Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2018

Vettel narrowly takes fourth pole of 2018 in Canada

2018 Canadian Grand Prix qualifying

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Sebastian Vettel claimed his fourth Formula 1 pole position of 2018 in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver beat Valtteri Bottas by less than a tenth of a second. The pair will begin the race on ultra-soft tyres but Max Verstappen, who qualified third, will be on hyper-softs at the start.


The drama began seconds after the start of Q1 as Romain Grosjean failed to even make it out of the pits. His Ferrari power unit expired in spectacular fashion as he motored down the pit lane.

Marcus Ericsson, who was blinded by the smoke from the Haas on his way out of the pits, was next to hit trouble. He understeed into the wall at the exit of turn nine. That accounted for the first two drivers to drop out of Q1.

Lance Stroll guaranteed his elimination when he locked his front-right wheel approaching the final chicane. He scooted across the run-off area but his damaged tyre ended his chances of progressing further in his home race. He at least narrowly out-qualified his team mate.

The McLaren pair scraped into Q2 with their final laps, making it through at the expense of Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso. Gasly, who had reverted to the old-spec Honda power unit as a precaution, was told to target the first lap for his tyre preparation in his final run. He was back in the pits while the McLarens knocked him out.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’13.047
17Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’13.590
18Sergey SirotkinWilliams-Mercedes1’13.643
19Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’14.593
20Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari


Ferrari having headed Q1, they went out on ultra-soft tyres for Q2, intending to start the race on the harder rubber. Mercedes joined them, and after their first runs the quartet was quickest of all bar Max Verstappen, who came within 13 thousandths of a second of beating Hamilton’s pole position time from last year.

The four ultra-soft qualifiers all rejoined the track at the end of the session on hyper-softs in case they needed to set quicker times, but none needed to. A frustrated Vettel complained about how slowly some of his rivals were driving after catching several cars at the end of the lap.

Ricciardo, who’d had a disrupted build-up to qualifying after car problems on Friday, came good on his final run in Q2 and became the first driver to beat the track record. He headed the session with a best time of 1’11.434, putting Red Bull back on top ahead of the final shoot-out.

Both Force India and Renault drivers also claimed places in Q3 as there was no change in the drop-zone after the final runs. The only driver to post a significant improvement was Charles Leclerc, who got his Sauber ahead of the two McLarens, which ended the second phase of qualifying at the bottom of the times.

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Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’12.606
12Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Honda1’12.635
13Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’12.661
14Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1’12.856
15Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Renault1’12.865


A superb first effort by Bottas in Q3 looked set to put him on provisional pole position. A committed run through the final sector helped him become the first driver to break the 71-second barrier.

Raikkonen fell short of beating the Mercedes driver and Hamilton, who locked up at the second hairpin, was almost three-tenths off his team mate. But Vettel’s run dislodged Bottas from the top spot by less than a tenth of a second.

The top two positions were unchanged by the final runs. Bottas was unable to improve his time and though Vettel found a mere hundredth of a second with his last run, it was enough to keep his pole position.

Kimi Raikkonen blew his chance of getting in the fight for pole position when he ran wide at the exit of turn two. As a result he fell behind Hamilton, who improved his time despite locking up again, and Verstappen, who produced a superb lap to claim third.

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Top ten in Q3

1Sebastian VettelFerrari1’10.776
2Valtteri BottasMercedes1’10.857
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’11.095
4Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’11.096
5Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’11.227
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’11.281
7Nico HulkenbergRenault1’12.038
8Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’12.084
9Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’12.238
10Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’12.671

2018 Canadian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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64 comments on “Vettel narrowly takes fourth pole of 2018 in Canada”

  1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
    9th June 2018, 20:15

    Woohoo! Great lap from Seb

  2. So… The text doesn’t match the grid unless I’m reading it wrong…

    1. Max and Lewis did a 1′ 10″, not a 1′ 11″ as incorrectly shown above.
      Just read their times as a 10 second time, not a 11 second, and let’s hope Keith corrects both articles quickly.

