Formula 1

2024 Canadian Grand Prix: Russell Secures Magnificent Pole ahead of Verstappen

4 Mins read
Photo: LAT Images

George Russell secured an incredible pole position for the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix, ahead of Max Verstappen, who put in an identical time but will start second due to Briton setting his time earlier.

Russell’s pole position is Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team’s first since the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton secured the top spot. Lando Norris was just +0.021s back from Russell’s time of 1:12.000s and will lineup third on the grid for Sunday’s race.

Q1: Sergio Pérez out of qualifying again, more disappointment for Sauber

Q1 got underway quickly, with all the drivers getting out on track with an 80% chance of rain in the session according to the FIA. Many used two sets of the soft compound tyres to get through to the next part of qualifying with track evolution also playing a big part.

It was more disappointment for Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber. Their performance at the Monaco Grand Prix last time out was nothing short of a disaster and while this weekend they’ve improved, they still struggled for pace, with both cars being knocked out in Q1. Zhou Guanyu’s time was the slowest, and that no surprise, as the Chinese driver’s Free Practice sessions were interrupted with two hits to the barriers in Free Practice One and Free Practice Two. The only positive for Zhou from Saturday in Montreal is that he’ll start one place above where he qualified due to Esteban Ocon’s 5-place grid penalty. Valtteri Bottas was also knocked out and will start seventeenth.

Nico Hülkenberg also failed to reach Q2, ending in a disappointing nineteenth – he’ll also start one place higher due to Ocon’s penalty. Ocon qualified eighteenth, but as previously mentioned, he’ll start from the back of the grid after the penalty he received at the Monaco Grand Prix for hitting his teammate Pierre Gasly.

The biggest shock was Sergio Pérez missing out on a spot in Q2 for the second consecutive race weekend. The Mexican’s new contract with Oracle Red Bull Racing was announced in the build-up to the weekend, and this qualifying result will be a big disappointment for him and the team. He struggled to put together a lap that was good enough and with others improving, he found himself in the bottom five at the end of the session.

Q2: Double Ferrari exit shock

Q2 was more of the same, with drivers getting straight on track and the rain lurking in the air. Gasly managed to get out of Q1 for the second consecutive race, but could only manage fifteenth in Q2, while Kevin Magnussen will be looking to fight from fourteenth on the grid in Sunday’s race.

It was Logan Sargeant’s best qualifying session of the season and his first Q2 appearance since 2023, he’ll start from thirteenth on the grid, giving him a chance of potential points if he can get everything right on Sunday.

The biggest shock was a double exit for Scuderia Ferrari. After winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc was expected to challenge for pole, as was Carlos Sainz Jr, who finished on the podium last time out around the streets of Monte Carlo. Expectations didn’t match reality, with both drivers finding themselves lingering around the bottom five ahead of the final runs and despite minimal improvements on their final push laps, they were both out of qualifying. Frustrations boiled over on Leclerc’s radio, with it later being revealed that both drivers were out on old tyres. They’ll start eleventh and twelfth on Sunday.

Q3: Russell deadbeat with Verstappen, Hamilton disappointed, Ricciardo hits back

All ten of the drivers that made it through to Q3 headed out on old soft compound tyres for their first runs of the final session and it was the Mercedes duo of Russell and Hamilton lighting up the timing boards. Russell’s managed to put almost three tenths on his teammate, with Hamilton losing some time in the final sector.

When everyone moved onto a new set of tyres, there wasn’t much improvement from the front runners. Russell couldn’t improve his time, and Verstappen was looking to spoil the Mercedes party and the three time world champion almost managed it but his time was the exact same as Russell’s but due to the rules in Formula 1, the Briton kept his position at the top of the timesheets as he set the time first.

George Russell waves to the fans after securing pole position at the Canadian Grand Prix – Photo: LAT Images

No one else managed to beat the 1:12.000s that Russell set, leaving himself and Verstappen to share the front row for Sunday’s race. It was a good day for McLaren F1 Team – Norris will start alongside his teammate, Oscar Piastri on the second row.

It was an excellent day for Daniel Ricciardo as he secured his best qualifying result of the season, finishing fifth. The result comes after some blunt criticism from former world champion and current Sky Sports pundit for this weekend, Jacques Villeneuve, about Ricciardo’s current form raising questions over why he is still in a seat. His qualifying performance showed exactly why he’s still in a seat, and he’ll be aiming for a good points return on race day.

Fernando Alonso beat Lance Stroll at the Canadian’s home Grand Prix, and for the first time in four races. The Spaniard will start sixth, ahead of Hamilton in seventh, who had hopes of at least joining Russell on the front row, and potentially even pole position. The seven time world champion has been strong all weekend, but couldn’t improve on his final lap and will start on the fourth row only.

Hamilton will lineup alongside Yuki Tsunoda, who celebrated extending his stay at Visa Cash App RB with yet another Q3 appearance. The home town hero, Stroll, will start in ninth alongside Williams Racing driver Alex Albon, who will be looking for his second points finish of the season in Sunday’s race.

163George RussellMERCEDES1:13.0131:11.7421:12.00026
21Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT1:12.3601:12.5491:12.00027
34Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES1:12.9591:12.2011:12.02125
481Oscar PiastriMCLAREN MERCEDES1:12.9071:12.4621:12.10329
53Daniel RicciardoRB HONDA RBPT1:13.2401:12.5721:12.17825
614Fernando AlonsoASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES1:13.1171:12.6351:12.22823
744Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1:12.8511:11.9791:12.28026
822Yuki TsunodaRB HONDA RBPT1:12.7481:12.3031:12.41424
918Lance StrollASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES1:13.0881:12.6591:12.70125
1023Alexander AlbonWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:12.8961:12.4851:12.79626
1116Charles LeclercFERRARI1:13.1071:12.69121
1255Carlos SainzFERRARI1:13.0381:12.72822
132Logan SargeantWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:13.0631:12.73622
1420Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI1:13.2171:12.91616
1510Pierre GaslyALPINE RENAULT1:13.2891:12.94018
1611Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT1:13.32611
1777Valtteri BottasKICK SAUBER FERRARI1:13.36610
1831Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT1:13.43511
1927Nico HulkenbergHAAS FERRARI1:13.97810
2024Zhou GuanyuKICK SAUBER FERRARI1:14.29211
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