Vettel denies Hamilton pole position for Canadian GP!

Qualifying top three in parc ferme (L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1, second; Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari, pole position; Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari, third.
© XPB 

Sebastian Vettel claimed a brilliant pole position for the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, his first qualifying success in 17 races.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton will start from second place on the grid alongside Vettel's Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc.

There was surprise success for Renault's Daniel Ricciardo, who claimed a fourth place grid spot ahead of Pierre Gasly and Valtteri Bottas.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen failed to make it into the final top ten pole shoot-out after the second round ended prematurely due to a big accident for Haas' Kevin Magnussen on the start/finish straight.

A gorgeous summer afternoon on the Île Notre-Dame greeted the drivers heading out for qualifying at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on Saturday. Sunshine and blue skies were sending track temperatures soaring with every passing minute, meaning teams were having to keep a close eye on the effect of that rising heat on their Pirelli tyres.

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF90.

Q1: Ferrari edges Mercedes, as Racing Point fails to make the cut

Dusty conditions meant that no one was keen to be first out on track acting as unofficial road sweeper, but after a brief lull when the pit lane lights went green it was Williams who rose to the occasion with Robert Kubica first out followed by George Russell. Following close behind was Lance Stroll, keen to get to work after missing out on all of FP3 following a burning issue with the Mercedes power unit in his Racing Point.

Despite having to revert to his old engine for the rest of the weekend, Stroll's opening 1:13.219s was over a second and a half quicker than both Williams. He was soon hustled off the top spot by Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen, and then by the two Haas cars of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean; then it was Lando Norris who went top, confirming the promising pace of the McLaren in final practice.

Ferrari were the first of the front runners to jon the fray, Charles Leclerc's 1:11.786s over half a second quicker than Sebastian Vettel's first run. Max Verstappen then slotted in right between them in the first push lap of the afternoon to put Red Bull into second, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas soon opening their accounts in third and fourth.

Leclerc improved his pace further to 1:11.481s, and Vettel bounced back into second just a tenth behind on his next flying lap and Verstappen closing up to the pair of them with his own latest effort which saw his team mate Pierre Gasly join him in the top four - until the Silver Arrows responded, Bottas going top with 1:11.229s and Hamilton splitting the Ferraris in third place. Vettel and Leclerc were able to eke out a little more pace to go ahead, Vettel's latest time of 1:11.200s proving to be just 0.014s quicker than Leclerc.

With the top five settled and sitting in the garage for the final minutes, attention turned to the bottom five elimination spots. While the presence of both Williams drivers in the drop spots was no shock, it was a bigger surprise to see both Racing Point cars failing to make the cut with Sergio Perez joining Stroll on the sidelines. And there was dismay for Alfa Romeo, with Raikkonen unexpectedly failing to get through when the chequered flag came out to end the first round.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W10.

Q2: Hamilton goes top, but Verstappen eliminated by Magnussen smash

The accent in the second round was on tyre strategy. With the top ten required to start tomorrow's race on the same tyres they use for their best lap in Q2, teams were keen to try getting through on medium tyres which would mean they could avoid using the short-life softs on Sunday. But could the slower pace leave them vulnerable to elimination in favour rivals running the faster compound?

First to set a time of 1:11.336s on the medium compound was Hamilton, which was bettered by 0.027s by Vettel on the same tyre type. However, both their team mates suffered errors and had to make a second run before setting representative times, Leclerc going top and Bottas slotting into fourth.

However there was bad news for Verstappen, who was soon on the bubble after the other cars starting on soft tyres such as Renault's Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg went substantially faster than the Red Bull. It meant that he would have to give up on the mediums for his second run. In fact the pace of the soft-shod runners was looking a little too close even for Mercedes and Ferrari, with Pierre Gasly able to split Vettel and Leclerc with his own single run on soft tyres in the second Red Bull.

In response, Hamilton and Bottas bolted on fresh mediums for their second run, and the world champion improved to 1:11.010s to go top by 0.085s from Bottas. That clearly put them safe, while Verstappen had been forced on to the soft compound for his final run. A desperate situation for the Dutch driver became an outright disaster when Kevin Magnussen hit the wall of champions at the final corner, and the Haas careened across the track to make even more emphatic contact with the pit lane wall.

The session was immediately terminated, meaning that Verstappen never got to complete his recovery effort. He wound up as the first of the five cars eliminated at the end of Q2, along with the Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon as well as Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi. Also missing the cut was Magnussen's team mate Romain Grosjean, who had similarly been caught out by the early red flag finish to the proceedings while on his final flying lap.

Ironically Magnussen's existing time had been good enough for tenth and a place in Q3; but the VF-19 was seriously damaged and would play no further part in qualifying, and the Dane faces a pit lane start to the race after extensive repairs.

Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas VF-19 crashed during qualifying.

Q3: Vettel denies Hamilton pole position in last push lap

Following a 20 minute delay while track workers cleared up the mess left over from Magnussen's accident, the remaining nine drivers headed back out. This time there was no need to worry about tyre strategies, and instead they could simply focus on producing the fastest lap they could achieve on soft tyres.

First to set a time was Gasly, who set a cautious initial benchmark of 1:12.185s that was immediately bettered by several of those following him on track. Hamilton grabbed provisional pole with a thumping 1:10.493s which was 0.188s ahead of Vettel and Leclerc. Gasly's improved second run was good enough to boost him up to fourth ahead of Hulkenberg, Ricciardo and McLaren's Carlos Sainz.

There was no first time at all set by Bottas, who was lucky to survive a spin exiting turn 2 without making contact with the concrete wall. That put all the pressure on this final run, and it was one of the scrappiest seen from the Finn all season which left him mired in a disappointing sixth place on the grid.

By contrast Hamilton had been able to improve his time, but it was still not enough to fend off a jubilant Vettel who pipped the Briton by two tenths to the delight of the Canadian fans. Leclerc held on to third place despite a faster lap from Ricciardo which put the Australian up to fourth ahead of Gasly and Bottas.

Hulkenberg was seventh, ahead of the two McLarens of Norris and Sainz. However, Sainz will be visiting the race stewards this evening after an incident in Q1 in which he appeared to impede Albon; Leclerc could also be in hot water for not following the rules for safe return to the track after running wide at turn 8 during Q2.

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