With the track drying, Russell decided to venture out on slick tyres in the closing three minutes of qualifying at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

While a dry line was appearing, the track was still very wet with a number of puddles situated at the first sequence of corners.

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Russell lost control of his Mercedes on his first flying lap at Turns 1 and 2, sustaining some minor damage to the rear of his car in the process.

He ultimately qualified eighth when a top three qualifying position was potentially on the cards had he stuck with the intermediates.

Explaining his gamble after the session, he said: “It’s high risk, high reward. I think it was literally just Turn 1. Had that been as dry as the other corners, we could have been in a really good place. I am surprised that we are still only half a second away from P4. 

“We showed some really strong place today but as I said on the radio, I am not here to settle here for P4, P5, we need to try things. Points are tomorrow and I am glad we tried something different.”

Russell favoured the switch to the slicks as the same strategy worked at the Russian Grand Prix last year when he secured third on the grid for Williams.

“I wouldn’t have been able to get into the pits, change the tyres and go again,” Russell added. “It was just literally too wet there, it was just a dry line but both times I went through there wasn’t enough grip. 

“We saw it in Sochi last year when we took a risk with three other drivers put on the slicks and I qualified third in the Williams. I was thinking about that in the back of my mind but as I said, we’ve had worse qualifyings this year in normal circumstances. P4, P3, would have been nice, I definitely had the pace to do that but points are tomorrow.”

Hamilton’s best result of the year

Teammate Lewis Hamilton enjoyed his best qualifying session of the year with fourth.

The seven-time champion moved onto the front row of the grid but was beaten by Carlos Sainz and then Fernando Alonso.

After a tough run of results, Hamilton was delighted with his qualifying in Canada.

“Honestly, I feel amazing. I am so happy,” Hamilton said. “P4 has never felt so good if I am being honest. Maybe when I was like in my first year racing in 2007 when I got my first P4 in quali, it felt great then. 

“This kind of feels like that but particularly because it’s been a really, really difficult year. What we have been faced with today, it’s difficult for everyone out there. Really so happy to have us up there and put us in the position. Everyone is working so hard and we are constantly facing these challenges with this car. 

“We did a lot of work overnight. We went two different directions yesterday just to try and get the information. George’s way happened to be a lot better so the car didn’t feel that great through the session. I think tomorrow we should be in a much better position. We have slightly different setups still for the race but we are in a great position so hopefully, I can hold the position at least.”