Hamilton claims 65th career pole
Briton equals Senna's pole tally
Vettel second on grid, Bottas third
Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix on pole after setting a blistering pace in Saturday’s qualifying session in Montreal.
The three-time Formula One world champion set the fastest lap ever seen at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve circuit by an F1 car clocking one minute 11.459 seconds around the 4.361-kilometer (2.709-mile) track.
In doing so, Hamilton equaled the career pole tally of his hero Ayrton Senna who started from the front of the grid 65 times during a glittering F1 career.
Ferrari’s Sebatian Vettel pushed the Briton all the way – at one point just four one-thousandths of a second separated the pair, before Hamilton found even more speed as the clocked ticked down in the top 10 shootout.
“Montreal been good to me over the years and it’s been a battle with Ferrari – they’ve been quick all year,” Hamilton said.
Most poles in Formula One
“It was a sexy lap. I can’t believe it came together so well. The team did a fantastic job. I owe it all to them.”
The celebrations didn’t end there for Hamilton who was then presented with a race-worn Senna helmet, donated by the late Brazilian driver’s family.
“I’m shaking,” Hamilton said, gazing at his hero’s crash helmet.
“To receive this and match him is a great honor. Ayrton inspired me to be where I am today – a big thank you to the Senna family.”
The 32-year-old is now just three short of the all-time pole record set by seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.
Hamilton will be gunning for a sixth victory in Canada on Sunday with his Mercedes car seemingly over the troubles that dogged him around the streets of Monaco two weekends ago where he finished seventh.
The race around the Principality was dominated by Ferrari, but Vettel, who currently leads Hamilton by 25 points in the F1 Drivers’ Championship, will do well to repel what appears to be a resurgent Mercedes team.
Vettel will start with Hamilton ahead of him and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas directly behind after the Finn qualified third with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen joining his compatriot on the second row of the grid.
The third row of the grid is a lockout for the Red Bull pairing of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, with Williams’ Felipe Massa finishing seventh and Sergio Perez in eighth for the Force India team.
Elsewhere, Fernando Alonso, returning to F1 after his Indy 500 hiatus, finished qualifying down in 12th while Massa’s teammate, rookie Lance Stroll had a disappointing qualifying in front of his home crowd and will start Sunday’s grand prix down in 17th place.