Lewis Hamilton has closed the gap on championship leader Sebastian Vettel, following a commanding victory at Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix.

Not only does Hamilton take pole in Canada, he also set a record for pole positions by breaking the record of his hero Ayrton Senna - his 65th pole position - and is just three poles behind all-time record holder Michael Schumacher.

Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas was third-fastest in qualifying and will start from the second row beside Raikkonen.

Bottas' way to second was smoothed when the unfortunate Verstappen's Red Bull simply stopped in Turn 2 on the 11th lap, but the Finn pitted for soft tyres on the 23rd lap, and struggled to hold pace with Hamilton thereafter as he steadily dropped away after keeping him honest for a while.

It was the fastest qualifying lap ever at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, nearly 1.5 seconds faster than the pace that won him last year's pole and even one second better than Vettel ran in his Ferrari during Saturday morning's practice.

"I sent a message to my guys to say we needed everything to be flawless, right on the point, and they did it today". "We came here with the auto back to where it should be, it doesn't mean it's going to be like that every time but I think we've learned a lot and I'm happy".

Matters got worse at the end of lap five, when Vettel was hauled into the pits for repairs to his front wing.

"It has been an incredible weekend, I couldn't be happier, firstly for the team", said Hamilton, who has now won the Canadian GP six times. "I didn't get one". "It was tough, I was defending the whole race and we weren't that quick".

Vettel was then able to get past the lead Force India before taking almost two seconds out of Ricciardo on the final lap, but the scrap was enough to allow the Red Bull driver to hold on. "I feel so relaxed now", said the Briton.

His teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, wasn't so lucky. "Seeing the Ferrari further back, I thought, 'That's fantastic for us'". "To be up here and to match Ayrton (Senna) in qualifying yesterday, as I say, I work with a great team of people and I'm just a small link in a big chain". With the Ferrari's catching rapidly, Sergio Perez was desperate to overtake Ricciardo, he could smell the podium in front of him, but the Mexican couldn't get close enough to challenge.

'We had damage on the front wing which we did not notice initially, so we missed a free pit stop under the Safety Car'.

Despite the win, Hamilton is still behind Vettel in the Driver Standings.

An easy afternoon for Mercedes was made even more straightforward when mechanical problems sidelined Verstappen when he had been running second, gifting the place to Bottas and ensuring Mercedes of their first lockout of the top two places since the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last November.

The safety auto was deployed to deal with Sainz's stricken Toro Rosso, with Hamilton leading from Verstappen and Bottas.

Verstappen lasted just 10 laps despite his move at the start.


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