    2. Yeah. And also the Bot not improving in his last run, etc etc – part, but still being 0.37s faster than Ham.

    3. I think @keithcollantine has accidently posted Q2 results as Q3

    4. Yes, I agree. I’ve just checked the order as per the Sky Sports video and it says the first three are Vettel, Bottas, and Verstappen.

    5. Looks like the text is right and the numbers wrong. While we wait for Keith to fix it you can check here the official results:

      1. Something like this:
        1 VET 1:10.764
        2 BOT 1:10.857
        3 VER 1:10.937
        4 HAM 1:10.996
        5 RAI 1:11.095
        6 RIC 1:11.116
        7 HUL 1:11.973
        8 OCO 1:12.084
        9 SAI 1:12.168
        10 PER 1:12.671

  3. Great lap, top 6 looked so close all weekend so in the end 5 tenths is a bit of a disappointment, but a great pole battle nonetheless, with 3 different teams in the top 3. Hamilton surprisingly sub-par around here, even the lock ups don’t explain 4 tenths to Bottas, maybe 2 tenths max. And Raikkonen with a chance to put another car between Vettel and Hamilton, and messing up his lap was a disappointment too, taking his car out of the fight for pole.
    Also, Hulk back to best of the rest and a good 2 tenths on Sainz, normal service is resumed. Surprised the Force India’s weren’t comfortably 4th around here though.
    Finally, shoutout to Hartley, easily beating Gasly, and showing why he shouldn’t be kicked.

    1. Oh, come on, the top 6 within 5 tenths is brilliant. If only we had that a bit more often…

      1. Yeah it’s not bad, but it looked like being so much closer at times, especially after Q2, and I was hoping the Red Bull’s would be genuinely in the fight. Although apparently it was 3.5 tenths and the article was wrong, which is much better.

    2. Hamilton is done @hugh11 This is the worse season I can remember for his poor form. In the past, he’s made more mistakes buy usually still had the raw pace to put things right. This year he just seems to be going along with sub-par performances even at tracks where he’s been great in the past ( China, Canada etc )

      He just seems completely off the pace so far this year. Apart from Australia, he’s not had a massive margin on Bottas which he needs to do consistently to be a star driver. Look at Vettel, two laps which were good enough for pole. Last year that was Hamilton, but this year he’s just not delivering. Bottas would be very close if not ahead of him in the WDC too had he not had the DNF in Baku.

      It just seems his pace has completely gone. I’d be very surprised if he stays in F1 next year.

      1. I’d be very surprised if he stays in F1 next year

        You might be exaggerating a little bit, no? ;)

    3. Hamilton had a chance to make history, eg equal Shumacher’s record, and Mercedes it seems, did everything to make sure he wouldn’t deliver. Botas out qualifies Hamilton this kind of says it all.

      I wonder what the odds were going into that qualification?

      1. What did Mercedes do wrong here? it was all on Lewis, can’t blame team for everything that goes a little wrong with Lewis’ race.

        1. Ajaxn must be snorting Ajax. Dumbest comment of the year award

    4. Gasly needed to reverse to the old power unit. Hartley is the only one running with the new spec, that’s why he’s ahead.

      1. If Gasly had been using the new PU he probably would have been on pole. Also when Gasly steps on lego, the lego cries…

      2. johntodiffer
        10th June 2018, 2:49

        Hartley was ahead most of the weekend.

    5. @hugh11 I don’t know if you actually watched qualifying, but I did and for me it was easy to see these lap times were wrong, it’s not 5 tenths between first and 6th, it’s 3,5, which considering red bull’s engine and the fact ricciardo had some handicap due to not wanting to replace the mgu-k, means the car were relatively close, the gaps have been much higher in some races.

      1. Ah fair enough, I did watch it but I wasn’t sure of everyone’s exact lap times

  4. Interesting qualifying, two drivers in the Red Bull family who were under focus/pressure for different reasons, and both of them put in stellar performances, shading their vaunted teammates.

    I wish both of them do well in the race as well, and would particularly love to see Hartley grab a few points.

