• Canadian Grand Prix - Qualifying

Superb Hamilton pips Red Bulls for first pole of 2010

ESPNF1 Staff
June 12, 2010 « Hamilton tops tight final practice in Montreal | »
Lewis Hamilton celebrates pole in Canada © Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton took his first pole of the season at the Canadian Grand Prix, breaking Red Bull's stranglehold on the top spot for the first time this year.

Crucially Hamilton set the time on soft tyres, while the Red Bulls of Mark Webber - second on the grid - and Sebastian Vettel - third - opted for hard tyres. Under this year's regulations the drivers have to start the race on the same tyres they qualified on, meaning Hamilton will likely have to pit first while the Red Bulls will go longer on the more durable compound. Also in the running is Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who will start fourth on the grid and was just several hundredths of a second shy of Vettel's time.

McLaren ran Hamilton so close to the limit that he had to cut the engine on his in-lap to ensure there was enough fuel in the tank for an FIA sample. He then had to push his car down the straight before being whisked away in a medical car to attend the press conference. While the FIA does not look kindly on drivers running out of fuel he will not receive a grid penalty.

Jenson Button in the second McLaren continued to struggle with the car sliding underneath him and will line up fifth. Tonio Liuzzi secured a brilliant sixth place for Force India, his best result of the season and ahead of in-form team-mate Adrian Sutil, who was ninth.

Felipe Massa was again some way off the pace but still managed to pip Robert Kubica in the Renault to seventh. Nico Rosberg was the highest placed Mercedes, after a disappointing session for the German team that saw Michael Schumacher fail to make Q3. The seven-time Montreal winner will start 13th behind the two Williams of Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg.

Vitaly Petrov was 14th fastest ahead of the two Toro Rosso's and the two Saubers. Kamui Kobayashi dropped out in Q1 and was very nearly beaten by the Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen to 18th place. Jarno Trulli will start 20th ahead of Timo Glock in the Virgin, Bruno Senna in the HRT, Lucas di Grassi in the Virgin and Karun Chandhok, who again suffered reliability problems with his HRT.

It should be a fantastic race on Sunday with Hamilton set to benefit from an early safety car while Red Bull is banking on the McLaren's tyres degrading quickly in the opening laps.