Sebastian Vettel takes pole for Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix
Pips Lewis Hamilton to front spot on the grid in Montreal
Red Bull's Vettel leads the title race in search of his fourth straight title
Fernando Alonso back in sixth for Ferrari
Three-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel snapped the recent dominance of Mercedes in qualifying to claim pole position Saturday for the Canadian Grand Prix.
Red Bull’s Vettel edged out Lewis Hamilton, who was bidding to give Mercedes their fifth straight top spot on the F1 grid.
In wet conditions on the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit in Montreal, Finland’s Valtteri Bottas took a surprise third on the grid for Williams, who have yet to score a point all season.
“This means a lot. It’s way more up in the grid than we could have imagined. The first six races have been so difficult,” Bottas told the official post-qualifying media conference.
Vettel clocked one minute 25.425 seconds in the concluding top 10 shootout after the second section of qualifying had been briefly held up when Felipe Massa suffered another crash in his Ferrari, coming to grief at Turn Three.
He walked away unscathed, but had to settle for 16th fastest, while his teammate Fernando Alonso of Spain struggled to sixth in a disappointing day for the famous marque.
Alonso, who pushed Vettel so hard for the title last season, is currently third in the standings and the title holder will look to extend his current 29 point advantage over his arch rival in Sunday’s race.
Kimi Raikkonen, second to Vettel, trailing by 21 points, is also way back after setting the ninth best time in his Lotus.
Hamilton, who has a fine record in Montreal with three previous wins, looked set to extend the run of his new team after setting the fastest time in the second part of qualifying.
He was on a late charge in an attempt to beat Vettel’s time, but ran wide at the chicane to end his hopes. “It was unfortunate but I’m still happy,” said the Briton.
His teammate Nico Rosberg, who has taken pole the last three races and won the Monaco Grand Prix, could only manage fourth spot this time, just ahead of Mark Webber in the second Red Bull.
Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo were seventh and 10th for Toro Rosso in another surprise with the McLarens of Sergio Perez and Jenson Button back in 12th and 14th.
Dry conditions are forecast for Sunday’s race, with Vettel looking for his first victory on the circuit.
“I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow, I think we had a strong performance yesterday so whatever happens in terms of conditions it should be good,” said the German.