Race Weekend Central

A Wet & Wild Montreal Qualifying Ended With a Max Verstappen Pole

Max Verstappen was able to survive a very wet Montreal qualifying session to take his 25th career Formula 1 pole.

Verstappen hung on throughout multiple red flags in all three qualifying rounds and made a fast lap when it counted at the very end.

“Yesterday maybe wasn’t fantastic, we made a few changes to the car,” Verstappen said to interviewer Danica Patrick after the session. “Of course, today was completely wet. I do think the car improved in general to drive.

“In the wet, you have to just stay on top of all of the conditions. It was slippery out there in some places. We just made all the right calls at the right times on the track to do the lap times. Of course, I’m very happy to be on pole here.”

Outside of Verstappen, the biggest story of the qualifying session was Nico Hulkenburg, who timed his qualifying lap perfectly and took second on the grid. It’s the German’s first front row start in seven years and the first front row start for Haas in a Grand Prix; their pole last year at Sau Paulo came on a sprint weekend and they were unable to hang on to their pole through the sprint to start there on Sunday.

However, the stewards investigated Hulkenberg for a red flag breach and later gave him a three-place grid penalty. As a result, he’ll drop to fifth place, allowing Fernando Alonso to start second, Lewis Hamilton in third and George Russell in fourth.

Fernando Alonso qualified third.

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Oscar Piastri spun out and hit the barrier coming out of turn 7. This caused a red flag to remove the McLaren from the track.

After the red flag, the rain came down harder and it was impossible for anybody to improve on their lap times, with the exception of Alex Albon. Albon was the lone driver who did not have an official time on the books before the red flag, but even he decided not to take a fast lap to close out qualifying.

4. Lewis Hamilton

5. George Russell

6. Esteban Ocon

7. Lando Norris

8. Carlos Sainz

9. Oscar Piastri

10. Alex Albon


The cars started out on intermediates, but then many teams swapped out for soft tires. Almost as soon as they did, it started to rain.

Albon took a risk and started the session on soft tires, and it massively payed off as the Williams driver was fastest of the session.

Lance Stroll slid into turn 5 on his first timed lap and touched the wall a bit with his nose. He went back to pit road without stopping and was able to rejoin with a new front wing.

The FIA noted an incident between Stroll and Ocon in which Stroll potentially impeded Ocon on a fast lap. The action will be reviewed after qualifying.

After the review, Stroll was penalized three places on the grid and will start 16th.

11. Charles Leclerc

12. Sergio Perez

13. Lance Stroll

14. Kevin Magnussen

15. Valtteri Bottas


The round started with no rain, but a wet racetrack.

Zhou Guanyu lost power before making it past turn 3 and parked up by turn 7. This led to the session being red flagged with 14 minutes and 33 seconds remaining so that the marshals could get the Alfa Romeo off the racetrack.

But then Zhou got fired off and going again, no longer requiring the marshals to clean up the racetrack. The session was promptly restarted once all drivers made it back to the pits.

There was a lot of backup in the final moments as the track was at the point of being incredibly fast the later a driver started their final lap. The FIA noted an incident between Sainz and Pierre Gasly for Sainz potentially impeding Gasly. The Spaniard was later issued a three-place grid penalty for the Grand Prix, meaning he will start the race from 11th, after advancing to Q3 and initially qualifying in eighth place.

Yuki Tsunoda was also penalized after qualifying and drops to 19th on the grid.

16. Yuki Tsunoda

17. Pierre Gasly

18. Nyck de Vries

19. Logan Sargeant

20. Zhou Guanyu

2023 Formula 1 Pirelli Grand Prix du Canada Qualifying Results

F1 Starting Grid for Canadian Grand Prix

The 2023 running of the Canadian Grand Prix will go lights out on Sunday, June 18, at 2 p.m. ET with coverage on ABC.

About the author

Michael has watched NASCAR for 20 years and regularly covered the sport from 2013-2021. He moved on to Formula 1, IndyCar, and SRX coverage for the site, while still putting a toe in the water from time-to-time back into the NASCAR pool.

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