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Hamilton takes Montreal pole


Ahead of today's qualifying session, the air temperature is 15 degrees, whilst the track temperature is 20 degrees.

Though Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets in both sessions yesterday, in this morning's cooler, slightly damp conditions the Briton could only manage fifth.

That doesn't indicate any loss of form, rather the fact that the changing conditions and temperatures are reflected in performance.

The cool temperatures mean that drivers are having problems trying to get their tyres up to the optimum temperature, and the likelihood that this will continue for the remainder of the weekend.

Though Red Bull appeared to lose ground to Ferrari - and Mercedes, naturally - yesterday, Ricciardo and Verstappen were both looking a whole lot better this morning.

Even Raikkonen looked good earlier, as Ferrari looks to be benefitting from the introduction of a new turbo this weekend.

Honda has finally updated its engine and this appears to be paying off. Alonso was eighth earlier, whilst Button, who exactly matched Bottas's time in FP2, was only marginally slower than the Finn this morning.

As for Renault, whilst Palmer is happier with his car today, teammate Magnussen suffered a strange accident that brought this morning's session to an early end.

If yesterday's session were, as we claimed, inconclusive, this morning's session only served to further muddy the water, and with the uncertainty due to continue this afternoon and tomorrow, maybe it's best to simply sit back and enjoy it all.

Despite its best efforts to repair his car, Renault has opted to build a spare chassis, the one used by teammate Paler earlier this season. As a result the Dane will not take part in qualifying and will start tomorrow's race from the pitlane.

The chance of rain is 30%, which in many ways is non-committal, and like the low temperatures, adds to the frustration.

"The weather is very unpredictable," admits Ferrari, "it could be rainy from the beginning or later."

The lights go green and the Ferraris lead the way, followed by the Mercedes duo and pretty much everyone else.

Such is the desire to get a banker lap in, Vettel is trying pass Hamilton to get some clear air, whilst Rosberg is all over the back of the Ferrari.

Replay shows a piece of sidepod fall/fly from Haryanto's car.

Raikkonen posts the first time, and as he wasn't involved in the tussle with the Mercedes duo its better than anything his teammate or the Silver Arrows can manage. That said, when Haryanto goes second it's obvious the times are going to tumble... and tumble they do.

Of the second wave, Rosberg goes quickest, ahead of Vettel, Hamilton and Raikkonen. All drivers bar the force India duo are on ultras.

Bottas posts 14.591 to go second, the Finn demoted moments later when Hamilton posts 14.121 to go third.

Rosberg consolidates his top spot with a 13.714 while Vettel posts 13.925.

The Force India duo, on the supers, go eighth and eleventh.

A massive lock-up for Haryanto at the final corner meaning the Manor driver has to miss the chicane.

As Verstappen reports "drizzle" on his visor between Turns 5 and 6, Ricciardo posts 14.261 to go fourth and the Dutch youngster 14.601 to go seventh.

As Ricciardo improves to third (14.030), Verstappen misses the final chicane and therefore remains seventh.

With just over 6 minutes remaining, Ericsson, Grosjean, Nasr, Palmer and Haryanto comprise the drop zone.

"Some drops of rain pretty much everywhere," reports Perez. Like all but his teammate, the Mexican is now on ultras.

Palmer shaves a layer off the Wall of Champions as he fails to improve on nineteenth.

Kvyat improves to eleventh with a 14.829, the Russian, like Magnussen, bringing a three-place grid penalty here from Monaco.

Haryanto clouts the wall at T4 which shatters his wheel. Somehow he keeps it out of the barriers on the other side of the track and attempts to get back to the pits. Unable to do 'a Villeneuve', he eventually parks up.

As if the yellow flags brought about by Haryanto aren't enough, efforts to improve are further thwarted by a rain shower.

Quickest was Rosberg, ahead of Vettel, Ricciardo, Hamilton, Bottas, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Sainz and Button.

We lose Palmer, Wehrlein, Ericsson, Nasr, Haryanto and, of course, Magnussen.

The brief shower having seemingly moved on, nonetheless drivers are keen to get out and get another banker for Q2, Hulkenberg leading the way. Again, the ultras are the order of the day.

Soon, all but the Williams and McLaren drivers are on track. Looking at the sky, that's a big gamble by both teams.

Hulkenberg posts 17.808, with Kvyat posting 14.639 moments later to go top.

However, the session is red flagged when Carlos hits the wall on the pit straight. Having avoided the main part of the Wall of Champions, the Spaniard starts to lose it and then becomes a passenger as he continues on to the grass and thence in to the wall.

As Sainz makes the very short walk back to the pits, helmet firmly in place, the Toro Rosso mechanics, like their Renault counterparts, face a long, long night.

Check out our Saturday gallery, here.


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