Russell gets edge over Verstappen, takes pole position at Canadian Grand Prix

By Daniel Rainbird, The Canadian Press

George Russell edged Formula One leader Max Verstappen to take pole position in a thrilling qualifying session Saturday at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Russell and Verstappen drove around Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in an identical lap of one minute 12.000 seconds, but the Mercedes driver secured his spot at the front of the grid in Sunday’s race for setting the time first.

It’s the 26-year-old Russell’s second career pole.

McLaren’s Lando Norris finished third (1:12.021) and Montreal’s Lance Stroll was ninth for Aston Martin. Seven-time Canadian GP winner Lewis Hamilton placed seventh, qualifying outside the top five for the first time in Montreal.

In a shocking development, both Ferraris failed to reach the third qualifying session (Q3) for the first time since 2021.

Charles Leclerc, who won the Monaco GP two weeks ago, will start the race in 11th while teammate Carlos Sainz begins in 12th after their elimination in Q2.

Earlier, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez was knocked out in Q1 for the second race in a row and will start in 16th on Sunday. Perez signed an extension through 2026 on Tuesday.

After a wild, stormy Friday in Montreal, the mix of sun and clouds made for more favourable conditions Saturday. The rain rolled in briefly before qualifying but subsided. It remained a risk throughout qualifying but didn’t significantly impact the session.

The pole winner has crossed the finish line first in each of the last seven Canadian GPs. Only Sebastian Vettel didn’t win the race in 2019 due to a five-second penalty.

Verstappen won the pole last year and led every lap of the race in a dominant victory.

The Canadian GP is the ninth stop of the 24-race championship. Red Bull is 24 points clear of Ferrari for the Constructors’ Championship, while Verstappen leads the drivers’ standings by 31 points over second-place Leclerc.

It’s the 53rd Canadian Grand Prix, and the 43rd in Montreal. Circuit Gilles Villeneuve’s 4.361-kilometre track was resurfaced this year.

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