Verstappen storms to pole in Canada as Alonso snatches sensational second place


Wet weather struck qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix, leaving Max Verstappen to take pole position.

Expectations of a fascinating qualifying session arose amongst fans following a wet final practice session earlier on Saturday, as Fernando Alonso, Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel finished in the top-three as the non-competitive running ended.

The rain continued but began to ease as the lights went green. With visibility minimal, Q1 began with drivers simply wishing to set a lap in hopes it would carry them into Q2.

With their home heroes set to contend in conditions that even the playing field, the Canadian crowd was surely disappointed that both Nicholas Latifi and Lance Stroll were knocked out in Q1.

They were joined by Yuki Tsunoda, who was already set to start from the back of the grid, as well as AlphaTauri teammate Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel.

At the beginning of Q2, Alex Albon found himself in the barriers after locking his front tyres. Luckily for Williams, the Thai driver was able to get back on track just before Sergio Perez buried his RB18 in the wall. This brought out the red flag, as the Mexican jumped out of his car.

When the session restarted, all cars went out with intermediate tyres as the race to improve began. Charles Leclerc, another driver set to start at the back, was last in the second session,

Lando Norris failed to set a time while Perez as 13th. Albon, despite his crash finished 12th as Valtteri Bottas narrowly missed out on a spot in the top three.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Alfa Romeo garage, Zhou Guanyu was elated to break into Q3 for the Swiss-based outfit.

Verstappen opened up Q3 by leading the session by two and a half tenths of second while the rest of the pack struggled to match the world championship leader’s time.

George Russell took a gamble by taking on a set of soft tyres, before the Briton spun on the exit of turn two. Lewis Hamilton placed his W13 in second before Carlos Sainz was able to best his time.

However, nobody could match Verstappen’s time. Alonso impressed to take second ahead of Sainz as Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher locked-out the third row. Esteban Ocon, Russell, Daniel Ricciardo and Zhou completed the top-ten.

Although it was Verstappen who took pole, all eyes will be on Alonso after his qualifying performance, with the possibility of his first win since Spain 2013 if the race is wet and wild.

Speaking to 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, Alonso said:

“It feels great, it was an unbelievable weekend so far for us. The car was mega, I was so comfortable driving this car, and the fans pushed me to make an extra push.

“I think we’ll attack Max on the first corner.”

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