Russell beats Verstappen in dead heat for F1 Canadian GP pole

George Russell took pole position at the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix with a similar time to Max Verstappen – while Sergio Perez was eliminated from Q1 and the two Ferraris dropped out of Q2.

Light rain briefly fell on the track in Q1, while strong winds blew across the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, creating difficult conditions as the field unfolded.

The fight for pole position was deemed open ahead of qualifying on Saturday afternoon after McLaren's Lando Norris topped FP1, Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso topped FP2, and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton topped FP3.

Sergio Perez was the surprise exit in the first quarter. The Red Bull driver, who was recently rewarded with a contract extension, was unable to finish a competitive flying session and ended up eliminated in 16th place – as was the case with the two Haas drivers, both from Alpine, and Haas' Nico Hulkenberg. Meanwhile, Perez's teammate, Verstappen, achieved the fastest result in Q1.

The drizzle stayed at bay through most of the first quarter and briefly threatened the second quarter — which was largely dry. None of the Ferrari drivers were able to keep up with the pace, and Charles Leclerc came out in 11th place, ahead of his teammate Carlos Sainz, while George Russell led the session in front of his Mercedes teammate Hamilton.

Clouds loomed in Q3 but drivers appeared on soft used tires to take advantage of the dry conditions – and the Mercedes drivers took the lead after their first forays.

The field then installed new soft tires for the final flying laps but no one could beat Russell's pole time. However, Verstappen equalized the result with a time of 1:12.000 seconds and will start from second on the grid.

McLaren chose to have its drivers do two flying laps – bookended by cool-down and warm-up laps – at the end of the session to maximize tire warm-up and track position. Lando Norris qualified third ahead of Oscar Piastri.

RB's Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth overall ahead of FP3 leader Alonso. Another right-back Yuki Tsunoda, who will remain at the team in 2025, finished seventh, and Hamilton finished eighth overall despite impressing in Division Two. Home driver Lance Stroll qualified ninth overall as Aston Martin showed renewed pace in Canada.

Alex Albon was hampered by crossed nuts in Q2, but exited late in the session to finish sixth. In the end, he rounded out the top ten.

The other Williams of Logan Sargeant showed signs of pace in Q2 but fell behind the Ferrari to 13th. However, this is the best qualifying performance by a Williams driver of the season so far. The American driver qualified ahead of Haas driver Kevin Magnussen and Alpine driver Pierre Gasly in the second part of qualifying.

Valtteri Bottas suffered his third consecutive elimination in Q1 with P17.

Outgoing Alpine driver Esteban Ocon was handed a five-place penalty from Monaco and will start at the back of the field for the Alpine team despite finishing 18th in Q1.

This penalty will move Sauber's Zhou Guanyu to 19th and Haas' Nico Hulkenberg to 18th.


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