    Also, a big shout-out to McLaren, who possess a chassis that can outclass every car there, but they do the decent thing by giving Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull a fighting chance. What sports.

    1. @phylyp

      Also, a big shout-out to McLaren, who possess a chassis that can outclass every car there, but they do the decent thing by giving Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull a fighting chance


      They looked pretty poor throughout qualifying here. I was certain that they would win the development battle in the midfield and secure the best of the rest status, but after their last Monaco and today, it looks like they’re getting worse.

      1. win the development battle in the midfield and secure the best of the rest status

        @todfod – I found Dieter’s piece from earlier this week interesting, in terms of how much money McLaren lost by switching engine suppliers. So I might assume that they’ve been hurting for money (not in the Williams/Manor way, but definitely a noticeable pinch), and I wonder if that has also impacted their development programme.

        That said, in many ways, I like what’s happening in the midfield, with there being no clearly dominant team there. At different tracks, we have different teams shining and struggling*, which makes for good entertainment when the top 3 teams run away with victories in a boring manner.

        * An exception might be Williams who appear to struggle almost everywhere.

  5. Stellar lap by vettel, deserved pole. I love how the season is shaping up, 3 teams so close together.

    1. Oh but Keith can’t help but put the word ‘narrowly’ in the title just to demean SV. The top 6 are ‘narrow’, so his pole is epic. Credit where it’s due Keith.

      1. Why are you assuming Keith doesn’t also mean the top 6? ‘Just to demean SV’? Ya right. As if.

        1. You can read, right @robbie? Like understand sentence structure?

          1. Such a pleasant person.

  6. hamilton is going to loose the title this year.

    1. He’s certainly not driving well, but things are going his way and mercedes is strong, I think he’s still the favourite.

    2. Don’t know about that. Not only he is a great driver, but he’s lucky as hell also. And, regardless of the actual pace, he and Mercedes are the package to beat anyway.

      1. but he’s lucky as hell also.

        Maybe I’d say that after last year. After 2016 though?

    3. There’s a lot more Grand Prix to go yet. Yes, Hamilton could easily not be World Champion Driver, but Mercedes don’t pay him a lot for nothing, they pay him a lot because he’s one of the best drivers on the grid. He’ll be in contention for the title at least until September.

  7. Verstappen 1:10.937 P3
    Hamilton: 1:10.996 P4

    Kimi P5.

  8. great qualifying. I wished FOM stopped zooming in the cars, particularly on s1, I couldn’t see a thing, zoomed in and shaky, you just can’t gauge the speed of each car.

  9. Something wrong here. Did’t Raikkonen qualify in 6th place?

  10. Can someone get on the phone to Liberty and the FIA, and get them to cancel planned engine rule changes for 2021?

    It’s taken us a while getting here, but at a track like Canada, to see one car from each of the top 3 teams qualify in the top 3 spots, and to similarly have quite a healthy mix down in the midfield is great news indeed.

    If Sunday’s race turns out to be boring and processionary, I don’t think it will be because of engines, but tyres.

    1. I agree !

    2. If Sunday’s race turns out to be boring and processionary, I don’t think it will be because of engines, but tyres.

      I believe it’s more that aero before the tyres.

      Kinda agree with Nico Rosberg: it would be nicer a ground-effect car than that moving bird perches.

      1. Agree re. the aero comment, which is why I’m a supporter of what they’re aiming to do for 2019. But yes, in some ways it would be interesting to reopen the line of thinking around ground effect vs. topside aero.

        1. @phylyp With respect to Pu’s, it is not about one race, it is about less complex units and affordability down the line and attracting new entrants. If they hold the line on the current format of Pu and no new makers want to sign up, then that doesn’t work for Liberty.

          Aero downforce of course is the main enemy as we have seen countless iterations of cars and tires over the years, and processions at the same time.

