Lewis Hamilton celebrated a “special” personal landmark Saturday after claiming his career 44th pole position for this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.
Hamilton just out-paced Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg with the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen in third.
Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo will start from ninth on the grid – at the track where he won his maiden grand prix last season – Ricciardo out-qualified by Red Bull teammate Daniil Kvyat who will start from eighth.
Ricciardo less than happy with the result and again left frustrated with the lack of power in the Red Bull.
“This is a power circuit and we are power limited,” Ricciardo said.
“We have been trying a few options with the tyres but we couldn’t find a solution that worked which is quite frustrating.
“We’ll do what we can, the team is working hard and we have to keep pushing.” Two-time champion, Hamilton who races as number 44, said it felt extra significant for him to secure his 44th pole on one of his favourite tracks and at the circuit where he gained his first pole and victory in 2007.
“I won my first Grand Prix here in 2007 and that was incredibly special for me so to be back here and get another pole, the 44th, that’s very, very special for me,”Hamilton said.
“I really feel amazing. It wasn’t the easiest of days as FP3 was actually quite tough as I really didn’t get any complete laps, which was mostly my fault…
“So, I went into qualifying blind really as to where the set-up would be.”
Hamilton said he had forgotten all about the Mercedes pit stop fiasco at the Monaco Grand Prix and refused to allow two days of erratic practice to affect him.
He warned also that Ferrari would be a threat in the race despite the Mercedes team claiming their sixth front row lockout in seven races this year.
“Ferrari have picked up their pace this weekend, but fortunately, collectively as a team we’ve managed to at least maintain the pace that we had or try to improve in some areas, which is good,” said Hamilton.
“Tomorrow is a bit of an unknown and, once again, as I said, it hasn’t been the smoothest of weekends, but I think we can build on the foundation that Nico and I have achieved today.”
Rosberg made no effort to hide his personal disappointment. The 29-year-old German, who has reduced the defending champion’s lead to just 10 points with two successive wins, said his bid for pole all went wrong in the final Q3.
Rosberg had outpaced Hamilton on soft tyres in Q1 and was on the pace in Q2 on the ‘super-softs’ when an unexpected problem struck on the changeable track and he began to lose rear-end grip with his car.
He said: “Everything was going really well, I felt comfortable in attacking and then everything went really wrong in Q3.
“I just had less rear grip, the team thinks it knows why, but we need to analyse it. It’s really disappointing for me as I just completely lost it there.
“There wasn’t any major changes [between Q2 and Q3]. We just lost a lot of rear grip.