George Russell takes pole at Canadian Grand Prix after uncommon ‘lifeless warmth’ with Max Verstappen | EUROtoday

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“First of all congratulations to George,” Hamilton stated afterwards. “The car had been feeling great all weekend, but as soon as qualifying came along that vanished. The grip just went.”

At least Hamilton made it via to the highest 10 shoot-out. Sergio Perez, who has simply been handed a two-year contract extension by Red Bull, did not make it into Q2 for the second consecutive race. There was an extra shock in that session with each Ferraris failing to make it into Q3.

Mercedes have so typically been the ‘heavyweight casualty’ in qualifying this season. But this time they’ll dream of Sunday glory, albeit staff principal Toto Wolff was not getting carried away. “One swallow doesn’t make a summer,” the Austrian warned.

Russell appeared happier to dream. “It feels so good, so much hard work back at the factory has gone into this,” he beamed. “We said it in Monaco but we hope this is the start of something for our season and I think it is. I’ve missed this feeling.

“It’s awesome here every time we come to Montreal. It’s such good energy from all the fans and I’m excited for tomorrow. First step down but we’ve now got our eyes on tomorrow and that win.”

Verstappen sounded up for the combat, predicting it might be “an interesting race” with the tyres and the changeable climate in Montreal. And Russell agreed. Asked whether or not he felt he might maintain Verstappen behind him, he smiled. “Why not? Of course, let’s go for it. The car has been feeling amazing since we’ve brought the upgrades to Monaco, we’ve been in that fight now so we are going for it tomorrow.”

Russell takes pole: As it occurred