Canadian Grand Prix : Sebastian Vettel edges Lewis Hamilton for pole at Canadian Grand Prix, MONTREAL—There are some who say the last 10 minutes of qualifying for any Formula One race are worth the price of admission, and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel didn’t do anything to dissuade those folks Saturday afternoon when he won the pole for Sunday’s 50th Canadian Grand Prix.
Canadian Grand Prix Live
As the seconds remaining ticked down to zero and three of the 10 drivers eligible to make a run for the pole flashed across the finish line, Vettel, who won this race a year ago, stole the pole from five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes. Vettel finished his lap around the 4.361-km Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in one minute, 10.240 seconds.
Following Hamilton to nail down the third starting spot came Vettel’s new teammate at Ferrari, Charles Leclerc, who is locked in a bitter struggle with the four-time world champion for dominance at Ferrari.
Try as he might, however, Leclerc has only outqualified his more experienced teammate once before this year and although he seemed to be on pace to take the fight to him this weekend, it wasn’t enough in the end.
Vettel was ecstatic when told by his team that he’d knocked Hamilton off his perch at the last second. “Yes, yes, yes,” he screamed over the team radio before breaking out in song. For his part, Hamilton apologized to his crew. “Sorry about that, guys,” he said.
Afterward, the Ferrari driver, who hadn’t won a pole in the past 17 races, explained his enthusiasm. “I am full of adrenalin,” he told reporters. “(Hamilton is) bloody good in qualifying. “(For me) that was one of those laps; really, really, really nice. I kept hearing the car say, ‘Keep going, keep going.’
“I’m very happy for the team. The last weeks have been quite tough for us.”
Hamilton did not appear to be disappointed and suggested Ferrari being on pole was good for the show. “Honestly, I don’t feel disappointment,” he said. “We gave it everything we could — particularly (in) that last sector, they were killing us. This is good, though; this is how racing should be.
“This is fantastic for the sport. I love to fight with another team, and today was just so close.”
It was an unusual qualifying session. Driver-starting positions are determined by a knockout format in which five drivers are eliminated in first qualifying (Q1) with another five parked after Q2 and the remaining 10 eligible to try for the pole in Q3. With only moments remaining in Q2, Kevin Magnussen, who was tenth fastest at the time, crashed his Haas F1 racer in the chicane leading onto the main straight, doing serious damage to his car and bringing a halt to the session.
Although the car couldn’t be repaired, Magnussen remained in 10h place and Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing, who was on a flying lap that would have seen him move into the top 10 when the crash happened, was eliminated from Q3 and will start Sunday’s race 11th on the grid.
Hometown hero Lance Stroll of Montreal couldn’t go fast enough to get out of Q1, again. That his engine caught fire during Saturday morning’s final practice session before qualifying didn’t help. But this marked the seventh time in seven qualifying sessions since the season started in Australia in March that Stroll, driving for the Canadian-owned Racing Point team, was unable to advance to Q2.
His teammate, Sergio Perez, also missed the cut here — he will start 16th, with Stroll going off 18th — but Montreal is the first time he hasn’t gone on to Q2 this season.
Mercedes, which supplies engines to Racing Point as well as other F1 teams, was concerned about the fire that initially was described by Stroll’s pit crew as a hydraulic leak. Said Toto Wolff, boss of Mercedes F1: “We don’t know yet what really happened; it just went up in flames. We need to analyze what it was and hope we don’t have the problem on our other cars.”
Hamilton has won four of the Grands Prix contested so far this season. His teammate, Bottas has won the other two. And Hamilton, in his career, has won the Canadian GP six times. Only Michael Schumacher has won more — seven.