Russell pips Verstappen to Canada pole in dramatic qualifying

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Russell pips Verstappen to Canada pole in dramatic qualifying

George Russell took pole position from Max Verstappen for the Canadian Grand Prix despite the pair setting identical times in a thrilling qualifying.

Russell set his 1:12.000 before Verstappen to take his second career pole in F1 and Mercedes’ first since last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Lando Norris was just 0.021s away from pole as he took third from McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri, while Lewis Hamilton had to settle for seventh, having shown great speed in final practice.

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Having only just signed a new contract with Red Bull, Sergio Perez failed to make it out of Q1 at the Canadian Grand Prix

It was a dramatic qualifying at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as both Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were knocked out in Q2 and Sergio Perez was eliminated in Q1.

Daniel Ricciardo recorded his best qualifying of the season in fifth, in front of Fernando Alonso and Hamilton.

Yuki Tsunoda, who was confirmed to stay at RB for 2025 earlier on Saturday, took eighth, from home driver Lance Stroll and Williams’ Alex Albon.

Canadian GP Qualifying: Top 10

1) George Russell, Mercedes

2) Max Verstappen, Red Bull

3) Lando Norris, McLaren

4) Oscar Piastri, McLaren

5) Daniel Ricciardo, RB

6) Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin

7) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

8) Yuki Tsunoda, RB

9) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin

10) Alex Albon, Williams

Russell shines as Verstappen rescues Red Bull

It’s just the second time since F1 went to three decimal place timing that two drivers have set the same time for pole position.

Mercedes looked quick throughout Saturday but it was Hamilton who looked the stronger driver ahead of qualifying, only for Russell to continue his dominance over his team-mate when it matters most in Q3.

Russell, who got a big slipstream from Albon, set his best lap time in Q3 on used tyres. Verstappen did everything to beat it with fresh rubber but missed out by the closest of margins.

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Having set identical times, Mercedes’ George Russell pipped Max Verstappen to pole position in Canada having completed his lap first

Verstappen was close to elimination in Q2 when light rain made it difficult to generate tyre temperature. However, the rain wasn’t enough to wet the track and Verstappen hooked up the car to secure a front-row spot.

Hamilton was second before the final Q3 runs but was pushed down by Verstappen, then both McLarens of Norris and Piastri, plus Ricciardo and Alonso.

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George Russell was delighted with the progress Mercedes have made after securing pole at the Canadian Grand Prix

The seven-time world champion was just 0.280s off pole position, which underlined the close margins in qualifying.

As for Ricciardo, his future has come under scrutiny this week but he has responded in the perfect manner with fifth place.

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Karun Chandhok is at the SkyPad to analyse where George Russell gained time on his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton as he sealed pole in Canada

Shock Q2 elimination for Ferrari

Ferrari came into the weekend as slight favourites as the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve characteristics were expected to suit their car.

But, the rainy practice and drying conditions didn’t play to their strengths, so Leclerc and Sainz were both bumped out in Q2 in 11th and 12th.

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Ferrari suffered a double blow as Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz failed to progress out of Q2 at the Canadian Grand Prix

Both drivers complained about a lack of grip, perhaps due to the light rain which fell during the second part of qualifying.

However, Ferrari chose to put their drivers on used tyres for their final Q2 runs which may have been a strategic mistake which proved costly.

“We put the new tyres at the beginning of Q2 I think, and the last set was for the Q3. We will review everything,” Leclerc told Sky Sports F1.

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Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were both despondent after being eliminated in Q2

“Obviously, not happy to be out in Q2 and we’ll look into it. I think the biggest issue was that we were so slow. Every time it was dry conditions we were nowhere this weekend and we’ve got to look into it.

“We don’t understand it yet, so we’ve got to look into it because since FP3 we’ve been nowhere.”

Perez out in Q1 on week he signs new contract

Earlier on, Red Bull’s Perez was knocked out in Q1 in an equally surprising elimination and will start the race in 16th.

The Mexican, who signed a new two-year deal to stay with Red Bull until the end of 2026, also struggled with grip and was visibly sliding the car in the slow corners as he missed out on Q2 by less than half a tenth.

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Sergio Perez was left frustrated after only qualifying 16th at the Canadian Grand Prix

“The main thing was switching on the rear axle, which was quite tricky and I ended up paying the price for it. I basically had no grip and was sliding too much, so that meant our qualifying was a total disaster,” said Perez.

“It was more tyres than kerbs. We were not able to switch on the rear axle, I couldn’t lean on it at all and I just didn’t have any confidence to push.”

Canadian GP Qualifying Timesheet

Driver Team Time
1) George Russell Mercedes 1:12.000
2) Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.000
3) Lando Norris McLaren +0.021
4) Oscar Piastri McLaren +0.103
5) Daniel Ricciardo RB +0.178
6) Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +0.228
7) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.280
8) Yuki Tsunoda RB +0.414
9) Lance Stroll Aston Martin +0.701
10) Alex Albon Williams +0.796
Knocked out in Q2
11) Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:12.691
12) Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:12.728
13) Logan Sargeant Williams 1:12.736
14) Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:12.916
15) Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:12.940
Knocked out in Q1
16) Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:13.326
17) Valtteri Bottas Sauber 1:13.366
18) Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:13.435
19) Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:13.978
20) Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:14.292

Sky Sports F1’s live Canadian GP schedule

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A look back at some of the most dramatic moments from the Canadian Grand Prix

Sunday June 9
5.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday – Canadian GP build-up
7pm: THE CANADIAN GRAND PRIX
9pm: Chequered Flag – Canadian GP reaction
10pm: Ted’s Notebook

Formula 1 is on Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix and you can watch every session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve this weekend live on Sky Sports F1, with Sunday’s race at 7pm. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership – No contract, cancel anytime

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