Sports Desk, Jun 18 (EFE).- Reigning Formula One champion Max Verstappen (Red Bull) claimed pole Saturday for the 2022 Grand Prix of Canada, just ahead of Fernando Alonso (Alpine), as the 40-year-old Spaniard secured a front-row spot for the first time in a decade.
The Dutchman bested the field with a time of 1:21.299 around the track at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Undaunted by the damp, chilly conditions, Alonso had shined in the final practice session and drove a tremendous final lap in Q3 to bump countryman Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) down to third place.
It was the two-time F1 champion’s best performance in qualifying since the 2012 German Grand Prix, when he grabbed pole.
Briton Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), in pursuit of a record-breaking eighth F1 championship, finished fourth, followed by the Haas duo of Dane Kevin Magnussen and Germany’s Mick Schumacher.
Alonso’s teammate, Esteban Ocon of France, was seventh and will start Sunday’s race from the fourth row alongside British driver George Russell (Mercedes).
Australian veteran Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) and China’s Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) completed the top 10.
“Thanks to the wet conditions today, the car was mega,” Alonso said afterward. “I was so comfortable with driving this car and I think the fans also pushed me to make that extra push.”
Asked about his strategy for Sunday, he said with a laugh: “Let’s see, I think we’ll attack Max on the first corner.”
Verstappen, 24, leads the driver standings with 150 points, followed by teammate Sergio “Checo” Perez of Mexico with 129 and Monaco’s Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), who has 116 points.
Perez, who crashed in Q2, will start 13th on Sunday, while Leclerc is consigned to P19 after taking a grid penalty for an engine change. EFE arh/dr