Verstappen takes pole place heading into last race at Montreal Grand Prix

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Rising younger star Max Verstappen will line up alongside celebrated veteran Fernando Alonso on the entrance row of Sunday’s Montreal Grand Prix — a becoming finale for Formula One’s return to Canada.

The 24-year-old Verstappen, the championship factors chief and reigning world champion, overcame soggy circumstances to win his second pole of the season. Alonso secured his first front-row begin in a decade with a quick last lap.

“I used to look at F1 as a little kid, and seeing Fernando being up there and winning his races and championships and putting it on poles. So, to be sharing the front row is a nice thing,” Verstappen mentioned.

“Of course, Fernando is getting a little bit old, but he’s still very fast,” he added with fun. “I know he starts very well, so I have to be ready.”

Verstappen, who received final weekend in Baku, Azerbaijan, posted a time of 1 minute 21.299 seconds within the battle in opposition to the weather.

“It was very tricky out there,” Verstappen mentioned after securing his second pole of the season and fifteenth of his profession. “Especially [in the first session], visibility . . . and you were really on the edge with the grip. But then it started to be more and more enjoyable when the track started to dry. And you started to have a little bit more grip in the wet.”

The 40-year-old Alonso, who received the Canadian Grand Prix in 2006, posted a time of 1:21.944 on his last lap.

“It is an unbelievable weekend so far for us,” mentioned the two-time world champion. “The car was mega. I was so comfortable driving this car, and the fans pushed me to make an extra push.”

Alonso was quickest in a soggy morning observe session. His final front-row begin was in Germany in 2012. His final victory was in 2013 in his residence race in Spain.

“I think we’ll attack Max in the first corner,” Alonso mentioned with fun. “[Red Bull] are in a different league for sure. And it was not in our wildest dreams to be on pole position, and so we take the first row for sure, and that’s maybe better than any expectations.”

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was third (1:22.096).

‘Anything can occur’

The Montreal Grand Prix hasn’t been received from exterior the entrance row in almost a decade.

“I think anything can happen in Formula One racing. It doesn’t really matter the positions today. It’s all about the race [Sunday],” Sainz mentioned. “I think if we get a good start, and we put pressure in the guys in front, then anything can happen.”

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton moved as much as fourth along with his last lap.

His Mercedes’ teammate George Russell paid the value for switching to mushy tires as he slid off the monitor and onto the grass at Turn 2, which was one of many slickest areas of the monitor. Russell completed eighth.

Verstappen mentioned he by no means thought of switching to slick tires.

“It was just too wet in some places. . . you cannot take that gamble in qualifying,” he mentioned.

Miserable circumstances

The soggy circumstances additionally proved expensive for Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, who was finished for the day when he locked up and sailed straight into the wall between Turns 2 and three.

Perez, who begins thirteenth on Sunday, needed to climb by way of some underbrush as he walked again to the pits exterior the monitor partitions.

Williams’ Alex Albon equally skidded into the wall at Turn 6, however nonetheless made the minimize within the second session.

The circumstances had been depressing, with pounding rain, excessive winds and a cold 12 C at begin time. High spray off tires made visibility tough. It was robust to even discern one driver from one other as they splashed previous the end line.

“Can’t see a lot ahead of me,” Hamilton mentioned early in qualifying.

The rain eased off and circumstances improved markedly late within the second of the three qualifying periods. A dry stretch of monitor appeared for drivers to observe.

Sunday’s race will see Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, who captured his fourth straight pole final week in Baku, beginning in the back of the grid regardless of ending fifteenth general. He’s serving a grid penalty after an engine change, as is Yuki Tsunoda.

Sunshine and 20 C is forecast for Sunday’s race.

Canadian finishes

Montreal’s Lance Stroll, who’s recognized to carry out nicely in poor climate, was 18th in his Aston Martin, one place higher than final week. Toronto’s Nicholas Latifi (Williams) was nineteenth.

WATCH | Lafiti appears to be like ahead to his 1st Candian Grand Prix:

Montreal-born Nicholas Latifi appears to be like ahead to competing in his first Canadian Grand Prix

Williams driver Nicholas Latifi will lastly compete in Montreal because the Grand Prix makes its triumphant return after the pandemic pressured cancellation of the race in each 2020 and 2021.

“We were pretty competitive in [practice] this morning, so it was disappointing not to follow that up in qualifying,” Stroll mentioned. “It will be tough to start towards the back of the grid, but free practice showed our car has good pace, and we will try our best to get points [Sunday].”

The Montreal Grand Prix makes its triumphant return at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve after COVID-19 pressured its cancellation in each 2020 and 2021.

Unfortunately for the ocean of followers sporting slickers and huddling beneath umbrellas Saturday, the climate hasn’t been so festive this week.

A storm rolled in moments after Friday’s observe session, sending followers scrambling for canopy.

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Lori Ewing

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