Lewis Hamilton takes pole for Canadian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton produced a phenomenal last-second lap to take pole for McLaren at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Hamilton continued his form from the final practice session -and was aggressive throughout -to finally end the Red Bull dominance of pole this season.
There were no surprises in Q1 as the new teams all dropped out. Pedro De La Rosa outpaced team mate Kamui Kobayashi to make it through to Q2, as none of the eight Montreal rookies crashed during qualifying as all drivers made it home safe ahead of tomorrow’s race.
An entertaining Q2 followed as a quick lap from Renault’s Robert Kubica led the way with a time of 1:15.682 before Sebastian Vettel with a 1:15.556, and Hamilton came back with a 1:15:528.
Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher both struggled for pace in Q2 as both Force India drivers made it through to Q3, but Button produced a late quick lap to ensure he made the final session.
Schumacher faltered under pressure to produce a lap, missing the final chicane to ruin his last attempt, and became the surprise drop out from Q2. He will start 13th on the grid for tomorrow’s race -undoubtedly the worst moment of his comeback season.
Hamilton also set the early benchmark in Q3 with a 1:15:500 -a second ahead of Button. The Red Bull drivers, and Kubica went out on the harder tyre, while Hamilton and Ferrari went with the soft tyres to push McLaren.
The choice on tyres means we’ll see teams on different tyre strategies for the first time this year since the refuelling ban came in, which should make the race even more interesting tomorrow as it battles with the World Cup for viewers.
Webber set a 1:15:990 with three minutes of the session remaining, but went quicker in the first sector of his next lap to set a 1:15:534 behind Hamilton.
Fernando Alonso then set the fastest lap with 1:15:435 at the end of his one run of four laps, before Webber set a time of 1:15:373 to seemingly take an incredible eighth pole for Red Bull this season.
Hamilton failed to improve on what would have been his final run, but crossed the line with just seconds left to make one final run, setting the quickest first sector, and snatching pole with a stunning time of 1:15:105.
Vettel then blew his chance of pole while on a hot lap as he missed the final chicane, but recovered to move up to third with his own very quick final lap.
Button took fifth behind Alonso, followed by a Vitantonio Liuzzi in sixth after a stunning run for Force India. Massa took seventh, four tenths slower than his team mate Alonso, with Kubica just behind him.
Adrian Sutil finished ninth as both Force India cars out-qualified the Mercedes works car of Nico Rosberg who rounded out the top 10.
Hamilton has now taken pole every year he’s been to Montreal, winning his first race in 2007, but crashed in the pits in 2008 while battling to lead the race.
Sunday’s race could give us another F1 classic, and Hamilton will need to make good use of his tyres in the early laps, on what will probably be a two-stop strategy, as the track quickly eats them.