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Sat, 9 June, 2012Vettel streaks to dominant Montreal pole

  • Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull RB8). 2012 Australian Grand Prix, Rd 1, Race day. Melbourne, Australia. Sunday 18 March 2012. © Red Bull.

Sebastian Vettel produced a dominant qualifying performance in Montreal on Saturday to commandingly secure pole position for tomorrow's Canadian Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton. The German went quickest in all three parts of qualifying, to add to his session-topping pace in final practice and take pole by more than three tenths of a second.

So dominant was his performance that his first lap in Q3, a 1m13.905s, would have been good enough for pole without his second run, on which he improved to a 1m13.784s. A four tenths improvement by Hamilton on his second Q3 run could only yield a 1m14.087s though, but was still good enough to leapfrog Ferrari's Fernando Alonso who failed to lower his initial Q3 attempt of 1m14.151s.

A further two tenths adrift on a time of 1m14.346s was Mark Webber in the sister Red Bull, finishing ahead of the closely-matched Mercedes and Ferrari of Nico Rosberg (1m14.411s) and Felipe Massa (1m14.465s) respectively in fifth and sixth places.

Lotus's Romain Grosjean (1m14.645s) did an admirable job to finish seventh with team-mate Räikkönen not even progressing to Q3, while Force India's Paul di Reta (1m14.705s) needed only one run to claim eighth place. Rounding out the top ten were Michael Schumacher (1m14.812s) and Jenson Button (1m15.182s) for Mercedes and McLaren respectively.

Button had Pastor Maldonado to thank for even making it through to Q3 after the Venezuelan ended his Q2 session coasting to a halt on the main straight. He was on target to progress to Q3 but clattered the wall of champions with his right-rear wheel at the end of his flying lap, meaning he starts tomorrow's Grand Prix from 17th on the grid.

Also taking the drop from qualifying at the end of Q2 were Kamui Kobayashi (1m14.688s), Kimi Räikkönen (1m14.734s), Nico Hülkenberg (1m14.748s), Daniel Ricciardo (1m15.078s), Sergio Pérez (1m15.156s) and Bruno Senna (1m15.170s).

Q1 saw all the usual suspects take the plunge, with Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne being the only midfield running joining the formerly new teams. The Frenchman starts Sunday's race from 20th however, after failing to outpace either Caterhams during the session.

Heikki Kovalainen was best-placed of the Q1 drop-outs in 18th (1m16.263s), followed by team-mate Vitaly Petrov (1m16.482s), Vergne (1m16.602s), HRT's Pedro de la Rosa (1m17.492s), Marussia's Timo Glock (1m17.901s) and Charles Pic (1m18.255s) and the final HRT of Narain Karthikeyan (1m18.330s).

The provisional starting grid for tomorrow's race can be found here.

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