x

Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Sebastian Vettel on pole for Canada GP as Max Verstappen confident he can fight for win

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton only fourth on grid in Montreal for race that begins at 10pm on Sunday night UAE time

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel will start from pole position in Canada. Graham Hughes / The Canadian Press via AP
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel will start from pole position in Canada. Graham Hughes / The Canadian Press via AP

Formula One drivers' championship leader Lewis Hamilton handed the advantage to rival Sebastian Vettel after a mistake on his final run left him only fourth on the grid for Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix.

Vettel, who trails Hamilton by 14 points in the title race, took pole position with a track record of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to finish ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen placed third in the dying moments of the qualifying session to bump defending champion Hamilton further down the order.

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen will line up in fifth with Monaco Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo sixth for Red Bull.

__________

Read more

Keep calm and Sebastian Vettel can steer his way to F1 championship with Ferrari

Red Bull's Adrian Newey backs Max Verstappen to bounce back from slump

__________

Verstappen's crash last time out in Monaco marked his fifth big mistake from six rounds, and he arrived in North America threatening to "headbutt someone" following a series of questions about his accident-prone campaign.

The 20-year-old has been in impressive form this weekend, but the lack of Renault power in the final sector of this high-power circuit cost him the chance to usurp Vettel as the sport's youngest ever pole sitter.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner congratulated Verstappen on finishing third, with the Dutchman replaying: "I guess it shows I still know how to drive."

Verstappen added: "I'm very happy with this weekend. The car has been working really well and we know in qualifying we are missing top speed.

"We have the pace to take the fight to Ferrari and Mercedes. Starting on the softer tyre is a benefit as it's quite slippery on track and in the race I think we'll be competitive."

A post shared by FORMULA 1® (@f1) on

Vettel is winless from the last four races, having won the first two in Australia and Bahrain, but he is now in a strong position to ensure that does not extend to five rounds after edging out Bottas by just eight hundredths of a second.

"I got the job done," Vettel said. "Yesterday we were in trouble in practice as I wasn't really happy with the car because we had some problems and I couldn't get the rhythm.

"But today we switched on. The car was incredible, and it just kept getting quicker."

Hamilton was on course to challenge Vettel for pole, but went in too deep on his brakes at the hairpin and crossed the line adrift of his championship rival.

"It was a difficult session," Hamilton said. "They were not great laps.

"It was close between us but Ferrari did a better job than us today and that's the way it is."

The race begins at 10pm UAE time.