Hamilton admits he struggled in Canadian qualifying

Pole sitter Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel right of Germany chats with third place finisher Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of Netherlands after the qualifying session for the F1 Canadian Grand Prix auto race Saturday

Hamilton admits he struggled in Canadian qualifying

Yesterday we were a bit in trouble.

"There would have been gains and I think it would have been a close fight for the pole with the new engine parts, but we're going to get it later", said Bottas.

Verstappen added: "I'm very happy with this weekend. It has brought me to where I am right now and after the race is not the right time to talk".

"The vehicle was incredible in qualifying - it just kept getting quicker". On a track like this when you have to attack kerbs so much it's important you feel at home and have confidence to play around and I think then you can extract a bit more from the auto. "But it was fantastic".

After leading all three practice sessions in the build-up, Max Verstappen had to produce an excellent lap just to claim third for the German's former team, beating Lewis Hamilton in the process.

The Dutchman will line up third. "My laps weren't good and it just didn't quite come together for me", he said. The auto has been working really well and we know in qualifying we are missing top speed. "Gilles Villeneuve, the favorite driver of Enzo Ferrari, and I think his charisma, his character that he brought to Formula One, to racing in general, is still alive today".

Hamilton, who leads Vettel by 14 points in the standings, was seeking to equal Schumacher's record of seven wins in Canada this weekend, but his run of supremacy - three straight wins at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve - looks likely to end on Sunday.

"It's hard to judge our single lap pace from today as we haven't run the HyperSoft and some of our closest competition looked to have had less than ideal sessions".

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Hamilton's Silver Arrows team-mate Valtteri Bottas was fifth fastest in first practice, and sixth in the afternoon session. It was the best time in Friday afternoon's practice and a full second better than his best lap in the morning, when he was also the fastest. In qualifying he finished at the back of the customary battle between the top three teams, almost 0.2s off Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen, who managed to split the Mercedes drivers and claim third position.

"On paper it's not that satisfying but I actually feel we made a lot of progress in qualifying", said the Australian.

Haas F1's Romain Grosjean and McLaren sophomore Stoffel Vandoorne completed the top 10.

The failure added to a miserable weekend for Grosjean, who has yet to score a point this season and damaged his vehicle slightly during Friday's free practice when he struck a groundhog.

"It's not one factor or the other, but every piece of the puzzle that we need to get right if we want to win".

The Oxfordshire team have scored the fewest points of all this year, and Canadian teenager Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin could manage only 17th and 18th respectively.

"The positive is that we have both cars starting on the ultra-soft, so we hope to be in a strong position for the race with a number of strategic options".

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