Supreme Vettel takes Montreal pole

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel celebrates after qualifying in pole for the Canadian Grand Prix. AFP

Sebastian Vettel handed Ferrari their first Canadian Grand Prix pole position since Michael Schumacher in 2001 on Saturday while Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton qualified fourth for Mercedes.

Vettel, 14 points behind the Briton, will start from the front for the fourth time at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve after setting a track record of one minute 10.764 seconds on a sunny afternoon.

Hamilton had been hoping for a record seventh Canadian Grand Prix pole, at the track where he took his first win in 2007, but instead was out-qualified by Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas who joined Vettel on the front row.

The top four all lapped inside the one minute 11 seconds mark.

"I got the job done. Yesterday we were a bit in trouble. I wasn't really happy with the car, we had some problems and I just couldn't get the rhythm," said Vettel, who can take his 50th F1 victory on Sunday.

"Today I switched on. I guess I woke up the right way and what a day. The car was incredible, it just kept getting quicker. In my final lap I had a small mistake, otherwise I think there was a little bit more. But it was fantastic."

Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who could have become the youngest driver ever to take pole, dominated all three practice sessions but the 20-year-old could not keep pace with the Ferraris when it mattered most.

The Dutchman will line up third.

Hamilton will still be chasing a fourth consecutive win in Montreal on Sunday to equal Schumacher's mark of seven victories at an island circuit named after Canada's late Ferrari great.

"It was just a difficult session. The laps weren't great laps," said the Mercedes driver, like Vettel a four times champion.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen qualified fifth fastest and will be joined on the third row by Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, winner in Monaco two weeks ago and the last man to beat Hamilton to victory in Canada.

It was another disappointing day for the US-owned Haas team, as Romain Grosjean failed to make it beyond the pitlane before the engine in the Frenchman's car blew in a cloud of smoke.

The failure added to a miserable weekend for Grosjean, who has yet to score a point this season and damaged his car slightly during Friday's free practice when he struck a groundhog.

"I think I am hitting the bad luck for the next season and the one after and maybe even 2021," said Grosjean. "We're laughing about it because at one point that's the only thing you've got to do."

Qualifying results: Sebastian Vettel (Ger, Ferrari) 1; Valtteri Bottas (Fin, Mercedes) 2; Max Verstappen (Ned, Red Bull) 3; Lewis Hamilton (Gbr, Mercedes) 4; Kimi Raikkonen (Fin, Ferrari) 5; Daniel Ricciardo (Aus, Red Bull) 6; Nico Hulkenberg (Ger, Renault) 7; Esteban Ocon (Fra, Force India) 8; Carlos Sainz Jr (Esp, Renault) 9; Sergio Perez (Mex, Force India) 10.

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Supreme Vettel takes Montreal pole

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