Sebastian Vettel beat Lewis Hamilton to pole position to claim his first pole position since the 2018 German Grand Prix, as Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo popped his Renault into fourth, however both Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen underperformed.
Vettel’s pole time was a 1.10.240s, which gave him a 0.206s advantage over Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, with Charles Leclerc lacking in pace, and finished more than half a second adrift of his Formula 1 team-mate.
Story of the session
As qualifying got underway, the amount of dust strewn onto the circuit meant there was no real rush to take onto circuit. After a couple of minutes, although, Canadian GP race winner Robert Kubica took to circuit first along with his team-mate George Russell.
Lance Stroll, too, was among first to take to circuit after he didn’t even register one timed lap earlier on in FP3, but set a 1.13.219s on his first time, and took him above both the Williams by almost two seconds.
As the front-runners took to circuit, Leclerc set a 1.11.786s, with Vettel’s first lap 0.553s adrift of his team-mate, however the duo were first and second, since rivals Mercedes and Red Bull were yet to set a time.
As Mercedes and Red Bull’s set their laps, Verstappen was an impressive second, with the Mercedes just third and fourth – with Hamilton leading that particular charge.
Once again, the Ferrari’s went for another lap, and Leclerc easily extended his advantage, with a 1.11.481s, edging Vettel by 0.120s, but the real surprise were the two Red Bulls, who were within a tenth.
As the track kept evolving, Mercedes started moving towards the top of the sheets – as Bottas went fastest with a 1.11.229, but that quickly changed, as Vettel and Leclerc soon took over at the top.
As Q1 came to an end, Perez, Raikkonen, Stroll, Russell and Kubica all faced elimination.
As Q2 got underway, Mercedes answered the question everyone was wondering, and both Mercedes took to circuit on the yellow-marked medium tyres, given the high wear numbers on the soft tyres. Ferrari followed suit.
Hamilton’s first lap was a 1.11.336s in his Mercedes, however that time was beaten by Sebastian Vettel by 0.029s, while both Leclerc and Bottas made mistakes on their first laps and had to abort their times. On their next laps, Leclerc went fastest with a 1.11.142s, while Bottas only managed fourth on his next lap, and was lacking more than three tenths on pacesetter Leclerc. However, team-mate Vettel then went on to set a 1.11.142s to go 0.063s faster than his Formula 1 team-mate.
While the front-runners took the medium tyres, the soft-running Pierre Gasly went second fastest, and was just 0.054s adrift off pacesetter Vettel.
As the track continued to evolve, Hamilton soon took to the top of the timesheets with a 1.11.010s, with Bottas going second fastest to make it a Mercedes 1-2 at the top of the order.
As the drivers were completing their final runs, Kevin Magnussen went out at the final corner, which put the red flag out and ruined the laps of many of the driver, including Max Verstappen, who failed to make the cut for Q3.
As Q2 came to an end, Verstappen, Kvyat, Giovinazzi, Albon and Grosjean all faced elimination.
After the long clean-up, the session finally got underway, as the F1 paddock were set for a classic Ferrari vs Mercedes shootout for pole position.
Gasly was first to set a lap, but it was an unimpressive 1.12.185s, before the chaos started.
As the top runners registered their laps, Hamilton edged Vettel out to set a 1.10.493s, heading the Ferrari driver by 0.188s, whilst Charles Leclerc was almost seven tenths adrift in his Ferrari. Bottas, meanwhile, spun at the exit of turn 2, and had to abort his lap.
During the final runs, Vettel sprung a surprise, as he pipped Lewis Hamilton by 0.206s to claim pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix, whilst Ricciardo was up to fourth and out-qualified Daniel Ricciardo.