Canadian GP 2024

JUNE 8, 2024

Qualifying Report - Russell takes sensational pole

George Russell, Canadian GP 2024
© Mercedes

George Russell stunned the Formula 1 world by securing pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix, setting an identical lap time to championship leader Max Verstappen. In a nail-biting qualifying session, Russell posted a 1m12.000s lap in the opening runs of Q3, establishing a benchmark that even Verstappen couldn’t surpass. Despite matching Russell’s time, Verstappen was relegated to second due to the timing of their laps, giving Russell his second career pole position.

Russell’s impressive lap came after a series of upgrades to the Mercedes car, first introduced in Monaco. His achievement signals a potential shift in the competitive landscape of the season. “It feels so good, so much hard work has gone on back at the factory. We said in Monaco we hoped this was the start of the season,” said an elated Russell. “It’s awesome when we come to Montreal. First bit done, but now we’ve got to fight for that win. Let’s go for it.”

McLaren’s Lando Norris secured third place on the grid with a lap just 0.021s shy of the leading pair. Norris’ teammate, Oscar Piastri, followed closely in fourth, showcasing McLaren’s strong form this weekend. Daniel Ricciardo responded to recent criticism of his performances with a fifth-place finish, positioning his Red Bull ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.

Lewis Hamilton, after initially holding second place following the opening laps, was unable to improve his time on his final run and settled for seventh. He will start alongside Red Bull’s Yuki Tsunoda, who impressed by securing eighth on the grid. Local hero Lance Stroll and Williams’ Alex Albon rounded out the top ten, both drivers delivering standout performances in qualifying trim.

Ferrari endured a disappointing session, with both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz being eliminated in Q2. Sainz struggled with grip throughout, while Leclerc aborted his final lap after failing to improve. Both drivers attempted to advance on used soft tires from Q1, which proved ineffective.

Williams’ Logan Sargeant qualified 13th, narrowly missing out on Q2. Despite feeling impeded during his run, his performance earned praise from team principal James Vowles. Kevin Magnussen and Pierre Gasly were also knocked out in Q2, unable to find the necessary pace to progress.

Sergio Perez was eliminated in Q1 for the second consecutive race. The Mexican driver, who recently secured a new two-year contract with Red Bull, was unable to climb out of the drop zone in the final moments of the session. Despite a late improvement, he fell back into the bottom five as Albon surged out of danger.

Valtteri Bottas also failed to escape Q1, missing the cut by just under a tenth of a second. He was joined in the drop zone by Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg, and Zhou Guanyu, all of whom were unable to advance past the first hurdle.

Russell’s pole position has set the stage for an exhilarating race, with the young Briton poised to challenge Verstappen for victory. The competitive grid, featuring strong performances from McLaren and a resurgent Ricciardo, promises an exciting battle in Montreal. As the teams prepare for race day, fans are eager to see if Russell can convert his pole into a much-needed win for Mercedes.