Sebastian Vettel bags Ferrari's first Canada pole since 2001

"The auto was incredible in qualifying and it just kept getting quicker", said Vettel, whose Ferrari team were using new engines.

But Ferrari often start weekends slowly only to leap up the timing sheets on Saturday when it matters, and Vettel was only 0.272secs behind Verstappen's pace-setting lap. "I'm exhausted of all the comments that I should change", he said.

First and foremost, the headline lap times of both Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas were misleading.

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 Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen, under pressure to clean up his act after a string of crashes and costly errors, has clocked the fastest time in both free practice sessions for the Canadian Grand Prix. Vettel's best lap time of one minute 10.776 seconds bested the record of 1:11.459 set past year by Mercedes ace Lewis Hamilton. "It was a bit surprising, there was no way for me to carry on".

Before qualifying, Verstappen had posted the fastest lap in all three practice sessions. "The auto was working well, but we are still lacking a bit of top speed and you could see that in the long runs".

"It was great to carry the momentum we've had this year into qualifying", said Vettel, who took pole position for the fourth time in seven races this season. On a track like this when you have to attack kerbs so much it's important you feel at home and have confidence to play around and I think then you can extract a bit more from the auto.

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Meanwhile, qualifying didn't start as planned for Romain Grosjean.

The Dutchman, who has had a hard start to the season with a series of crashes and errors, said: "I am really happy with this weekend so far".

Hamilton tops the championship leaderboard as he pursues his fifth Formula One title.

Mercedes asked for so few hyper-softs because they believe it will be a poor race tyre but Red Bull proved at the last race in Monaco that they can run it longer and more competitively than other teams and Verstappen is confident he can challenge the Ferraris and Mercedes in the race.

It was the second time this season Verstappen has failed to finish.

"I think we looked quite competitive and it was a positive start to the weekend".

And then a quick new track record for Vettel, knocking spots off the Mercedes with 1:10.776.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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