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Max clinches emphatic pole position in Montreal: 'Super happy'

Published on 18 June 2022 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen mastered a wet qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix, claiming a dominant pole position ahead of Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“The conditions were tricky”, said the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver, after parking his RB18 at the no. 1 sign on the start/finish straight. “We stayed calm and didn’t make any mistakes and made the right decisions in the last part of qualifying. I’m super happy to be on pole here.”

The reigning champion enjoyed being back at the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve, with the Montreal based track returning to the F1 calendar following cancellations in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. “It’s great to be back here and see so many fans. I love driving here. It really gives you that go-kart feel because of the proper kerbstones. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, but I’m not expecting a straightforward race.”

At the start of qualifying, the rain is still hovering across the Isle de Notre Dam with all drivers circling round on the full-wet Pirelli tyres. Despite the challenging conditions, all drivers make it safely to the end of Q1, but Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Nicholas Latifi (Williams) and Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) do not make the cut to progress to Q2.

At the start of the second part of qualifying, the rain has stopped. Nevertheless, the track is still wet and proving treacherous. Alex Albon is the first to find the limit and crosses it by going nose-first into the barriers at turn six. Thankfully, Albon keeps the car running and is able to reverse his Williams before trundling back to the pits for a new front wing.

Sergio Perez is less lucky. The Mexican is unable to make turn three and slides straight into the barrier. Although the Mexican keeps the engine running and is able to select reverse gear, the RB18’s front wing is wedged into the barriers, meaning the car is stuck. The session is red flagged to allow the marshals to move the Red Bull and rearrange the barriers.

When the session resumes, all drivers head out on intermediates as the lap times continue to drop. Max and Alonso set the pace with Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo), Lando Norris (McLaren), Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and Albon joining Perez in the quintet of drivers to strand in Q2.

In Q3, the ten remaining drivers all opt to start on the intermediates, with Max once again setting the pace from the start, holding on to P1 throughout the session. George Russell is the only driver attempting a lap on slicks. The Englishman losing control of his Mercedes in turn two of his flying lap, confirms that the track is still too damp for slicks.

Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz are the only two drivers within a second of Max with the former six tenths adrift and the latter eight tenths, highlighting Max’ stellar form throughout qualifying as he lines up in first place on Sunday’s starting grid.

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Results qualifying Canada:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing RBPT1:32.2191:23.7461:21.299
2Fernando AlonsoALOAlpine Renault1:32.2771:24.8481:21.944
3Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:32.7811:25.1971:22.096
4Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:33.8411:25.5431:22.891
5Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:32.9571:26.2541:22.960
6Mick SchumacherMSCHaas Ferrari1:33.7071:25.6841:23.356
7Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:33.0121:26.1351:23.529
8George RussellRUSMercedes1:33.1601:24.9501:23.557
9Daniel RicciardoRICMcLaren Mercedes1:33.6361:26.3751:23.749
10Zhou GuanyuZHOAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:33.6921:26.1161:24.030
11Valtteri BottasBOTAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:33.6891:26.788
12Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:34.0471:26.858
13Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing RBPT1:33.9291:33.127
14Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:34.066DNF
15Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:33.008
16Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri RBPT1:34.492
17Sebastian VettelVETAston Martin Mercedes1:34.512
18Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:35.532
19Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes1:35.660
20Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri RBPT1:36.575