Vettel Claims Canadian GP Pole; Ending 17-Race Drought

by Aaron Gillard
Vettel - Qualifying - Canada GP

Scuderia Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel claims pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix, his first pole in Formula 1 since the 2018 German Grand Prix.

The four-time world champion snatched pole away from Mercedes AMG Motorsport‘s Lewis Hamilton with his final lap of qualifying, setting a 1:10.240 and capturing his first pole in seventeen races. The German claimed pole position in last year’s race, where we would go on to win the race in dominant fashion.

Hamilton will start alongside Vettel with Charles Leclerc claiming third place. Renault F1 Team‘s Daniel Ricciardo performed an outstanding session with fourth place, beating both Red Bull Racing‘s Pierre Gasly and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, who struggled in the final session of qualifying.

Qualifying 1 began with the two Williams Racing cars heading out on track first, with Racing Point and Canadian driver Lance Stroll following behind, getting his first laps in after suffering an engine-related failure during the early stages of Free Practice 3.

McLaren‘s Lando Norris was quickest in the opening minutes of Qualifying ahead of Kevin Magnussen and Alexander Albon before the front runners start their first hotlaps. Leclerc set a 1:11.786 to go ahead of his team-mate Vettel in their first laps. Verstappen in the Red Bull split the two Ferrari cars, falling short by 0.232 in his first lap to Leclerc’s first lap.

The Mercedes drivers placed their times and saw both cars set the third and fourth best time with Hamilton ahead of Bottas with eight minutes remaining. Ferrari went for a second lap in their runs and put both cars on top with Leclerc remaining on top.

The track started to evolve and saw the lap times improve with Bottas jumping to the top of the time screens briefly, before both Vettel and Leclerc reclaimed the top spots. Vettel set a 1:11.200, with the top three of Leclerc and Bottas only separated by 0.029 seconds.

With a few minutes remaining, the two Williams, Carlos Sainz Jr., Nico Hülkenberg and Stroll were in the drop zone, with Sergio Pérez at risk alongside Antonio Giovinazzi and Magnussen. Stroll improved on his time, but Sainz and Hülkenberg placed times to get them out of the elimination zone and sending the Canadian driver out of Q1. Stroll’s exit marks his 11th consecutive qualifying session where he doesn’t make it into Qualifying 2. Kimi Räikkönen fell into the drop zone alongside Pérez, who couldn’t do enough to get into the top 15.

In Q2, Mercedes, Ferrari and Verstappen headed out on track on a set of Medium tyres for their first runs. Vettel provided the fastest time with his first lap, placing a 1:11.309 ahead of both Hamilton and Bottas. Leclerc during his first run made an error at Turn 9, aborting his first lap as a result. Leclerc went fastest briefly before his team-mate reclaimed the top spot.

Verstappen set his first time on the Mediums but proved to be not quick enough as the Soft tyres runners of both Renault and McLaren cars jump ahead of him. The Dutch driver attempted a second run on the tyre but failed to improve on his time, leaving him eleventh overall with six minutes remaining. Verstappen’s team-mate, Gasly placed the second best time, splitting the two Ferrari cars.

With Verstappen in the drop zone for Q2, Red Bull fitted the Soft tyres on in a bid to get into the shootout session. As the chequered flag came out, Magnussen touched ‘the wall of champions’ and send his Haas F1 Team car into the wall, heavily damaging his vehicle. The accident and the red flag as a result left Verstappen failing to set one last lap time and was knocked out of qualifying as a result. The Dutch driver will start the race from eleventh place.

The incident also prevented Magnussen’s team-mate, Romain Grosjean from setting a lap time, leaving him down in fifteenth place and joining Verstappen, Daniil Kvyat, Giovinazzi and Albon in being eliminated out of qualifying. Magnussen made it into Q3 but won’t be able to run after his accident.

After a delay with the marshals clearing the wreckage of Magnussen’s car, Q3 began with Gasly heading out on track first. The Ferrari’s went on top with Vettel ahead of Leclerc, before Hamilton placed a 1:10.493 to go fastest overall. Bottas during his first attempted run spun at the exit of Turn 2, avoiding the barrier but ruining his first chance of setting a time.

Ferrari attempted a second run on the Soft tyres, but couldn’t find any improvement on their times, leaving Vettel in second and Leclerc behind with third place. Bottas placed his only time in the session in the final seconds, but could only managed sixth best behind Ricciardo and Gasly.

Hamilton improved on his time to keep provisional pole position, only for Vettel to place a 1:10.240 and snatch the pole away from the Brit. The German claimed pole for the second year in the row, going onto winning the 2018 edition of the Canadian Grand Prix.

Pos.No.DriverNat.TeamTime
15Sebastian VettelGERScuderia Ferrari Mission WinnowQ3 1:10.240
244Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport1:10.446
316Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow1:10.920
43Daniel RicciardoAUSRenault F1 Team1:11.071
510Pierre GaslyFRAAston Martin Red Bull Racing1:11.079
677Valtteri BottasFINMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport1:11.101
727Nico HülkenbergGERRenault F1 Team1:11.324
84Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1:11.863
955Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPMcLaren F1 Team1:11.981
1020Kevin MagnussenDENRich Energy Haas F1 TeamNo Time
1133Max VerstappenNEDAston Martin Red Bull RacingQ2 1:11.800
1226Daniil KvyatRUSRed Bull Toro Rosso Honda1:11.921
1399Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing1:12.136
1423Alexander AlbonTHARed Bull Toro Rosso Honda1:12.193
158Romain GrosjeanFRARich Energy Haas F1 TeamNo Time
1611Sergio PérezMEXSportPesa Racing Point F1 TeamQ1 1:12.197
177Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing1:12.230
1818Lance StrollCANSportPesa Racing Point F1 Team1:12.266
1963George RussellGBRROKiT Williams Racing1:13.617
2088Robert KubicaPOLROKiT Williams Racing1:14.393

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