Mercedes AMG managed to lock out the front row after Saturday’s qualifying session for the 2015 Formula One Canadian Grand Prix, with star driver Lewis Hamilton securing pole position and teammate Nico Rosberg taking second place at the end of a very closely contested session held under sunny skies at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Hamilton’s pole-setting time was a blistering 1:14.393, close to 0.5 of a second faster than the 2014 pole of 1:14.874. Rosberg was close behind with a 1:14.702.

Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen secured third place with a lap in 1.15.014, but there was bad luck for his teammate Sebastian Vettel. The German was stopped with an electrical problem at the start of Q1. The engineers managed to get him out on track with a few minutes remaining, but he encountered further issues with the electrical system, which meant he could do no better than 16th place with a time of 1.17.344.

Starting next to Räikkönen at fourth will be Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, who was on pace with the top drivers with his 1:15.102. His teammate Felipe Massa, however, seemed to suffer from a powertrain down on power, and thus like Vettel he too was eliminated after Q1. The Brazilian will start at 17th.

Starting in row three tomorrow will be Lotus drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, at fifth and sixth places respectively. Then at seventh will be Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg followed by the two Infiniti Red Bull Racing drivers Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo in eighth and ninth spots respectively. Rounding out the top ten tomorrow will be Force India’s other driver Sergio Perez.

Other drivers having a bad day included McLaren’s Jenson Button, who had to sit out the session due to powertrain issues, and of course Toro Rosso youngster Max Verstappen who started out with two grid penalties—a five-place penalty for his Monaco Grand Prix crash, and a further 10 for using his fifth engine of the season this weekend. And since the Dutch driver only set the 12th fastest time, he not only has to start at the back of the race but he also faces a 10-second stop-go penalty.

Going into tomorrow’s race, weather conditions are still looking fine. Hamilton currently leads the 2015 Drivers’ Championship with 126 points. Rosberg is second with 116 points, followed by Vettel in third with 98 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 242 points followed by Ferrari with 158 points and Williams with 81 points.


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