Sebastian Vettel beats Lewis Hamilton to end pole position drought

Sebastian Vettel scores pole position for Ferrari, Canada 2019

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel beat Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton to pole position for Formula 1’s Canadian Grand Prix during a thrilling dénouement to qualifying at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Ferrari and Mercedes had exchanged quick laps through Q1 and Q2, with Mercedes' W10 typically quicker through the first two sectors of the lap but Ferrari's SF90 usually eliminating the deficit along the full-throttle sections.

It was Hamilton who laid down a benchmark early in Q3, two-tenths of a second ahead of Vettel, leaving the Briton on top at the mid-point of the session.

When the drivers returned to action for their final push laps Hamilton improved on his initial effort by clocking a 1:10.446 but he was beaten by Vettel, whose time of 1:10.240 catapulted him to the front for the first time in 17 grands prix.

Charles Leclerc was a distant third as he failed to find the improvements unearthed by Vettel and Hamilton, while Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was only sixth.

Bottas spun exiting Turn 2 on his first Q3 push lap and locked up twice on his second effort, as he fell out of the pole position fight.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo profited to take a superb fourth place, just over a tenth behind Leclerc, while Pierre Gasly was fifth, 0.008s behind his predecessor at Red Bull.

Nico Hulkenberg took seventh to consolidate a strong day for Renault, whose customer team McLaren took eighth and ninth, Lando Norris ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr.

Magnussen walked away from the wreckage of his VF-19

Only nine drivers participated in Q3 in the wake of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen crashing heavily in the closing stages of Q2.

Magnussen clipped the wall exiting the final chicane and a broken right-rear wheel sustained on impact pitched him heavily into the pit wall, wrecking the VF-19.

Magnussen’s accident caused Q2 to be halted early and as a result, it caught out team-mate Romain Grosjean and Red Bull’s Verstappen.

Verstappen had tried to get through Q2 on the Medium tyres but complained of traffic and, combined with a lack of grip from the yellow-banded rubber, was left only 11th.

Verstappen returned to the track on Soft tyres but was unable to complete the lap due to Magnussen’s shunt.

Grosjean, meanwhile, slid wide through Turn 6 on his first Q2 lap, meaning he had yet to post a representative time when Magnussen crashed out.

Magnussen qualified a notional 10th, having been on the cut-off when he hit the wall, but is likely to drop down the order due to the repairs required and likely penalties that follow.  

Toro Rosso pair Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon also dropped out in Q2, taking 12th and 14th respectively after aborting their laps, while Antonio Giovinazzi was the lead Alfa Romeo driver in 13th spot.

Racing Point finished Friday practice inside the top 10 but it suffered another double Q1 elimination, with Sergio Perez 16th and Lance Stroll 18th.

It marked an 11th straight Q1 exit for Canada’s only representative on the grid, though the 20-year-old had been hindered by an engine failure in third practice.

Stroll missed the session and was forced to take on Mercedes’ Phase 1 engine – the same he used at the first six races – for qualifying.

The Racing Point drivers sandwiched Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen, who suffered his earliest exit from qualifying for nearly four years, while Williams was completely adrift at the rear of the pack.

George Russell made it 7-0 against Robert Kubica, though he was 1.3s down on Stroll, with the Pole nearly eight-tenths down on his team-mate.

Sunday’s 70-lap race is scheduled for 14:10 local time

Canada - Qualifying Result

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1 Flag   Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Car Icon 1:10.240
2 Flag   Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Car Icon 1:10.446 0.206
3 Flag   Charles Leclerc Ferrari Car Icon 1:10.920 0.680
4 Flag   Daniel Ricciardo Renault Car Icon 1:11.071 0.831
5 Flag   Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Car Icon 1:11.079 0.839
6 Flag   Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Car Icon 1:11.101 0.861
7 Flag   Nico Hulkenberg Renault Car Icon 1:11.324 1.084
8 Flag   Lando Norris McLaren Car Icon 1:11.863 1.623
9 Flag   Carlos Sainz McLaren Car Icon 1:13.981 3.741
10 Flag   Kevin Magnussen Haas Car Icon
11 Flag   Max Verstappen Red Bull Car Icon 1:11.800
12 Flag   Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Car Icon 1:11.921
13 Flag   Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Car Icon 1:12.136
14 Flag   Alexander Albon Red Bull Car Icon 1:12.193
15 Flag   Romain Grosjean Haas Car Icon
16 Flag   Sergio Perez Racing Point Car Icon 1:12.197
17 Flag   Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Car Icon 1:12.230
18 Flag   Lance Stroll Racing Point Car Icon 1:12.266
19 Flag   George Russell Williams Car Icon 1:13.617
20 Flag   Robert Kubica Williams Car Icon 1:14.393