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Formula 1 Canadian GP

F1 Canadian GP: Verstappen takes pole in wet qualifying, Hulkenberg penalised

Max Verstappen claimed his 25th Formula 1 pole position in a rain-hit Canadian Grand Prix qualifying session, as a red flag penalty denied a front-row start for Nico Hulkenberg.

Although a drying line had emerged by the start of Q2, offering drivers to take a chance on running with soft tyres, the conditions had worsened by the start of the final part of qualifying and the rain picked up in intensity.

Armed with intermediate rubber, Verstappen collected a 1m27.059s with his first lap of the session, as Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso got to within 0.25s of the championship leader's opener in their respective opening gambits.

But although rain continued to fall, Verstappen found enough tyre temperature to produce a 1m25.858s, although Alonso had eclipsed the Dutchman's second sector in his follow-up effort.

But the session was red-flagged, as Oscar Piastri took too much throttle on the exit of Turn 7 and backed his car into the wall, breaking the right-rear corner of his McLaren.

Hulkenberg managed to put in a time good enough for second moments before the red flag emerged, but Alonso was unable to complete his lap and had to retreat to the pits. But his joy was later tainted when stewards found him guilty of travelling too quickly under the red flag, and he was given a three-place grid penalty, promoting Alonso to the front row.

The session resumed with seven minutes left on the clock, but the continued precipitation dampened any chances that the drivers could improve in the final half of the session.

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Token running thereafter confirmed that, with some of the drivers remarking that the session could only be tackled with the full-wet tyre.

Alonso claimed the third-fastest time having been denied another shot to beat Verstappen, but will now start second ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

George Russell and Esteban Ocon were next up, ahead of Lando Norris in seventh.

Carlos Sainz could only manage eighth but was also penalised 3 places on the grid for impeding Pierre Gasly in Q1, a session where the #55 Ferrari seemed to be of constant irritation to other drivers.

Piastri's time prior to his crash was good enough for ninth, as Alex Albon's Q3 effort was chalked off due to a track limits violation.

Albon had been the first to risk the soft tyres at the start of Q2 as a drying line began to appear, and it was a gamble that paid off once the Anglo-Thai driver collected enough tyre temperature.

The Williams driver fired his way to the top of the timing board and, although then eclipsed by Alonso on the intermediate compound, Albon posted a 1m18.725s to book his place into Q3.

This prompted everyone to try slicks, although Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez discarded their sets of softs without having set a competitive time on them.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

The Mexican bolted on intermediates again as rain returned to the circuit, but was mired in the drop zone and was one of the two high-profile eliminations from the session.

Leclerc was one position ahead, having been dumped into the drop zone as Hulkenberg broke into the top 10 on his own soft-tyre lap.

Home hero Lance Stroll recovered from a spectacular spin on the exit of Turn 5 and narrowly missed the wall, but could only set a time good enough for 13th - beating Nordic duo Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas.

Q1 was red flagged after just three minutes as Zhou Guanyu lost drive and had to park up on the exit of Turn 7, although the Alfa Romeo drive was able to perform a reset to get the car back to the garage.

The drying nature of the circuit in Q1 put the onus on the drivers to show continual improvement, and the session resembled musical chairs as the midfielders battled against the drop zone.

But both Yuki Tsunoda and Gasly encountered a dawdling Sainz at the chicane, and neither made it through into Q2 - Gasly venting his fury over the radio to suggest that the Ferrari driver "should be banned".

Tsunoda missed out on the cut having been 0.016s shy of Hulkenberg in 15th, who felt the Japanese driver had impeded him during the session.

Nyck de Vries could not improve upon 18th on his final lap, as Logan Sargeant joined Zhou on the final row of the grid as the Chinese driver was able to return to the circuit - albeit slightly hamstrung by his earlier issue.

Cla Driver Chassis Time Gap km/h
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 1'25.858   182.855
2 Spain Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1'27.286 1.428 179.863
3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1'27.627 1.769 179.163
4 United Kingdom George Russell Mercedes 1'27.893 2.035 178.621
5 Germany Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1'27.102 1.244 180.243
6 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 1'27.945 2.087 178.516
7 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 1'28.046 2.188 178.311
8 Australia Oscar Piastri McLaren 1'31.349 5.491 171.863
9 Thailand Alex Albon Williams      
10 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1'20.615   194.747
11 Spain Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1'29.294 3.436 175.819
12 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 1'20.959   193.920
13 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas 1'21.678   192.213
14 Finland Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1'21.821   191.877
15 France Pierre Gasly Alpine 1'22.886   189.411
16 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1'21.484   192.670
17 Netherlands Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri 1'23.137   188.840
18 United States Logan Sargeant Williams 1'23.337   188.386
19 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1'22.746   189.732
20 China Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1'23.342   188.375
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