The qualifying session in Montreal was a harsh fight between Mercedes and Ferrari. As expected, the Maranello’s team showed a high degree of competitiveness, due to the layout of the circuit favoring the high-speed and engine power of the SF90. In particular, Sebastian Vettel was able to exploit such advantage over the last stages of the session, beating Hamilton in the intense fight over all the qualifying sessions in Canada.
The Q1 initiated confirming the performances seen over the last two free practices in Canada. Charles Leclerc got to the top at the initial stages with a 1:11.786s, half a second quicker than his team-mate, with Verstappen slotted into P2, ahead of Hamilton and Bottas. Sebastian Vettel joined subsequently Leclerc, overcoming Verstappen, before improving again and setting the quickest time of the Q1 at 1:11.200. The two Mercedes ended third and fourth preceding the Red Bull of Max Verstappen. Meanwhile, at the other face of the spectrum, Perez, Stroll, Russell, Kubica and Raikkonen were eliminated, with Antonio Giovinazzi knocking out his team-mate over the last phases of the first qualifying stage.
Eliminated in Q1: Perez, Raikkonen, Stroll, Russell, Kubica.
Q2 followed a similar pattern, with Mercedes and Ferrari challenging for leading the grid. Hamilton set a 1:11.336 at the beginning, while Bottas aborted his first attempt after locking up in the second sector. Subsequently, Vettel went fastest with a 1.11:309, followed by the silver arrows, before being outpaced by Charles Leclerc with a 1.11:205, who managed to take the first position, despite being on his second flying lap on dirty tyres. Instead, halfway through the drivers in trouble were Verstappen, Giovinazzi, Kvyat, Albon and Grojean, without a time.
At the conclusive moment, Hamilton went on top with a 1.11:010, 0.085s quicker than his team-pair moving to the second position. On the other hand, Verstappen, still out of the top 10, was sent back to the track by Red Bull. However, the Dutchman did not manage to improve his P11, as Magnussen crashed out of the final corner, ending anticipately the session with the red flag exposed, whereas his teammate Pierre Gasly terminated fourth. Besides Mercedes and Ferrari ended the Q2 with the yellow compound to be utilized, by regulation, in the initial stint of the race.
Eliminated in Q2: Verstappen, Kvyat, Giovinazzi, Albon and Grosjean.
Following the break due to the Kevin Magnussen’s accident, the Q3 saw Gasly entering immediately the circuit at the start of the session. The Red Bull scored a slow 1:12.185, before being surpassed by Hamilton and the two Ferraris, with Sebastian Vettel lagging behind the British driver by less than two tens of a second. Instead, Bottas struggled during his first attempt, spinning at turn 2 and exploiting his tyres.
The fight continued during the last three minutes of the session. Valterri Bottas, was the first to go out again, but struggled to set a fast time finishing at P6. Hamilton continued his battle with Vettel and Leclerc. Despite improving his performance in the two first sectors, he did not manage to improve his time, as Vettel, exploiting the engine power of the SF90 took the pole position at the last moment, with the record in the T3. Leclerc ended third, without managing to improve his previous time, while Ricciardo obtained an outstanding P4, ahead of Pierre Gasly.
Top 10: Vettel, Hamilton, Leclerc, Ricciardo, Gasly, Bottas, Hulkenberg, Norris, Sainz, Magnussen.