          And yes regarding tires, this is the area I find fascinating in the sense that there is literally no public talk about the mandate for the tires for 2019, let alone for 2021. These finicky ones continue to be a big asterisk for me. My hope is that once the cars are making less wake in 2021 (moreso than the front wing changes for 2019) and have differently shaped front and rear wings and floors and diffusers than have ever been combined together (what I envision for 2021) then they can go back to not making tires the overwhelming gadget to bandage over the dirty air effect which they feel they have had to do for the last number of years. And rid themselves of drs as well.

          1. @robbie – very fair point about PUs, that the remit is to attract new entrants, not primarily to close up the existing field.

            Re. tyres, yeah, now that you mention it, it is interesting nothing is being mentioned about it. Maybe its something Dieter can ask someone like Brawn the next time he’s at a race.

  11. Seriously, six races in a row screwing up, yesterday a marmot, today an engine explosion. It’s not even a case of improving his game anymore, I’m starting to think what Romain really needs is an exorcism.

    1. @alonshow To be fair to him, you can’t blame him at all for the things that have happened to him this weekend. These things are purely bad luck, and entirely out of the control of the driver.

      1. @jerejj: Yeah, that’s my point. Until now it seemed that he was just performing horribly bad, but now that his problems include wild animals destroying his car, one has to start thinking about some sort of black magic being involved, because rational explanations no longer cut it.

        1. Also in the italian qualifying commentary, they said given that grosjean blew the engine, he should go speedboating like others were doing, I said immediately “NO, with grosjean’s luck this year it will just flip over!”.

  12. God, what a borefest. I have no idea how anyone can still like this format with only a hint of excitement in the last 50 seconds or so.

  13. The english dominating F1 TV/press and Alonso are FRAUDS!
    Hyping a midfiled driver for 12 years.

    Alonso hasn’t done anything since 2006, mass dampers, michelin,
    spygate costs of $100 milllions, deliberate crashing……….

    Today he was beaten by a Rookie in a SAUBER.

    Wake up!

    1. This!!! Alonso is the most hyped ever, just because he says he is the best, it doesn’t mean he really is, but people believe it.

    2. tin foil hats for sale

    3. Alonso’s problem is mclaren: they’re just remaining 1,5 sec slower than red bull, while renault improves, I think alonso would still be better off with renault than mclaren, they’re not only a bit faster, they’re also improving faster than mclaren is (doesn’t take a lot).

    4. @myst Gotta give you that: he is, hands down, the most over hyped driver there is. But, despite his last decent season being a handful of years past, he’s not done yet.

      He should have a better car to endure the defeats with some poise, like good old man Raikonnen.

    5. johntodiffer
      10th June 2018, 2:51


    6. AND ONE HONDA! I just laugh at this part.

  14. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
    9th June 2018, 21:24

    Very interesting & unexpected qualy! In this short circuit, making the perfect lap was really difficult to achieve & whoever made it, got a big reward!
    Vettel, Bottas, Hulkenberg, and Leclerc were amazing in today’s session, while Raikkonen mostly & Ricciardo along with the Mclaren’s & the Williams were the negative ones from today.

  15. I really don’t know what to say about Mclaren. I dont think there is anything left to say.

    1. I do. They just can’t get that hyper soft to work. They have rear suspension issues. And their aero isn’t up to the standard it should be. But most of the problem lies in their inability to get the hyper soft to work. They were best of the midfield on the ultras race pace was just behind the top 3 teams on Friday.

      If they get a good start points are easily doable. But starting in the midfield means that your race could easily be wrecked by not being able to pass someone for so many laps eventhough you have lore pace, as we saw with Alonso trying to pass hulk all race in Bahrain. And leclerc in Spain.

  16. Hey Guys, I recently moved to Toronto… Won’t be able to make it to Montreal this year, but any suggestions for a sports bar or similar in downtown Toronto where I can catch the race with some random fans?

  17. These hypersoft are really helping redbull get in on the action up front.

  18. Melchior (@)
    10th June 2018, 11:38

    I will be interested in seeing how Verstappen drives with Hamilton,Raikkonen and Ricciardo behind him.
    Hopefully stewards will black flag him with no warnings if he pulls his usual weaving tactics

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