Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel claimed his first pole position of the 2019 Formula 1 season, beating championship leader Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes by two tenths of a second to secure top spot on the grid for tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc took third place ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.
In Q1 Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheet with a lap of 1:11.200. That left him 0.014s ahead of Ferrari team-mate Leclerc and 0.029s in front of third-placed Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes. Max Verstappen progressed to Q2 with a time of 1:11.619, a lap that was good enough for fifth place behind Hamilton.
Eliminated at the end of Q1 were 16th-placed Sergio Pérez of Racing Point ahead of Sauber’s Kimi Räikkönen, the second Racing Point of local favourite Lance Stroll and the Williams cars of George Russell and Robert Kubica.
Q2 saw the Ferrari and Mercedes drivers emerge on medium tyres, with Verstappen replicating the move moments later.
But while the Ferrari and Mercedes men out in laps good enough to secure progression to Q2, with Hamilton in P1 ahead of Bottas and Vettel, soft-tyre shod red Bull driver Pierre Gasly and Leclerc, Verstappen was struggling. Both of the Dutchman’s quick laps on medium tyres were hampered by traffic and in P11 ahead of the final runs he was forced to make the switch to soft tyres and go out on track for a final attempt at qualification.
With tea-mate Gasly just a few tenths off the pace Verstappen looked sure to advance on the softest compound but it was not to be.
Ahead of the Dutchman on track Kevin Magnussen lost control at the final chicane and hit the Wall of Champions. The Haas driver slid across the track, hit the opposite wall and cam to rest in the middle of the track.
Verstappen’s lap was ruined and he was eliminated in P11 ahead of Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat, Sauber’s Antonio Giovinazzi, the second Toro of Alex Albon and the second Haas of Romain Grosjean.
In the final top-10 shootout Hamilton claimed provisional position with an impressive time of 1:10.493. That left him a little under two tenths clear of Vettel with Leclerc in third place ahead of Gasly.
In the final runs though, Vettel found an extra reserve of pace and powered to pole position and a new track record with a lap of 1:10.240 two tenths of a second ahead of Hamilton. Leclerc took third place but Pierre was edged out of P4 by just nine thousandths of a second by Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and the Frenchman thus matched his career best grid slot of fifth, established in Bahrain last year.
Pierre’s time was good enough to beat the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, however, and the Finn will start from P6 ahead of the second Renault of Nico Hulkenberg, McLaren’s Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz.
2019 FIA Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix – Qualifying
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:10.240
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:10.446 0.206
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:10.920 0.680
4 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:11.071 0.831
5 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 1:11.079 0.839
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:11.101 0.861
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:11.324 1.084
8 Lando Norris McLaren 1:11.863 1.623
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren 1:13.981 3.741
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas
11 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:11.800 1.560
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:11.921 1.681
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1:12.136 1.896
14 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 1:12.193 1.953
15 Romain Grosjean Haas
16 Sergio Perez Racing Point 1:12.197 1.957
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1:12.230 1.990
18 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1:12.266 2.026
19 George Russell Williams 1:13.617 3.377
20 Robert Kubica Williams 1:14.393 4.153