Lewis Hamilton smashes lap record on way to 2017 Canadian Grand Prix pole position
PUBLISHED: 20:22 10 June 2017 | UPDATED: 11:19 11 June 2017
Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton smashed the Montreal lap record to claim pole position in qualifying for the 2017 Canadian Grand Prix.
The 32-year-old Mercedes AMG Petronas star from Hertfordshire clocked a stunning lap of 1m 11.459s at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to take his 65th career F1 pole.
That moved Hamilton level with his racing hero Ayrton Senna in second place on the all-time list.
It was also Hamilton’s sixth pole position at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and his fourth of the 2017 season.
The Stevenage-born three-time world champion was stunned to receive one of Senna’s prized race-worn F1 helmets after qualifying ahead of Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel.
In the provisional qualifying results, Hamilton’s Silver Arrows colleague Valtteri Bottas was third ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in fourth for Ferrari.
Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas and Raikkonen all beat the previous lap record at Montreal of 1m 12.275s.
Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo will start the Canadian GP from the third row.
After being handed one of Senna’s race helmets, Hamilton said: “I’m shaking. For many of you, Ayrton was your favourite driver.
“He was mine too. To receive this and match him is a great honour.”
Both Mercedes drivers completed a single run in Q1, two runs in Q2 and two runs in Q3 – all on UltraSoft.
After setting the fastest ever lap at the circuit, Hamilton said: “Honestly, I’m so happy. Montreal has been very good to me over the years.
“It was such a close battle with the Ferraris – they have been so quick this weekend. I dug down deep... It was a great lap, a sexy lap!
“I can’t quite believe that it all came together so well.“
Hamilton added: “After such a tough time in Monaco, we learned from our mistakes.
“I owe this one to all the team back at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth.”
Bottas will line up on the second row in P3. He said: “Firstly, a big congratulations to Lewis for his 65th pole position today.
“It’s a great achievement to match Senna.
“I was really trying hard, but it was a tricky day for me. I struggled with the balance of the car and wasn’t really happy in FP3.”
The Finn added: “We made some changes and the car was much better in qualifying, but then in Q3 when it came down to getting those last hundredths and tenths, the car became unstable again. I just couldn’t get that lap together.
“The long runs seem okay though, so once again, I’m expecting it to be very close in the race with Ferrari. It’s all about tomorrow.”
Toto Wolff was delighted to see Hamilton on pole after his troubles in Monaco.
The head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport said: “I’m very pleased indeed with how the team has worked this weekend.
“We have improved the car from session to session, made good decisions with the set-up and, with a sensational lap from Lewis on top, pole is the reward.
“We spent the first half of qualifying working out which timed lap was the optimum for tyre performance and, in the end, settled on the first timed lap.
“It was all on the line for Lewis in that final run, so to find three tenths was very impressive; it takes him to a very significant milestone in his career, level with Ayrton Senna in terms of pole positions, which I know means a lot to him.”
Wolff added: “For Valtteri, third on the grid is a strong starting position but he wasn’t as comfortable with the car today.
“It was very closely matched with Ferrari and I’m sure we will see more of the same tomorrow.
“I am always the sceptic when it comes to making predictions – but that’s the mind-set we need to cover all the bases tonight and have a strong race.”
James Allison, Mercedes’ technical director, said: “This is another race weekend where we knew that we were right in the fight – but had no idea if we had enough performance to put our car on pole position.
“What makes it such a sweet feeling is to see two immaculate laps and a really commanding performance from Lewis.
“Valtteri was unable to improve on his final run, but nevertheless retained a strong P3 which puts us in good stead for the Grand Prix.
“The feeling of being on pole is absolutely fantastic but, of course, we have it all to do again tomorrow.”