Verstappen storms to pole in thrilling Canada qualifying; Hülkenberg a sensational P2

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Qualifying started with the drivers on inters with the rain on and off throughout the day in Montréal.

Zhou Guanyu hit trouble instantly as he reported he had no drive coming out of the pits. The Chinese driver stopped in the turn 7 run-off, but got going again after a red flag was thrown. He limped back to the pits during that period.

Sargeant, Albon and Bottas managed to set times before it was thrown. The session resumed with just over 14 minutes remaining.

Verstappen was the first driver out and instantly smashed the time of Sargeant with a 1:24.106. Alonso was the first driver in the 1:23s as he pumped in a 1:23.581.

The Dutchman immediately responded as he did a 1:22.843, but back came his fellow two-time World Champion with a 1:22.655. The Red Bull got back on top as a 1:21.988 lowered the benchmark ever further.

Leclerc, Hülkenberg, Hamilton, Ocon completed the top 6 with 8 minutes to go.

Verstappen led Alonso, Leclerc, Russell, Sainz, Ocon, Norris, Hamilton, Albon, Hulkenberg with 5 minutes to go.

De Vries, Piastri, Tsunoda, Sargeant and Guanyu found themselves in the relegation zone with 4 minutes to go.

Leclerc was left frustrated as Tsunoda blocked him at the final chicane as he completed a lap.

Pierre Gasly’s qualifying was ruined as he got savagely blocked by Tsunoda and Sainz in the last chicane.

At the front, a 1:20.851 from Max Verstappen saw him fastest in the session by 0.670s from Alonso. Alex Albon starred and was 6th quickest in the Williams.

Nico Hülkenberg squeezed through in P15 as he was a mere 0.016s quicker than Tsunoda in the AlphaTauri.

Tsunoda, Gasly, De Vries, Sargeant and Guanyu were the five cars eliminated.

Despite some off track and grassy moments, nobody hit the wall.


The track continued to get drier and drier and Williams rolled the dice by putting Albon on softs at the start of Q2.

The World Champion posted a 1:20.135 to immediately beat his Q1 time. Piastri slotted into P2 in the McLaren, followed by Alonso, Leclerc and Sainz.

Mercedes’ George Russell put in a 1:20.098 to go faster than the Dutchman.

Home hero Lance Stroll had a massive spin at turn 5 and somehow managed to avoid breaking his car, although he did gently clip the wall at high speed with his front wing.

On his first lap using softs, Albon did a purple final sector and eventually went fastest on the next lap as he did a 1:19.471. The Thai went even quicker as he banged in a 1:18.725.

Verstappen, Norris, Piastri, Alonso, Sainz, Russell, Hülkenberg, Ocon and Hamilton completed the top 10 with 5 minutes to go. Those times were set on a mix of softs and inters with some extra rain causing havoc.

Leclerc and Pérez switched back to the inters as the track got wetter again towards the end of Q2. However, they couldn’t improve and got knocked out as they missed the moment during the middle part of Q2. The Monegasque was angry at his team once again as his tyres weren’t ready.

Stroll, Magnussen and Bottas joined the Ferrari and Red Bull drivers in departing.


The heavy rain returned and everyone was back on inters for the final segment of qualifying.

Verstappen was first out yet again and did a 1:27.059 to kick things off. Alonso was purple in S2 but missed out by a couple of tenths. A 1:25.858 from the Dutchman lowered the benchmark even further. That would turn out to be the pole lap.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

McLaren’s Oscar Piastri brought out the red flags as he lost the rear on the exit of turn 7 and hit the wall, damaging the right rear suspension.

Just before the red flag came, Nico Hülkenberg slotted his Haas into P2, 1.244s slower than the Red Bull man. Alonso, Hamilton, Russell and Ocon were also in the 1:27s. Norris, Sainz, Piastri and Albon completed the top 10.

The session resumed with 7 minutes remaining but the big deluge that started just before Q3 and continued during the session meant there was no chance to improve.

It’s a memorable and historic day for Haas as Nico Hülkenberg will start P2 tomorrow. For the first time in their history, they’ll start a Grand Prix from the front row.

Photo credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

There will be multiple impeding investigations after qualifying. The grid is very likely to change for tomorrow.