Vettel beats Hamilton to pole as Magnussen crash hurts Verstappen

Image by Steven Tee/LAT

Vettel beats Hamilton to pole as Magnussen crash hurts Verstappen

Formula 1

Vettel beats Hamilton to pole as Magnussen crash hurts Verstappen

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Sebastian Vettel took pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix with a stunning final lap, while Max Verstappen was knocked out in Q2 due to a heavy crash for Kevin Magnussen.

Lewis Hamilton had set the provisional pole position time by 0.2s ahead of Vettel, and improved with his final lap with the Ferraris behind him. While Charles Leclerc was half a second adrift of Hamilton in third, Vettel pulled out an excellent attempt to post a 1m10.240s to beat the championship leader by 0.2s.

The result is Vettel’s first pole position in 17 races, a run stretching back to last year’s German Grand Prix.

End of a long pole dry spell for Vettel,. Image by Joe Portlock/LAT

Even more impressive than Vettel’s lap was the effort by Daniel Ricciardo, who put his Renault on the second row with a sublime final attempt. Ricciardo’s lap of 1m11.071s was just 0.15s off Leclerc and edged out Pierre Gasly by 0.008s in an extremely tight scrap for the second row.

Gasly was the only Red Bull in Q3 after Verstappen’s misfortune, but he outqualified Valtteri Bottas — who had a scruffy final session — by 0.022s. Bottas spun exiting Turn 2 on his first run in Q3, and then made a number of small errors on his final attempt to end up sixth on the grid ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz and Magnussen.

Verstappen had also tried to make it through on mediums but was only 11th quickest and opted for softs for his final run, and was duly set to improve. However, Magnussen tapped the ‘Wall of Champions’ at the end of his lap — with the checkered flag already out -= and the contact damaged his right-rear wheel, pitching him into a spin that saw him hit the inside wall hard.

With the heavily damaged Haas sat on the pit straight, the session was instantly red-flagged and Verstappen could not complete his lap, leaving him eliminated in 11th ahead of Daniil Kvyat, Antonio Giovinazzi, Alexander Albon and Romain Grosjean. Grosjean had made an error on his first run and aborted, so was yet to set a time when Magnussen crashed just ahead of him.

Although the red flag meant Magnussen technically advanced in 10th place, it is likely he will need to change a number of components and face a grid penalty or pit lane start.

Lance Stroll had to use the previous specification of Mercedes power unit after suffering a failure with the phase two unit — introduced on all Mercedes-powered cars this weekend — at the start of FP3. While it hurt his chances of progressing, the Racing Point was surprisingly uncompetitive in Q1 overall as both cars were eliminated.

Sergio Perez still outqualified his teammate for the seventh straight race, but he dropped out in 16th, 0.075s off a spot in Q2. The final place had gone to Giovinazzi, with Kimi Raikkonen also a surprising drop-out in Q1 as he ended up 17th between the Racing Point pair.

As has been the norm this season, Williams was comfortably slowest with George Russell beating teammate Robert Kubica — who sat out FP1 for Nicholas Latifi to drive at his home race — by 0.776s.

 

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