Published: Sun, June 11, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Hamilton wins Canadian GP pole, ties Senna on all-time list

Hamilton, who had just blown away Vettel, the Ferrari driver whom he trails by 25 points in the championship race, by more than three tenths of a second with the quickest lap ever seen at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, cradled Senna's helmet as he posed with his title rival, to his right, and team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who lines up in third, to his left. Only Michael Schumacher has more pole positions to his name, and it's only three more - meaning the record could be broken before the end of the season.

As fans in the packed pit row grandstand stood and cheered after the qualifying session, Hamilton was handed Senna's race-worn yellow helmet as a gift from the Brazilian great's family.

"It was the most awesome experience", said Hamilton, who claimed his maiden victory in his sixth outing.

"Ayrton was my favourite driver. In terms of this intense battle that we're having I would like to think that [this pole] is one of the best".

"To match him and receive this is the greatest honour. To Ayrton and his family, God bless you, thank you".

Ferrari's Vettel got to within four thousandths of a second of Hamilton's initial time in Q3, only for the Briton to raise his level and secure first place by 0.330 seconds.

Hamilton and Bottas resumed their place at the front on their first runs of the afternoon, Bottas finding good pace on the soft compound tyres to split the Ferrari cars, whilst Hamilton move swiftly from fourth to first, less than one-hundredth of a second ahead of pacesetter Raikkonen. Montreal has been good to me down the years. My lap? It was a sexy lap...

"I've got the stamp, I posted it the other day", he said, before a prod from Vettel at his side made him see the unintended pun.

Speaking to reporters, Hamilton said: "I remember getting home from school and putting on the video tape of Ayrton Senna and I can't believe I'm here with that many poles".

Hamilton had become the first man to break the 1min 12sec barrier at the circuit and had to trim his time to 1:11.459 seconds to resist the challenge of championship leading Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who qualified second. Let us know in the thoughts below!

Canada has proven to be a happy stomping ground for Hamilton in the past and so it proved again on Saturday following a thrilling qualifying session. It's really odd to think that I'm now here and have that number of poles.

"The team learned from our mistakes in the last race and I owe this to the team back at the factory".

"I knew 65 was there and waiting; I knew Montreal has been a lovely place for me", he said. That's great. It's maybe not so easy to overtake here, but it'll be a long race tomorrow. We are racing for fifth, but it has been like this all season so it doesn't really change.

"Nevertheless I feel the auto is very good, I was really happy this morning, I was happy this afternoon and it should be very good in the race so I'm looking forward to tomorrow".

Williams, however, have produced good performances on the island layout with a driver on the podium for the last two years.

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