Vettel claims pole for Canadian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen has posted the fasted lap in the first practice at the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver set a track record with a time of one minute, 10.764 seconds, ahead of Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Given his struggles to find a good balance since the start of Friday practice, Ricciardo feels he can take comfort in how he performed on Saturday afternoon.

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen will line up in fifth with Monaco Grand Prix victor Daniel Ricciardo sixth for Red Bull.

Championship leader and defending champion Lewis Hamilton was down in fourth for Mercedes - his hopes of a fourth consecutive pole in Canada ended - ahead of Finn Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari.

Verstappen's decision-making has been challenged following crashes at Baku, when he and Ricciardo took each other out of contention for the podium, and at Monaco, when the Dutchman missed qualifying after crashing at the end of the third practice session.

"The auto was incredible in qualifying and it just kept getting quicker", said Vettel, whose Ferrari team were using new engines. Gilles Villeneuve, the favourite driver of Enzo Ferrari and I think his charisma, his character that he brought to Formula One, to racing in general, is still alive today. It didn't make any difference to him ultimately, mind, going through P4. "The auto was working well".

F1-Canadian GP Auto Racing
Lewis Hamilton lost ground to his rivals in qualifying

Four-time world champion Hamilton has had six poles and six wins overall in Canada and arrived seeking a record-equalling seventh victory.

Vettel - who trails his rival by 14 points in the standings - will have the chance to close the gap after securing his team's first pole at the venue since 2001. 'Two [incidents] were my fault, but I had three in one weekend in 2016 in Monaco, ' he added.

Mercedes did not practice on the hypersoft tires, leaving Ricciardo wondering if he has seen their best effort. But I just struggled in the session and wasn't able to pull it through. "If we got in that mess around here on this circuit, it is not as bad as Monaco but it is still very hard to make much progress here".

"I'm very happy with this weekend so far", said Verstappen, who has been much criticized for his mistakes this season. "The auto was incredible, and it just kept getting quicker".

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.

Lance Stroll suffered a puncture when he brushed the "wall of champions" at the final chicane and team-mate Sergey Sirotkin spun and touched the wall at Turn Seven late in the session.

  • Julie Sanders