Vettel best in final practice before Canadian GP qualifying
MONTREAL (AP) Lewis Hamilton doesn't think he got every last millisecond from his Mercedes Silver Arrow in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix on Saturday.
No matter, he'll be in good position to squeeze out every last bit of speed in the race on Sunday.
The defending champion claimed his fifth pole in seven races so far this Formula One season, completing the completing the 2.71-mile (4.36-km) Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 1 minute, 12.812 seconds. He finished 0.062 seconds ahead of Mercedes teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg, who will start next to him in the front row.
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel also beat 1:13 - by just one-hundredth of a second at 1:12.990. In all, eight cars were within one second of Hamilton's time.
''It doesn't matter how far you were ahead, as long as you're ahead,'' said Hamilton, who will be on the pole in Montreal for the fifth time. ''It was great to see how close we all were. I think that's great for the fans. It could be interesting tomorrow.''
Hamilton's true goal on a track where he's won four times already is to cut into Rosberg's lead in the championship standings. After winning the first four races this season, the German has 106 points to 82 for Hamilton, who closed the gap with a victory last week in Monaco (Rosberg was seventh).
''The team was on, to show that we're the fastest,'' Rosberg said. ''Tomorrow, everything is possible. The weather is all over the place. We'll see.''
Vettel, who posted the fastest lap in Saturday's practice, was third in qualifying.
''I wanted to get below the 13-(second) mark because I knew it would be very close with the Mercedes,'' said Vettel, the four-time world champion who won here in 2013. ''Maybe I was not greedy enough.''
Daniel Ricciardo was fourth two weeks after his Red Bull team squandered a chance at a victory in Monaco by not having his tires ready when it called him in for a pit stop. Teammate Max Verstappen, who with his victory in Spain is the only non-Mercedes to take the checkered flag this season, will be fifth on the grid on Sunday.
Kimi Raikkonen, in the other Ferrari, was sixth.
The day was not all easy for Hamilton: He skidded off course during his first lap of the final qualifying session, but he was able to avoid hitting anything.
Others weren't so lucky.
Early in the second qualifying, Carlos Sainz hit the ''Wall of Champions'' in the final turn, bringing the session to a pause. The wall takes its name from crashes that in 1999 claimed the cars of Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve. More recently, Jenson Button, Juan Pablo Montoya and Vettel have all hit the wall.
Vettel radioed in late in qualifying that he brushed the wall and took ''a little bit off the rims'' but said his car was fine. Ricciardo also rubbed the wall slightly.
''I brushed the Wall of Champions,'' Vettel said afterwards. ''So I've done that. Don't have to tomorrow.''
Intermittent rain may have led to the biggest crash of the day, when Kevin Magnussen hit the wall in Turn 7, cutting the session 8 minutes short; he was not able to make it back in time for qualifying.
''What can you say? Obviously I wanted to be driving rather than watching qualifying,'' he said. ''The damp conditions caught me out in the morning and the walls are pretty unforgiving, as we saw. I feel for my crew as they have a lot of work to do. I'll be doing everything I can to make amends in the race tomorrow.''