Fernando Alonso to "attack" Max Verstappen as he makes front row for Canadian GP
Max Verstappen took pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix, but Fernando Alonso was the star of the show by securing a place on place on the front row.
The Alpine driver, who turns 41 next month, made light of the treacherously wet conditions in Montreal. While a place on the front row was refreshing – and it certainly went down well with the Canadian crowd – it wasn’t a big surprise as the Spaniard has shown strong pace all weekend.
The two-time world champion was quickest in the final practice session, also run in the wet, and he carried that form into qualifying, which saw the track dry out enough for intermediates to be fitted. However, it wasn’t dry enough for slicks, as George Russell found out when he spun after taking a gamble near the end of Q3.
Verstappen dominated the session and it briefly looked like he would be joined on the front row by his arch-rival from last season, Lewis Hamilton, only for Carlos Sainz to jump ahead of the Mercedes driver.
However, Alonso had the final say, pinching second spot at the death to set up an intriguing first-corner duel with the world championship leader.
“Thanks to the wet conditions today, the car was mega,” said Alonso after emerging from his car. “I think the fans also pushed me to make an extra push.”
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Asked about his hopes for the race, he added with a wink: “Let’s see, I think we’ll attack Max on the first corner.”
Sainz had to settle for third with Hamilton fourth. It was a great day for the Haas team with Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher completing the top six. Alonso’s teammate, Esteban Ocon, qualified seventh ahead of Russell, who was eighth fastest despite his late spin. McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and Alfa Romero’s Guanyu Zhou rounded out the top 10.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez crashed out of Q2 and will start 13th while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will start from the back after taking an engine change.
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