Lewis Hamilton has claimed his 65th Formula 1 pole position, in qualifying for the 2017 Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villenueve.
Hamilton set a formidable new track record as he equalled the number of polls recorded by his idol, the great Ayrton Senna. He finished the session an impressive 0.330s ahead of his main rival Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton's first flying lap in Q3 had clocked in at a sensational 1:11.791s, up to then the fastest time ever recorded at the Circuit Gille Villeneuve. His team mate Valtteri Bottas was almost four tenths slower, provisionally joining his team mate on the front row of the grid.
Kimi Raikkonen's first effort put him into third place. He was little under a tenth faster than his Ferrari team mate Vettel, who had lost time running wide through the hairpin. However Vettel soon made amends with his second flying lap, which put him just four thousandths of a second off Hamilton's benchmark.
Convinced he could find yet more time, Vettel went for a third Q3 flying lap. In the meantime, Hamilton succeeded in moving the goalposts still further out of reach with a new time of 1:11.459s. Vettel certainly has no answer to that, but he was safe in second place ahead of Bottas and Raikkonen.
Red Bull once again ended up the best of the rest, with Max Verstappen out-qualifying Daniel Ricciardo for fifth place. Williams' Felipe Massa put in a strong run to pick up seventh place on the grid ahead of the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon. Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was the final driver to make it into the top ten pole shoot-out.
Wehrlein spin disrupts late Q1 runs
Cloudless skies and strong sunshine meant the highest track temperatures of the weekend so far at the start of Q1. The Toro Rosso drivers Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat were the first to take advantage of the conditions. In common with virtually everyone else, they were straight out on ultrasofts tyres. The exceptions to the rule were the Ferraris who hit the track on the harder supersofts. Despite complains of lack of grip, they easily ascended to the top of the timings.
Even on the nominally faster ultras, the Mercedes drivers took a couple of attempts to manage to outpace their rivals. Hamilton did eventually set the fastest time, only to be usurped by seven thousandths of a second by Bottas. The Finn's 1:12.685s was three and a half tenths faster than Vettel
Despite complaining about the brakes on the RB13, Verstappen put himself into fourth place ahead of Massa. By contrast, Raikkonen found himself down in ninth place before brushing the outside wall exiting turn 4 while pushing hard. McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne also grazed the wall, this time in turn 7, before running onto the grass verge for good measure as he struggled to get out of the drop zone.
Pascal Wehrlein had already run off once at turn 1 at the start of the session. He then suffered a more serious incident in the closing minutes. Drifting too far right into turn 1, he spun and clouted the back of the Sauber into the barrier. The resulting double waved yellows while the car was recovered prevented anyone from improving their times leaving Vandoorne stuck on the wrong side of the cut. Also eliminated were Williams' Lance Stroll, Haas' Kevin Magnussen and Wehrlein's team mate Marcus Ericsson, along with Wehrlein himself.
Kvyat pushes too hard and misses the cut in Q2
Force India pair Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were the early pace setters in Q2, before Hamilton made his bow and took charge with an early bid of 1:12.496s less than a tenth ahead of Bottas and Raikkonen who recorded almost identical times. Vettel was over a tenth further back after sliding through turn 3, with Ricciardo slightly ahead of his team mate Verstappen for fifth place.
Sainz caused a brief local yellow at turn 1 with his imitation of Wehrlein's earlier incident. Unlike the young German, Sainz was able to keep it away from the barrier and rejoined the circuit. However the spin left him in traffic and compromised his tyres, leaving him in danger of being eliminated. Renault's Jolyon Palmer also had a lock up in the same sector; he avoided spinning but bypassed turn 2 by briefly taking to the run-off. It left him danger of being eliminated, along with Fernando Alonso who complained of a drop in engine power on his McLaren.
Battling to avoid elimination, Daniil Kvyat pushed too hard through turn 9 and hit the right rear of the Toro Rosso on the wall. That punctured his tyre and left him limping to the pit lane, unable to improve his time. He just missed the cut in 11th ahead of Alonso, Sainz and Haas' Romain Grosjean, with Palmer ending up the slowest in the round and in 15th place on the grid for Sunday's race.
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:13.177s||1:12.751s||1:12.403s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:13.543s||1:12.810s||1:12.557s|
|8||Sergio Pérez||Force India||1:13.470s||1:13.262s||1:13.018s|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Force India||1:13.520s||1:13.320s||1:13.135s|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:13.802s||1:13.690s|
|13||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:14.051s||1:13.756s|