Vettel takes 1st pole of season with blistering lap in Montreal

Sebastian Vettel is finally back at the front of the grid.

A stunning qualifying lap on Saturday in Montreal saw the German top championship leader Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc to grab pole position for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Vettel, 55 points adrift of Hamilton heading into the weekend, finished 0.206 seconds quicker than his Mercedes counterpart. Leclerc, meanwhile, was 0.680 seconds back of top spot.

It’s Vettel’s maiden pole of the campaign and first in 17 races overall.

“I wish I could do the lap again just for the fun of it. I really enjoyed it,” the 31-year-old said after emerging from his SF90.

Saturday’s result signals just the second time in seven races this year that one of Hamilton or Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas didn’t nab pole position. The Finn, who struggled mightily in Q3, will start a disappointing sixth.

Elsewhere, it was a good day for Renault, as Daniel Ricciardo qualified fourth fastest, and Nico Hulkenberg grabbed seventh spot.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who at times this season has looked the most credible threat to Mercedes’ dominance, was forced to settle for 11th. The Dutch driver was knocked out in Q2 on Saturday after a Kevin Magnussen crash scuppered his last flying lap of the session.

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