Senna surprise for Hamilton, Wehrlein crashes out

Michelle Foster

Saturday at the Circuit Gilles Villeneueve belonged to Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton taking pole position – and equalling Ayrton Senna’s tally of 65 – while Pascal Wehrlein supplied the day’s one and only crash.

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel hopped into his Ferrari, ready for the day’s action which saw a P1 for the German in FP3. He was the third driver to lead a practice session this weekend in Canada.

Max Verstappen showed improved pace – and reliability in final practice. It was a promising session for Red Bull Racing.

Zac Brown watches on, hoping, just hoping that both his drivers would make it through the day unscathed. They did in FP3, and did so again in qualifying. Stoffel Vandoorne was out in Q1, P16, while Fernando Alonso was P12.

Pascal Wehrlein brought Q1 to a premature end as he lost the back end of his Sauber, spun and hit the barriers backwards.

Lance Stroll, alas, sadly, unfortunately, dropped out of qualifying in Q1. He’ll blame Pascal Wehrlein’s crash but it was a general lack of pace that cost him.

Daniil Kvyat hit the rear right of his car in qualifying, suffered a right rear puncture, and finished P11.

His team-mate Carlos Sainz had a big moment in Q2  and went off the circuit backwards. He avoided the barrier and was able to continue on his way. Complaining that “traffic is a nightmare”, he qualified P13.

Nico Hulkenberg made it into Q3 again as he was once again Renault’s star driver. The German finished P10.

Valtteri Bottas qualified P3 – he’s either on pole or P3. That’s his story of 2017.

Lewis Hamilton was the man of the moment. He claimed his sixth pole position in Montreal, set a new lap record and equalled Senna’s tally of 65. It was a 1:11.459 for the British racer.

Kimi Raikkonen, despite complaining about his “f******** tyres, came through Q1 on the supersofts, swapped to the ultras for the second two sessions and finished P4.

Sebastian Vettel had to settle for second place in qualifying.

Emotions would then run high for Hamilton, who received a race-worn Ayrton Senna helmet from his icon’s family to celebrate matching his pole position record. A remarkable gesture.