Sebastian Vettel takes Montreal pole, Lewis Hamilton only fourth

Verstappen leads first Canadian GP practice			Image by Zak Mauger  LAT

Verstappen leads first Canadian GP practice Image by Zak Mauger LAT

Despite that, Mercedes performed well in all three practice sessions followed by a superb effort from Bottas in qualifying.

When asked if he felt Red Bull had the pace for pole after seeing teammate Daniel Ricciardo go quickest in Q2, he said: "I knew we had a good auto, but I wanted to wait and see how competitive we would be in Q3".

Again, Kimi Raikkonen led the Ferrari charge in second place, but Monaco victor Daniel Ricciardo, who missed a large chunk of FP2 as mechanics rushed to fix a mechanical problem, was able to end the day third. "Starting last is never ideal, but it's one of those racetracks where you can overtake, so luckily it's not Monaco".

The 20-year-old has been in impressive form this weekend, but the lack of Renault power in the final sector of this high-power circuit cost him the chance to usurp Vettel as the sport's youngest ever pole sitter.

"When I heard whispers about a potential penalty here, I was like, 'I'll take it in Paul Ricard, but not here, '" Ricciardo said. "There was some electrical stuff going on that hindered us this morning and then this afternoon, so not the best day, but we're OK". Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have dominated the field this season. "I think we can do a good job". That was about 5 one-hundredths of a second ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. It would be much more of a problem if I would be really slow, because that is a critical problem.' When pushed further to explain why he had crashed so much this year, Verstappen replied: 'Like I said I get a bit exhausted of all the questions.

"But today we switched on". The auto was incredible, it just kept getting quicker.

Hamilton tops the championship leaderboard as he pursues his fifth Formula One title. "I don't know", he said when asked why he had had so many accidents. "They were not great laps. Ferrari did a better job today and that's just the way it is". A seventh would tie him with Michael Schumacher as the Grand Prix's most successful driver. The same spot has seen many crashes involving world champion drivers over the years.

Alonso qualified 14th, one place ahead of his team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, to mark his worst grid position in Canada since his opening season at minnows Minardi in 2001.

Both Williams drivers hit the wall, Canadian Lance Stroll suffering a puncture, while in an earlier incident Renault's German driver Nico Hulkenberg came to a halt with an engine failure on track.

Romain Grosjean squeezed Carlos Sainz and Felipe Massa paid the price, and Sebastian Vettel dropped out of contention when he broke his front wing but used a two-stopper to race his way back up the field to fourth.

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