Lewis Hamilton has taken pole for the sixth time in Montreal and the sixty-sixth pole of his career to match Ayrton Senna in qualifying for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver out-qualified his title rival Sebastian Vettel by three-tenths of a second. Matching Senna’s record left the Brit speechless after the family of the late three times champion gave Hamilton a race-worn Ayrton Senna helmet, on behalf of the Senna family! Incredible gesture.
Hamilton said “I’m so happy. Montreal has been good to me over the years. It was a close battle with the Ferraris, they have been quick. It was a sexy lap! A great lap.”
“I can’t believe that it came together so well. We learned from our mistakes at the previous race, and I owe this one all to the team back at the factory.”
Vettel said “I think we have the pace (to win). I was not so happy with the last lap but it was a good qualifying session.”
Hamilton has always gone well here and is only behind seven-times champion Michael Schumacher in terms of race wins in Montreal, and Hamilton could overhaul the number of poles that Schumacher has very soon.
Hamilton also broke the pole record that Michael’s brother Ralf had set in 2004.
Both Hamilton and Vettel were half a second faster than their Finnish team-mates Valtteri Bottas in third and Kimi Raikkonen fourth.
Hamilton may have been helped by a mistake at the second chicane by Vettel. This allowed him to take the pole off Vettel, but he was faster than his provisional pole time despite his mistake. Bottas wasn’t looking bad either, he was faster in both Q1 and Q2 than Hamilton.
Max Verstappen was fifth out qualifying his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. Verstappen was within two tenths of Raikkonen. Raikkonen who was quickest in practice appeared unable to match the front runners and were under no threat from the rest.
Williams’s Felipe Massa was seventh ahead of the Force India’s of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, and Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault. Fernando Alonso was twelfth on his return, while his McLaren team-mate failed to make it out of Q1.
Both Q1 and Q2 saw the drama as the ended. Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was trying to make it into Q3 when on his final attempt he hit the wall causing a puncher to the rear tyre and starts eleventh.
Pascal Wehrlein was beginning his last attempt when he got a wheel on the grass entering Turn One. That sent the German into a spin, which saw him break his rear wing.
McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne had been pushing hard but he missed out on Q2 by a tenth, the sixth time in seven attempts this season. Any hopes Lance Stroll had off a home advantage didn’t last long as he was .02 behind the Belgian.
Haas’s Kevin Magnussen also failed to get out of Q1, saying he encountering traffic “every single lap” as he wound up only 18th quickest, less than two tenths clear of Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber.