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George Russell pips Verstappen to Canadian Grand Prix pole

George Russell claimed only the second pole position of his career after setting an identical time as Max Verstappen during a scintillating qualifying session at the Canadian Grand Prix.

The British driver, who was on pole in Hungary in 2022, proved Mercedes' progress and beat Verstappen by virtue of having set his time first as the pair could not be separated by the timing charts.

The top three were separated by just two thousandths of a second, with Lando Norris lining up third.

Lewis Hamilton fell away at the end to finish seventh after appearing in the battle for pole.

Two weeks on from his glorious home win in Monaco, title hopeful Charles Leclerc will start only 11th as Ferrari suffered a shock double elimination in Q2.

Hamilton had earlier set a blistering fastest time in final practice as Mercedes hinted at further improvement after a promising showing in Monaco.

The seven-time world champion said on Thursday he felt a first podium of the season was not far away.

Hamilton, who will leave Mercedes for Ferrari after this season, won his first Formula One race in Canada during his debut season for McLaren in 2007 and in total has won seven times around Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

But it was his team-mate Russell who led the way with a stunning performance in the final qualifying session.

"It feels so good," Russell said. "Let's hope this is the start of something for our season. I think it is.
"Excited for tomorrow. Now we have our eyes on that win."

The first session began with the track rapidly drying after rain following third practice and the times tumbled as the clock ticked down.

Sergio Perez, who was given a new contract by Red Bull until the end of 2026 earlier this week, was eliminated in Q1 for the second successive