Lewis Hamilton continued his 2015 qualifying form by securing pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix.
Despite struggling in the final two practice sessions, the 30 year old managed to dictate the qualifying pace at a dry Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – the site of his maiden Formula 1 race win in 2007.
His Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, however, was left ruing another missed opportunity to apply pressure on his championship leading team-mate, stating afterwards that his qualifying performance was ‘rubbish’ by his standards.
Hamilton out-paced Rosberg by 0.309s, while Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen achieved his best qualifying result of the year in third.
Valtteri Bottas will start fourth for Williams after narrowly eclipsing the much improved Lotus pairing of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.
Nico Hulkenberg posted an encouraging seventh best time for Force India, out-performing Daniil Kvyat and 2014 race winner Daniel Ricciardo in the two Red Bulls.
Sergio Perez rounded out the top 10, while the Toro Rosso pair of Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen failed to reach the third qualifying session by a whisker.
The Dutchman managed to sneak ahead of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson who qualified 13th, while Ericsson’s team-mate Felipe Nasr was a distant 15th.
Despite surviving Q1, Fernando Alonso was unable to progress further than 14th, 1.883s adrift of Hamilton’s benchmark, although Verstappen’s 15 place grid penalty will see the Spaniard start from 13th tomorrow.
His McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, meanwhile, was unable to take part in qualifying after engine problems from the third practice session carried over into the afternoon.
Button’s absence meant that four cars would be eliminated from Q1.
Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel were the shock casualties from a frantic session, with Massa suffering from a significant lack of power in his Williams. Vettel, meanwhile, was frustrated by ongoing electronic issues that kept his Ferrari distantly off the pace, three seconds adrift of Hamilton’s pole time and two seconds slower than his team-mate.
Vettel’s woes were compounded by a 5 place grid penalty imposed by the stewards after qualifying, in response to an overtake under red flag conditions during practice.
|7||27||Nico Hulkenberg||DEU||Force India-Mercedes||1:15.614s|
|8||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Red Bull-Renault||1:16.079s|
|9||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull-Renault||1:16.114s|
|10||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Force India-Mercedes||1:16.338s|
|Eliminated after Q2|
|11||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:16.042s|
|12||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:16.245s|
|Eliminated after Q1|
|20||22||Jenson Button||GBR||McLaren-Honda||No Time|