Lewis Hamilton equals Ayrton Senna’s record of 65 pole positions at Canadian Grand Prix

Following qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix, Chris Soulsby looks at the session which saw Lewis Hamilton claim the 65th pole position of his career.

After Lewis Hamilton topped FP1, Kimi Raikkonen topped FP2, and Sebastian Vettel topped FP3, the battle for pole position at the Canadian Grand Prix was looking close, with both Mercedes and Ferrari looking capable of claiming the fastest time of the day.

Lewis Hamilton equals Ayrton Senna’s record of 65 pole positions at Canadian Grand Prix

Qualifying 1:

In the first part of qualifying, Valtteri Bottas set the pace for Mercedes, setting a best lap time of a 1:12.685 on the ultrasoft tyre, 0.007 seconds faster than Lewis Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel was the fastest Ferrari of the session in third place only 0.361 despite being on the slower supersoft tyre. Five drivers were eliminated from Q1, meaning that only 15 drivers progressed to the second part of qualifying. Stoffel Vandoorne was eliminated from qualifying for McLaren and will start in 16th place for the Canadian Grand Prix, marking the sixth time in seven races that the Belgian has been knocked out of Q1. Joining Vandoorne was Lance Stroll for Williams who was only 17th fastest, being knocked out of qualifying in his home grand prix. Kevin Magnussen was also eliminated for Haas F1 after struggling all weekend for the American outfit, ending the session in only 18th fastest. The two Sauber drivers were next up and will line up in 19th and 20th place on the grid, with Marcus Ericsson being faster than his team mate while Pascal Wehrlein crashed in turn 1 with only one minute of the session to go, bringing out the yellow flags in the session and bringing about the early end of qualifying 1.

Qualifying 2:

Another five drivers were eliminated in the second session of qualifying, narrowing the field down to only ten drivers for the final session, with Lewis Hamilton setting the fastest lap of Q2 for Mercedes. Daniil Kvyat missed out on a Q3 performance and qualified in 11th place for Toro Rosso after making contact with the outside wall of turn 8 in his final run of the session, picking up a puncture. Fernando Alonso was also eliminated once again for McLaren, and ended the session in 12th place despite lacking power from his Honda engine. Carlos Sainz Jr followed his fellow countryman and was also eliminated in the session, being only 13th fastest for Toro Rosso, marking a double elimination for the team. Romain Grosjean was also eliminated for Haas F1, being only 14th fastest in the session. Jolyon Palmer was slowest in Q2 and will therefore start in 15th place for the Canadian Grand Prix, being once again out qualified by Nico Hulkenberg for the seventh time in their seven races with each other at Renault.

Qualifying 3:

The battle for pole position was once again shaping up to be close, with both Ferrari and Mercedes being evenly matched in terms of performance around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. This close proximity was proven at the end of the first runs in the session, with Sebastian Vettel being only 0.004 seconds slower than Lewis Hamilton who set the early pace in the session. The drivers then returned to their garages before heading out back on track for their final runs of the session. Lewis Hamilton was the first driver to cross the line to improve and secure provisional pole after going 0.3 seconds faster than his previous best lap time to set a 1:11.459. After Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen crossed the line, unable to challenge Hamilton, Vettel was the only driver to who could take pole off the Brit, however over drove his Ferrari on his final lap, failing to improve. This left Hamilton fastest, meaning that he secured the 65th pole position of his Formula 1 career, equaling Ayrton Senna‘s record of 65 poles placing him joint second place on the list of all time pole sitters. By failing to improve on his best time, Vettel qualified in second place and will start on the front row of the grid alongside Hamilton for Sunday’s race. Valtteri Bottas qualified in third place while Kimi Raikkonen qualified in fourth, making it an all Finnish second row. The two Red Bull Racing drivers of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were next fastest, filling the third row in fifth and sixth fastest. Felipe Massa was best of the rest for Williams, qualifying in seventh place ahead of the two Force India drivers of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon who qualified in eighth and ninth. Nico Hulkenebrg rounded out the session for Renault in tenth place.

Going into the Canadian Grand Prix, the battle for the win is looking very close between both Mercedes and Ferrari, and it will be intriguing to see the race unfold and see which team will  claim the top step of the podium. Will Sebastian Vettel extend his championship lead from Lewis Hamilton or can Hamilton fight back to close the gap to the Ferrari driver? It’s definitely game on in Canada.

Qualifying results from the Canadian Grand Prix:

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Meredes, 1:11.459
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:11.789
  3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 1:12.177
  4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:12.252
  5. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1:12.403
  6. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, 1:12.557
  7. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:12.858
  8. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:13.018
  9. Esteban Ocon, Force India, 1:13.135
  10. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1:13.271 (Q2)
  11. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1:13.690 (Q2)
  12. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:13.693 (Q2)
  13. Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, 1:13.756 (Q2)
  14. Romain Grosjean, Haas F1, 1:13.839 (Q2)
  15. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 1:14.293 (Q2)
  16. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1:14.182 (Q1)
  17. Lance Stroll, Williams, 1:14.209 (Q1)
  18. Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1, 1:14.318 (Q1)
  19. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:14.495 (Q1)
  20. Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber, 1:14.810 (Q1)

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