Hamilton ties Senna with Canadian GP pole

Lewis Hamilton says that his charge to Formula 1 pole position in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix on Saturday proves Mercedes can take the fight to pace-setters Ferrari, although he still expects a challenging race in Montreal.

Asked whether surpassing Senna's marks meant more than Schumacher's, Hamilton said: "I haven't got to the 68 of Michael so I can't really say".

The session was packed with incidents with many cars struggling and spinning - including Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Haas, who spun three times, Vettel and Verstappen, as they sought the limits of their performance.

Speaking at a routine pre-race news conference ahead of the 50th running of the popular North American event, he revealed a flash of deeply-held emotion when he recalled seeing his father in the crowd below the podium 10 years previously. To match him and receive this is the greatest honour.

"The circuit is not going to suit our vehicle as much as the twisty, slower corners of Monaco, but I'm excited to get back and catch up with the guys and girls in the team".

"I was really trying hard, it was a tricky day for me and I wasn't happy at all with the vehicle in FP3". The first sector was fantastic and I just managed to be a little bit up on each one. I can't quite believe that it all came together so well.

"I remember coming home from school and putting on video tape of Ayrton so it is really odd to think that now I'm here and I have that many poles".

"And being that it is the most hard season of my career racing these great guys [Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas] and Kimi [Raikkonen], and having us so close, it pushes us all to the limit, it relies on us to be ideal". "Lewis did a better job today and got a good lap".

Hamilton led away from pole and remained unchallenged throughout the 70-lap race to cross the line 19.7 seconds clear of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

"At the time while doing the lap I had no comprehension that I was going for my 65th".

"I was confident to go with the 1st lap", Mr. Vettel said.

"I think as a team we've been closer and more united than we've ever been". He was locked out of a chance to improve when a crash by Pascal Wehrlein ended the first qualifying session early.

The two-time world champion re-joins McLaren Honda after missing last month's Monaco Grand Prix to race at the Indianapolis 500.

"I think we have (got the pace to win tomorrow)", Vettel said. "Even though the tires are hard to warm up, they're very consistent and you can push throughout the run, so I think it's going to be an interesting race", Alonso said.

The British driver's five wins at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve included victories from pole position the last two years, but it is a closer battle with Ferrari this year with F1 moving to somewhat bigger, more powerful cars.

"We knew all weekend it would be very close".

  • Julie Sanders