Max Verstappen masters conditions to take pole position at Canadian Grand Prix

The Red Bull driver made light of the changeable weather to beat Fernando Alonso in qualifying

Max Verstappen mastered the conditions to take pole at the Canadian Grand Prix (Jacques Boissinot/AP)
Max Verstappen mastered the conditions to take pole at the Canadian Grand Prix (Jacques Boissinot/AP)

Max Verstappen stormed to a scintillating pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix as he dominated in changeable conditions to continue his quest for a second world championship.

The Red Bull driver was untouchable in the rain as mistakes and mechanical issues rained on the parade of his closest challengers.

With the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit drying out throughout qualifying, Verstappen was the man who mastered the conditions, clocking an impressive time of one minute 21.299 seconds as Formula One delivered on its return to Montreal following a three-year hiatus.

Fernando Alonso will start second for Alpine, the experienced campaigner also getting on top of the weather to take his first front-row start in over a decade.

Carlos Sainz starts third for Ferrari with Lewis Hamilton able to compete near the top of the field due to the inclement weather, the seven-time world champion taking fourth for Mercedes.

It was a fine session for the Haas team, who locked out the third row of the grid with Kevin Magnussen fifth and Mick Schumacher sixth.

Esteban Ocon was seventh in the second Alpine with George Russell eighth for Mercedes after his risk of running on dry tyres towards the end of qualifying backfiring as he spun out.

Daniel Ricciardo and Guanyu Zhou rounded out the top 10 as Verstappen’s nearest title protagonists were left flagging.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will start 19th after replacing several parts of his power unit while Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez crashed out in the second qualifying session and is down in 13th as a result.

While Verstappen’s mastery will rightly steal the headlines, Alonso’s fine session also caught the eye as the 40-year-old got closest to the Dutchman.

“It feels great, it was an unbelievable weekend so far for us,” he said.

“Thanks to the wet conditions today the car was mega and I was so comfortable with driving the car.

“Let’s see, we will attack Max on the first corner! They are in a different league for sure and it was not in our wildest dream to be on pole position and we take the front row for sure.

“The goal is to lead the race on lap one, so in turn one it will be maximum attack and then they can go but it would be sweet to lead the race.”

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