Lewis Hamilton battles for pole position in 2018 Canadian Grand Prix qualifying

Lewis Hamilton on track during qualifying for the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Lewis Hamilton on track during qualifying for the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Verstappen topped the times in all three free practice sessions and was very impressive in qualifying, clearly having replaced his confrontational mood with a clear sense of determination to succeed.

"Pole position is always important", Vettel told the team's official website after setting a new track record of of one minute and 10.764 seconds. "Usually, the last sector is my strongest at this track but I was just struggling", Hamilton said, after also qualifying behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.

Verstappen will start the race from third on the grid while Ricciardo is sixth and Horner, team principal of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, was pleased to see both showing good competitiveness during the session, that was ultimately topped by Scuderia Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel holds the current record as youngest pole-sitter, doing so with Toro Rosso at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix at the age of 21 years and 73 days.

"It's such a fun track to drive and we didn't have any problems, I really enjoyed it", said Hamilton, who has won the last three straight races on the Montreal circuit.

"The balance of the vehicle was really good from the start today, so we only had to do some fine tuning".

From pre-season testing, through Monaco and right up to yesterday morning, Mercedes have steadfastly avoided using the hypersoft tyre introduced by Pirelli this season. I'm sure there was more to come today, and the end result is not what we were looking for.

Hamilton will start from behind the front-row in Montreal for the first time in seven years
Hamilton will start from behind the front-row in Montreal for the first time in seven years

"I got the job done", Vettel said. "I wasn't happy with the vehicle - we had some problems, and I just couldn't get the rhythm". Red Bull feared it would force a switch onto his third MGU-K component of the season - enough for a ten-place grid drop, which may have triggered a few other changes with their own penalty attached.

Once the main teams emerged, Vettel was soon quickest for Ferrari before swapping fastest laps with Raikkonen as the Mercedes men struggled to keep pace.

Hamilton tops the championship leaderboard as he pursues his fifth Formula One title. The new specifications are all designed with performance improvements in mind, but it's hard to say it has been smooth running. "They were not great laps". Sebastian simply did a better job when it counted in Q3. Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso is in 14th position.

It was another day to forget for Williams.

Lance Stroll suffered a puncture when he brushed the "wall of champions" at the final chicane and team-mate Sergey Sirotkin spun and touched the wall at Turn Seven late in the session.

Meanwhile, qualifying didn't start as planned for Romain Grosjean.

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