Sebastian Vettel rocketed to his 54th pole position in Formula 1 after topping the timesheets in a closely-fought qualifying session for the Canadian Grand Prix on Saturday in Montreal as Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull were separated by less than two-tenths of a second.

Aided by Ferrari's newly-upgraded power unit introduced for this weekend, Vettel managed to produce two laps good enough for pole in Q3, ending the session with a fastest time of 1m10.764s, which also stands a a new track record around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The Ferrari driver edged out Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas by just 0.093 seconds in the final fight for pole, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen finishing 0.173s off pole in third place.

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Six-time Canadian Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton was left to settle for fourth place in the second Mercedes, making an error at the hairpin on his final lap that prevented him from getting in the thick of the fight at the front of the pack.

Kimi Raikkonen clinched fifth place for Ferrari ahead of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who despite being less than four-tenths of a second back from Vettel was a lowly sixth on the grid.

Both Red Bull drivers will start the race on Hypersofts tomorrow, while the Ferrari and Mercedes runners will all line up on the grid with Ultrasofts after making it through Q2 on the purple-ringed compound tyres, opening up a variety of strategy options.

Nico Hulkenberg led the midfield fight for Renault in P7, finishing one-tenth of a second clear of Force India's Esteban Ocon in eighth. Their respective teammates followed in ninth and 10th, with Carlos Sainz Jr. finishing half a second clear of Sergio Perez.

Kevin Magnussen narrowly missed out on a place in the top-10 shootout, qualifying 11th, but will have the highest starting spot with a free choice of starting tyre on Sunday for Haas.

Brendon Hartley secured his best qualifying result for five races as he charged to 12th for Toro Rosso, acting as a boost for the under-pressure New Zealander. Sauber’s Charles Leclerc was able to continue his recent good run, reaching Q2 for the fourth race in a row en route to P13.

McLaren had a qualifying to forgot as both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne were knocked out in Q2, marking the team’s worst Saturday display since Baku. The pair were split by just nine-thousandths of a second, with Alonso taking 14th ahead of Vandoorne in P15.

After being forced to revert to his previous-spec Honda power unit following FP3 due to an issue, Pierre Gasly was unable to make it through Q1 for Toro Rosso, finishing 16th as he missed out on a Q2 berth by less than half a tenth of a second.

Williams suffered its fifth double Q1 knockout of the season as Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin finished 17th and 18th, more than half a second adrift of the top 15.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson qualified a lowly 19th after touching the wall on the exit of the chicane at Turn 9, damaging his car to bring his session to an early end. There were even bigger issues for Romain Grosjean at Haas, though, as an engine failure upon leaving the garage at the start of the session meant the Frenchman didn’t even make it beyond the end of the pit lane.



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