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Max second with identical time for pole in GP Canada: 'I'll take P2 today'

Published on 09 June 2024 by Misha van der Kroon

Max Verstappen finished second during qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix. In an exciting duel with George Russell, in which both men set the exact same time, the Mercedes driver took pole position. McLaren driver Lando Norris set the third fastest time, 21 thousandths behind Russell.

“We had a good qualifying. The whole weekend has been a bit tricky for us, but being P2 now, I take it. That it was that close at the end makes it exciting for tomorrow as well,” Max says after the session. When asked what the current feeling is compared to the Monaco Grand Prix, in which Max finished sixth, the Dutchman answers: “I felt good in Monaco, but it was not our track. It did not work out for us. This weekend again, we did not have a great build-up to today, but I think it will be a quite interesting race tomorrow, with the tyres and the weather. So hopefully it will be very exciting.”

Looking ahead to the race, Max says: “We will have to see how it goes tomorrow. I think Mercedes is very fast, but everything is close together.” He continues: “The race pace is okay, but it is hard to know where exactly you are when you are not the fastest over one lap. It has been a bit more difficult the past few races, but a second starting position is good.”

As soon as the lights go green, it is busy on track. There is an 80% chance of rain during this session, which means that everyone wants to set a fast lap early on in Q1, while the track is still dry. Max is the first to set a time with a 1:15.1, but shortly after Norris goes round six tenths faster than the reigning World Champion. It seems to be a foreshadowing for the rest of qualifying, because the track is getting better with every minute, making it a game of musical chairs in the times table. Halfway through Q1, Max is back at the top with a 1:13.3, almost two tenths faster than Norris. 

No one is safe in the last minutes of Q1, the whole field is battling to make it to Q2. At the front it is Max who improves the fastest time, almost four tenths ahead of number two Yuki Tsunoda. Earlier today it was announced that the Japanese driver has renewed his contract with Racing Bulls next year, and he reinforces that good news with an excellent Q1. There are also some exciting battles at the back of the field and the gaps between all drivers are small. Ultimately, Zhou Guanyu, Nico Hulkenberg, Esteban Ocon, Valtteri Bottas and Oracle Red Bull Racing teammate Sergio Perez fall just short of Q2.  

Max starts Q2 on a used set of softs. He sets the fifth time in his first run, but drops back outside the top ten a little later. He bolts on a set of new softs for his second run, and improves to seventh place with a 1:12.5. Both Mercedes are topping the time sheets, with Russell in P1, eight tenths faster than Max. Things are going a lot less well at Ferrari. They have been struggling all day. With an eleventh and twelfth place in Q2, the Italian team is knocked out and misses Q3. The Ferraris just miss out, as the gap to Lance Stroll, who is in P10, is only 32 and 69 thousandths. Also knocked out in Q2 are Logan Sargeant, Kevin Magnussen and Pierre Gasly.

Everyone starts Q3 on used soft tyres. All ten drivers still have a new set of softs, but they save them for the second and final run. On the used tyres, Max is fast, but Russell and Hamilton are faster. Russell sets the fastest time with a 1:12.0, Hamilton follows closely behind with a 1:12.2. On his first run, Max clocks a 1:12.3 which is enough for a third place. 

Oscar Piastri is the first driver to switch to a new set of softs. He improves his own time with six tenths and climbs from P4 to P2. Moments later, McLaren teammate Norris takes over P2. Shortly after, Max and both Mercedes drivers push one last time to attack pole position one more time. Russell and Hamilton do not improve their times, but Max does and sets a 1:12.000, which is the exact same time as Russel’s fastest lap. The Brit gets pole position, because he was the first one to clock that time. This is reminiscent of the European Grand Prix at the Jerez circuit in 1997, where Villeneuve, Schumacher and Frentzen all set an identical fastest time. Today’s top three is completed by Norris, who is within a tenth of Russell.       

Contest GP Canada: win a by Max Verstappen signed Racing cap!

Results qualifying Canada:

1George RussellRUSMercedes1:13.0131:11.7421:12.000
2Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:12.3601:12.5491:12.000
3Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:12.9591:12.2011:12.021
4Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:12.9071:12.4621:12.103
5Daniel RicciardoRICRB Honda RBPT1:13.2401:12.5721:12.178
6Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:13.1171:12.6351:12.228
7Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:12.8511:11.9791:12.280
8Yuki TsunodaTSURB Honda RBPT1:12.7481:12.3031:12.414
9Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:13.0881:12.6591:12.701
10Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:12.8961:12.4851:12.796
11Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:13.1071:12.691
12Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:13.0381:12.728
13Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:13.0631:12.736
14Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:13.2171:12.916
15Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:13.2891:12.940
16Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:13.326
17Valtteri BottasBOTKick Sauber Ferrari1:13.366
18Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:13.435
19Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:13.978
20Zhou GuanyuZHOKick Sauber Ferrari1:14.292