Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel will start the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix on Pole Position, after a hectic qualifying session.
Title rival Lewis Hamilton will join him on the front row, with Charles Leclerc in third and Daniel Ricciardo in an impressive fourth.
Ferrari Set Early Pace as Racing Point Struggle
The first phase of qualifying saw the top three separated by three hundredths of a second. Sebastian Vettel went quickest with a 1:11.200, with Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc and Valtteri Bottas close behind.
Lewis Hamilton was a comfortable fourth for Mercedes, while Max Verstappen was fifth and McLaren’s Lando Norris was an impressive sixth.
Further back, Lance Stroll, Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. all found themselves in the drop zone in the latter stages.
Stroll was the first to post the time, but oversteer on the exit of the final chicane compromised his time. As a result, he could only marginally improve to 14th place.
With Hulkenberg and Sainz Jr. easily making the top ten on their attempts, the Canadian was knockout out of Q1. The second Racing Point of Sergio Perez also struggled to put in a competitive lap and could only manage 17th.
The result was disappointing, as both drivers believed that they had the pace to make it into Q3.
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen also failed to improve on his time and will start tomorrow’s race in 16th position.
The trio were joined in the drop zone by Williams’ Robert Kubica and George Russell.
At the end of Q1, the race stewards announced that they were investigating Sainz Jr. for impeding Alexander Albon.
Red Flag Catches Out Red Bull’s Verstappen
With an eye on Q3, Mercedes and Ferrari sent their drivers out on the medium tyres at the start of Q2.
Vettel went fastest with a 1:11.142, with Pierre Gasly and Leclerc fractions off the German’s time, while Hamilton was within touching distance.
Hulkenberg and Sainz Jr. continued to show promise and went faster than Verstappen on their opening run. Subsequently, the Dutchman dropped to 11th and was forced to do another lap.
The Red Bull driver was in the drop zone and at risk of not progressing any further.
With the majority of the field in the pits preparing for their final runs, Hamilton completed a second run and topped the timings on a 1:11.010. Bottas also improved to second and moved within a tenth of his team-mate.
Toro Rosso duo Danill Kvyat and Alexander Albon lacked the necessary pace and were only good enough for 12th and 14th respectively.
Then, as the chequered flag was being waved, Kevin Magnussen lost control of his Haas at the Wall of Champions. After hitting the wall, the car spun across the track and smashed against the pit wall.
Consequently, the incident brought out the red flag and hampered team-mate Romain Grosjean, who was completing his only flying lap.
After the session, the Frenchman conceded that had he been able to complete the lap, he didn’t feel the time would have been good enough to go through.
In addition, Verstappen failed to finish his lap and didn’t make it through, with Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo joining him.
Magnussen, who finished the session in tenth, was unable to contest the final qualifying session due to the significant damage on his car.
Vettel Shatters the Morale in Montreal
After a lengthy delay to repair the barriers after Magnussen’s crash, the Q3 was able to get underway.
Following the first run, Hamilton was quickest with a 1:10.493. Vettel was two tenths adrift in second and Leclerc in third.
Bottas failed to set a time after he spun on the exit of Turn 2 and was fortunate to avoid contact with the wall.
With four minutes remaining, Pierre Gasly completed his second lap and improved to fourth, albeit a second slower than Hamilton.
Shortly afterwards, the rest of the drivers made their way out for one more crack.
Bottas was the first to cross the line, but a scruffy lap meant the Finn had to settle for sixth.
Behind him, Hamilton extended his advantage with a 1:10.446, only for Vettel to better this with a 1:10.226.
Leclerc moved up to third, while Daniel Ricciardo put in an amazing effort to qualify fourth for Renault.
Gasly dropped to fifth, with the aforementioned Bottas in sixth and Norris, Sainz Jr.* and Hulkenberg rounding up the top nine.
As previously stated, Magnussen was unable to participate after his crash in Q2.
*At the time of press, Carlos Sainz Jr. was still under investigation for impeding Alexander Albon in Q1