It is fair to say that Lewis Hamilton’s Canadian Grand Prix pole winning lap came out of the blue on Saturday afternoon, astounding and surprising just about everyone at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on the day, including Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
Hamilton equaled Ayrton Senna’s record of 65 F1 career pole positions with a mega-lap which would have made the Brazilian proud, three tenths quicker than his closest rival, a feat that thoroughly impressed his team chief.
Wolff told reporters after qualifying in Montreal, “Lewis has these days where you understand why he’s different to others. Whether it’s a particular circuit that he likes or just getting the car where he needs to have the car, with a certain behaviour, he is just stellar. And you realise that. You see that very special yellow helmet, 65 poles, which just confirms it.”
“Throughout the session we just continued to improve, particularly with Lewis. The car wasn’t so great at the beginning but then when we changed the system from lap two and lap four to lap one and lap three, the first run was not great, the first lap was not great and we could see that the tyres were not where they should have been in lap one but then suddenly it came together. From then onward it just clicked.”
Hamilton’s feat was 0.7 of a second faster than his teammate Valtteri Bottas, who acknowledged after the session, “Lewis had a mega lap. A big congratulations to Lewis for his 65th pole position today. It’s a great achievement to match Senna.
Wolff explained the deficit between his two drivers, “The car went towards Lewis and the tyres went towards Lewis and for Valtteri the car and the tyres got worse throughout the sessions and was probably the worst in Q3. It’s unknown territory.”
Hamilton claimed his first pole position and race win at the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix in his rookie season Now, a decade later, he is aiming to score his sixth victory at the track named after Canadian F1 legend Gilles Villeneuve.