10.857s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 1m11.096s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m11.227s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m11.095s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m11.281s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m12.038s
8 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1m12.084s
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m12.238s
10 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m12.671s
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m12.606s
12 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 1m12.635s
13 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1m12.661s
14 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1m12.856s
15 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1m12.865s
16 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1m13.047s
17 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1m13.590s
18 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1m13.643-
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m14.593s
20 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari –