Montreal master Hamilton claims Senna-equalling pole

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Lewis Hamilton will begin his bid for a third successive Canadian Grand Prix victory from the front of the grid, after getting the better of world championship leader Sebastian Vettel on Saturday to match Ayrton Senna's haul of career pole positions.

A blistering lap, completed in one minute and 11.459 seconds, was enough for Mercedes driver Hamilton to claim his 65th pole, equalling the haul of his idol Senna. Only Michael Schumacher (68) has topped the grid on more occasions.

An emotional Hamilton received a special prize immediately after qualifying, as he was presented with a race-worn Senna helmet from the late Brazilian's family in honour of his achievement.

"I am shaking. I am speechless," said Hamilton. "Ayrton was my favourite driver. He inspired me to be where I am today. To receive this is a great honour. Thank you to the Senna family."

Ferrari's Vettel got to within four thousandths of a second of Hamilton's initial time in Q3, only for the Briton to raise his level and secure first place by 0.330 seconds.

Valtteri Bottas was a distant third in the other Mercedes, ahead of fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen, with the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo rounding out the top six.

A five-time winner in Canada, Hamilton said: "Montreal's been good to me over the years. It was a close battle with the Ferraris, I was gunning and I was pushing. It was a sexy lap, it was a great lap.

"I can't believe it came together so well. The team did a fantastic job to learn from our mistakes in the last race [when Hamilton finished seventh in Monaco to fall 25 points behind Vettel in the drivers' standings]."

 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:11.459s
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:11.789s
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1:12.177s
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:12.252s
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:12.403s
6. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:12.557s
7. Felipe Massa (Williams) 1:12.858s
8. Sergio Perez (Force India) 1:13.018s
9. Esteban Ocon (Force India) 1:13.135s
10. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) 1:13.271s