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F1 Canadian GP: Russell pips Verstappen for pole with identical lap times

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The Briton set his best lap of Q3 in the opening runs, posting a 1m12.000s to lay down a benchmark for the final runs at the end of the session. He was joined in the top two by Lewis Hamilton after those opening laps, but fresh tyres at the end of the session looked set to change the dynamic.

Verstappen used them to set a rapid opening sector, but could not hit the heights of Russell's second sector and crossed the line to set exactly the same time as the Mercedes driver - another 1m12.000s - but was second thanks to the order their laps were set in.

"It feels so good, so much hard work gone on back at the factory. We said in Monaco we hoped this was the start of the season," Russell said. "It's awesome when we come to Montreal. First bit done, but now we've got to fight for that win."

"Let's go for it. Since we brought some upgrades to Monaco we've really been in that fight so we're going for it tomorrow."

Lando Norris beat team-mate Oscar Piastri to third place, having been just 0.021s shy of Russell and Verstappen's laps, while Daniel Ricciardo responded to criticism over his performances in 2024 by placing his RB in fifth place, ahead of Fernando Alonso.

Hamilton could not improve in his final lap and thus had to be content with seventh, and will start alongside RB's Yuki Tsunoda on Sunday's grid. Lance Stroll and Alex Albon completed the top 10, as both impressed in qualifying trim.

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were both surprise eliminations from Q2 as neither Ferrari driver could tap into the demands of the Montreal circuit - Sainz stating that he had no grip and Leclerc aborting his final lap after failing to improve.

Both drivers attempted to stay in the top 10 with the same used soft tyres pressed into service at the end of Q1, but these were long past their best and paved Ferrari's way to an early exit.

Logan Sargeant qualified 13th, having initially held his own among the top 10 throughout the session, but felt that he was impeded. Nonetheless, he was a scant 0.008s shy of Sainz's lap to earn praise from Williams team principal James Vowles over the radio. Kevin Magnussen and Pierre Gasly were the other drivers who were knocked out in the intermediate qualifying stage.

Sergio Perez was dumped out in Q1 for the second consecutive race, losing his precarious grasp on progressing to Q2 when Albon rocketed out of the drop zone in the final moments of the session.

The Mexican had spent much of the session lingering in the bottom half of the field and sat in the drop zone with five minutes left; although he improved, he fell back into the bottom five once again, days after securing his new two-year Red Bull deal.

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Valtteri Bottas also fell into the drop zone having been unable to improve sufficiently in his final run, just under a tenth from safety, while Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg, and Zhou Guanyu also dropped out at the first hurdle.

Canada Canadian Grand Prix - Qualifying

   
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Cla Driver # Chassis Engine Laps Time Interval km/h
1 United Kingdom G. Russell Mercedes 63 Mercedes Mercedes 26

1'12.000

  218.050
2 Netherlands M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1 Red Bull Red Bull 27

+0.000

1'12.000

0.000 218.050
3 United Kingdom L. Norris McLaren 4 McLaren Mercedes 25

+0.021

1'12.021

0.021 217.986
4 Australia O. Piastri McLaren 81 McLaren Mercedes 29

+0.103

1'12.103

0.082 217.738
5 Australia D. Ricciardo RB 3 RB Red Bull 25

+0.178

1'12.178

0.075 217.512
6 Spain F. Alonso Aston Martin Racing 14 Aston Martin Mercedes 23

+0.228

1'12.228

0.050 217.361
7 United Kingdom L. Hamilton Mercedes 44 Mercedes Mercedes 26

+0.280

1'12.280

0.052 217.205
8 Japan Y. Tsunoda RB 22 RB Red Bull 24

+0.414

1'12.414

0.134 216.803
9 Canada L. Stroll Aston Martin Racing 18 Aston Martin Mercedes 25

+0.701

1'12.701

0.287 215.947
10 Thailand A. Albon Williams 23 Williams Mercedes 26

+0.796

1'12.796

0.095 215.665

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