Triple Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton put his Mercedes on pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix on Saturday to equal Ayrton Senna’s career haul of 65.
The Briton’s third successive pole in Canada also equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of six at the island Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Hamilton took the first of his F1 career at the same track 10 years ago with McLaren.
Formula One championship leader Sebastian Vettel, who leads Hamilton by 25 points after six races, qualified second for Sunday’s race for Ferrari.
Finland’s Valtteri Bottas was third for Mercedes with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen fourth.
Canada has proven to be a happy stomping ground for Hamilton in the past and so it proved again on Saturday following a thrilling qualifying session.
It was here 10 years ago where Hamilton secured his first ever grand prix victory, and he will now be odds-on to record his sixth victory in Montreal after his blistering lap.
Hamilton laid down the gauntlet with a super-quick opener in the final phase of qualifying before Vettel bit back to move to within just four thousandths of the Briton’s time.
But the 32-year-old responded in meteoric fashion to stamp his mark on pole and join Senna in second on the all-time list. Only Michael Schumacher has more poles than Hamilton in the sport’s long history.
An emotional Hamilton was given a race-worn Senna helmet, provided by the Brazilian’s family, which he held aloft in front of the thousands of fans at turn two.
Following his heroics at the Indianapolis 500 a fortnight ago, Fernando Alonso is back behind the wheel of his McLaren this weekend.
The double world champion contested for a famous victory at the Brickyard, but it was back to business as he could haul his Honda-powered McLaren to only 12th on the grid.
Alonso and team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, 16th in the order, have been the slowest in a straight line for much of the weekend, and it is unsure how much longer McLaren will be prepared to stick it out with their beleaguered engine supplier.
There have been some rumblings in the paddock, too, that British driver Jolyon Palmer may be replaced before the end of the campaign.
The 26-year-old, in his second season in the sport, has failed to score a single point this year, but after progressing to Q2 – thanks in part to Pascal Wehrlein’s spin in the closing moments of the opening phase – he qualified 15th.
His Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, who in contrast has 14 points to his name this term, will be 10th on the grid. Palmer, an eye-watering seven tenths of a second slower, has been out-qualified by the German at every round this season.
Lance Stroll, the first Canadian driver to appear on this soil since Jacques Villeneuve more than a decade ago, has endured a testing start to his grand prix career.
The 18-year-old rookie, whose progression through the motorsport ranks has been bankrolled by his fashion billionaire father Lawrence Stroll, has struggled for speed and he will start a lowly and disappointing 17th tomorrow after falling at the first hurdle of qualifying.
Felipe Massa, Stroll’s veteran Williams team-mate lines up seventh.
Canadian GP Qualifying results
|1. Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||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||1:12.403|
|6. Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:12.557|
|7. Felipe Massa||Williams||1:12.868|
|8. Sergio Perez||Force India||1:13.018|
|9. Esteban Ocon||Force India||1:13.135|
|10. Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||1:13.271|
|Knocked out in Q2|
|11. Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:13.690|
|12. Fernando Alonso||McLaren||1:13.693|
|13. Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:13.756|
|14. Romain Grosjean||Haas||1:13.839|
|15. Jolyon Palmer||Renault||1:14.293|
|Knocked out in Q1|
|16. Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren||1:14.182|
|17. Lance Stroll||Williams||1:14.209|
|18. Kevin Magnussen||Haas||1:14.318|
|19. Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||1:14.495|
|20. Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber||1:14.810|