Sebastian Vettel will start from pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix in his Red Bull having edged out Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes in a damp qualifying session in Montreal. Rain fell intermittently throughout qualifying and Williams rookie Valtteri Bottas took full advantage to claim a stunning third spot. Behind the Finn will be the other Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and the second Red Bull of Mark Webber in fourth and fifth, respectively. It was a disappointing day for Vettel’s title rivals with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso starting in sixth and Kimi Raikkonen forced to start from 10th, following a two-spot grid penalty.
Unsurprisingly, championship leader Vettel sounded in good spirits about his chances on Sunday. “I’m happy the lap was good enough, as it was tight with Lewis,” he said, according to the official Formula One website. “For us, I am extremely happy with the result and looking forward to the race tomorrow. I think we had strong pace yesterday, so no matter what the conditions we should be in decent shape.”
Vettel was just 0.087seconds ahead of Hamilton after the British driver had looked poised to take pole at the last before missing the final turn in the trying conditions. Despite that disappointment, Hamilton believes he can enjoy a strong race.
“The car felt great yesterday in the dry so we'll keep our fingers crossed that the rain stays away for the race and hopefully we can give Seb a run for his money,” he said. “We've got a good car and I feel like I'm on it here so let's see what we can do tomorrow.”
It is Bottas that was the star of the show, though, as he made the most of the uncertain conditions and was high up the timing charts in each of the three periods of qualifying. Following a dismal start to the season for Williams, in which they have failed to score a single point, it was a welcome boost.
“It’s a great feeling to qualify in third place and the team did a really good job today,” the 23-year-old said. “The showers made the track very slippery but this suited us as the car handled the conditions well. We were on the right tires at the right time which was so important today.”
It was a frustrating day all-round for Lotus. Raikkonen’s teammate Romain Grosjean failed to get out of Q1 and will start from the back of the grid as he serves a 10-place grid penalty for crashing into Daniel Ricciardo at Monaco two weeks ago.
It was another poor showing for McLaren with Jenson Button and Sergio Perez failing to make it out of Q2 and starting down in 14th and 12th spots, respectively.
Where to watch: the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix will get underway at 2 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by NBC, with a live stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.