Lewis Hamilton has taken pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix and now matches Ayrton Senna’s record with the 65th of his career.
Hamilton produced a stunning lap in Q3 to edge out Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by 0.330 seconds.
A further four-tenths behind was Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen.
Red Bull will take their usual position on the third grid, with Daniel Ricciardo rebounding after engine troubles in FP2.
Felipe Massa got his Williams to seventh on the grid while his troubled team-mate Lance Stroll was knocked out in Q1 and will start in 17th place.
Force India again had a strong qualifying performance with Perez and Ocon claiming eighth and ninth.
‘Great Lap’ Hands Hamilton Pole
It was a remarkable qualifying for Hamilton in what appears to be a fluctuating campaign.
Mercedes had been matching Ferrari in the free practice sessions but Hamilton found an extra step of pace with a blistering set of laps in Q3.
On the first hot lap of Q3 Hamilton set a time of 1:11.791 with Vettel finishing just 0.004 seconds slower.
Hamilton turned up the dial on his final hot lap by lowering his time to a staggering 1:11.459, while Vettel could not improve.
“I am so happy,” said Hamilton
“Montreal has been good to me over the years. It was a close battle with the Ferraris, who have been so quick all year. I just wanted a good lap, and I got it.”
“It was a sexy lap, a great lap. I can’t believe it came together so well.”
Hamilton Now Equals Senna
Hamilton is now equal to Senna with 65 career pole positions.
It is an amazing feat for the Englishman who has often talked of his admiration for Senna. Hamilton was noticeably overwhelmed when he was presented with one of Senna’s helmets, a gift from the late Brazilian’s family.
“Wow” remarked Hamilton, dropping his gloves in disbelief.
“I’m shaking. Ayrton, I know for many of you was your favorite driver and he was for me. He inspired me to be where I am today so to receive this is the greatest honor.”
Hamilton explained that equaling the Brazilian’s pole record means more to him than any trophy: “It is the most special thing I have, beyond all trophies.”
The Alonso Ultimatum
Fernando Alonso has returned to the Formula 1 circuit after his recent Indy 500 experiment came to a premature end with engine problems.
It must have been a perverse sense of déjà vu for the Spaniard given the ongoing problems at McLaren this year.
The previous united front between McLaren and Honda are showing serious cracks and Alonso and McLaren executive director Zak Brown have now both fired warning shots at the engine manufacturer.
Alonso is out of contract at the end of the season and has made no secret of his desire to win.
In the likely scenario that won’t happen, Alonso said: “I joined this project to win the title. If you are not in a competitive position, maybe you change project.”
Brown also said this week that he had “serious concerns” about Honda noting that the relationship had come to “a fork in the road”. McLaren were “not going to go into another year like this, in hope”.