Lewis Hamilton has effortlessly taken pole position at the Canadian Grand Prix from a hapless Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton spoke all week about putting the misery of losing Monaco behind him and, despite a crash in FP2 and a lack of running FP3, had no issues setting his pole time with his first Q3 run.
He held a three-tenths of a second advantage over Nico Rosberg, who was told his first set of tyres had warm-up problems, but the margin didn’t change when both Mercedes men switched to new supersofts for their final runs.
“What a rubbish end of qualifying,” exclaimed Rosberg over team radio after completing his final lap, with which he was unable to improve his time.
Hamilton, on the other hand, was happy to be back at his spiritual racing home.
“I feel amazing today,” said Hamilton. “It wasn’t the easiest of days — FP3 was quite tough and I didn’t complete any laps. It’s mostly my fault, but I was going into qualifying a bit blind.
The first [Q3] lap was pretty good, [but] it could’ve been better. It was tough out there with these tyres, which are hard to switch on, but I enjoyed it.
Hamilton said Mercedes was wary of the Ferrari threat, but emphasised the interrupted weekend has failed to reveal the true pace of the field.
“Ferrari have picked up their pace this weekend,” he confirmed. “Fortunately I think we’ve managed to at least maintain the pace we have, or we have tried to improve in some areas
“I think they have good race pace — I think they have more degradation, but I don’t know — but tomorrow’s a bit of an unknown.”
Kimi Räikkönen deputised for Sebastian Vettel in third after the German had engine problems that left him near the back of the grid.
The Ferrari, equipped with an upgraded engine, was thought to be a closer match with the Mercedes cars, but a mistake on Räikkönen’s final flying lap masked the true gap as 0.6 seconds off pole.
Valtteri Bottas came within just 0.09 seconds of usurping his compatriot, however, with him similarly being the sole runner for Williams after Massa encountered engine trouble in Q3.
Romain Grosjean qualified his Lotus in a fantastic fifth, one tenth behind Bottas and 1.3 seconds ahead of teammate Pastor Maldonado, who also put together a solid qualifying session.
Nico Hülkenberg qualified a further three-tenths back to lead the midfield in qualifying, keeping at bay closely matched Red Bull Racing teammates Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo in eighth and ninth by 0.4 seconds and putting 0.7 second between himself and teammate Sergio Perez in tenth.
The second segment of qualifying presented a more predictable affair, with the expected midfield cars knocked out, along with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.
Carlos Sainz again outshone Max Verstappen to edge him by two-tenths of a second to P11, and was separated by a painfully thin 0.036 seconds from Daniel Ricciardo in tenth.
Max Verstappen, however, is carrying a 15-place grid penalty — five for crashing into Romain Grosjean in Monaco and 10 for using his fifth power unit of the year — so will start from the back of the grid.
He is only able to serve eight of those place, however, meaning the remaining seven will be converted into a 10-second time penalty, to be applied to his race time.
Marcus Ericsson in thirteenth led Alonso, who was the sole McLaren qualifier, in fourteenth and teammate Felipe Nasr in P15.
Despite excellent weather and track conditions, Formula One found a way to spice up qualifying by striking down the engines of Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa.
The latter was able to circulate throughout the session but complained of a lack of power being delivered by his Mercedes power unit.
Vettel, on the other hand, spent almost all of Q1 in the garage with an MGU-H problem — the unit that recovers energy from the exhaust and spin the turbo to reduce turbo lag.
The German was similarly down on power, and had just two flying laps to attempt to break out of the bottom five.
It wasn’t to be around the power-demanding Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, however, and Vettel and Massa qualified in sixteenth and seventeenth, slowest of all bar the Manor cars.
Roberto Merhi outqualified teammate Will Stevens in eighteenth and nineteenth.
Jenson Button did not qualify after his engine stopped with an ERS problem during FP3, which his McLaren mechanics were unable to rectify in time for qualifying.
PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING RESULTS
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:15.614||1.221s|
|8||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:16.079||1.686s|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:16.114||1.721s|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:16.338||1.945s|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:16.042||–|
|19||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:16.245||–|