x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Formula One: Sebastian Vettel tames tricky conditions at Montreal

Rain makes qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix an adventure but Sebastian Vettel is the one who tames the conditions best. He'll start from pole, with Lewis Hamilton beside him.

Sebastian Vettel was able to tame the tricky conditions at Circuit Gilles Villeneueve the fastest, taking the pole for Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton will start beside him.
Sebastian Vettel was able to tame the tricky conditions at Circuit Gilles Villeneueve the fastest, taking the pole for Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton will start beside him.

MONTREAL // Sebastian Vettel will be hoping to make it third time lucky by taking the chequered flag in Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix after ending Mercedes' recent domination of pole position.

In a crazy, rain-hit qualifying session, Red Bull Racing's Vettel will start on pole for the third successive year at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. However, the reigning triple world champion has so far failed to win from such a favourable position the past two years.

Vettel will have Lewis Hamilton alongside him on the front row, with the Briton starting second for the third consecutive race in his Mercedes-GP Silver Arrow.

The major surprise has Valtteri Bottas in third, the first time this year a Williams has managed to make it into the top 10, with their highest grid slot from the first six races being 14th.

"It was very tricky to adapt as you didn't know what the conditions would be, and in the end very tight with Lewis," said Vettel after clinching his 39th pole. "The forecast for tomorrow looks a little more friendly than today, we're expecting dry conditions, but there are still a lot of things that can happen on every single lap."

Hamilton, a three-time winner of this race, appreciated he had a shot at pole, only to narrowly miss out.

"I was a few 10ths up, and I don't know if I would have done it or not, but I made a mistake," said Hamilton. "I'm still happy to be starting from second."

Finnish rookie Bottas was naturally all smiles.

"This means a lot," he said. "The first six races have been so difficult, so this is a nice boost to the team.

"We got everything right today."

It was a qualifying session spiced up by the inclement conditions as drizzle struck just as the first session started.

Although a number of drivers chanced their arm by strapping on the supersofts to begin with, it was quickly apparent it was the wrong choice, forcing them back to the pits to switch to the intermediates more appropriate for the damp.

It resulted in a hectic 20 minutes of track activity as every driver was in double digits with regard to number of laps covered.

In such circumstances Q1 produced a double surprise as Force India's Paul di Resta and Romain Grosjean in his Lotus both failed to make it into the second session.

For Di Resta, after failing to make it out of Q1 a fortnight ago in Monaco due to a team error, it is the first time in his F1 career he has suffered back-to-back exits from the opening stint and will line up 17th, as was the case two weeks ago.

Pointing an accusing finger at the Silverstone-based marque again, an angry Di Resta said: "We spent far too much time trying to fix a problem when the conditions were good when the car could have run. It's the fault of the team again.

"It's just not good enough."

A sprinkling of rain in between the opening two qualifying sessions threw another spanner into the works for those remaining.

And for Ferrari's Felipe Massa it was one to forget as he again hit a wall after twice crashing into a barrier in Monaco.

After sliding sideways to his left into the padded tyre wall, Massa slapped his hands against the steering wheel in frustration.

The shunt inevitably brought out the red flags, resulting in a seven-minute delay while marshals removed his stricken car.

With just two minutes remaining, it also led to a queue at the end of the pit lane to get back on track for one final shot at improving.

Hamilton managed to jump from ninth to top spot, while Force India's Adrian Sutil - who was 16th when the two-minute countdown began - clambered into the top 10.

Behind Nico Rosberg will be Red Bull's Mark Webber, followed by Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari.


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