Max Verstappen takes dominant pole in Canada, Fernando Alonso is promoted to second

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Max Verstappen was in a different class as he dominated a wet qualifying session at the Canadian Grand Prix to secure his third pole position in a row and the 25th of his career.

A third championship is already looking inevitable for Verstappen after just seven races this year, and on the basis of Saturday's session it will be richly deserved.

Once again, the Red Bull driver looked unbeatable, with pole position never in doubt and Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg emerging as his closest rival.

Hulkenberg held the second fastest time when the Q3 qualifying shootout was red flagged for an accident involving Oscar Piastri at Turn 7. Heavy rain continued to fall while the session was suspended and that locked in Verstappen's pole, 1.244s ahead of Hulkenberg in second place.

Hulkenberg's heroics were undone several hours later, when he was given a three-place grid penalty for driving too fast under the red flag which followed Piastri's crash. 

That moved Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso up to second, while Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell now share a place on the second row. Hulkenberg will start fifth . 

Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were caught out by changing conditions in Q2 and failed to make the top ten. The track was dry enough for slick tyres at the start of the second qualifying session and Leclerc even requested Ferrari fit them to his car over team radio, only for his engineer to tell him to stay out on intermediates wet tyres, which proved slower at that time.

To underline the advantage of being on slicks at the start of Q2, Alex Albon's Williams finished the session 0.367 faster than anyone else after becoming the first driver to fit a set of fresh soft tyres at the start of the session. Others followed suit, but for many the call was made too late as the rain started to fall again and slick tyres were no longer offering a performance advantage.

That locked in positions 11 to 15, with Leclerc, Perez, Stroll, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas all using slicks but failing to get a clean lap in. The result means Leclerc failed to make Q3 for the second race in a row and Perez, who remains Verstappen's closest competitor in championship, for the third race in a row. 

Esteban Ocon secured sixth on the grid for Alpine ahead of McLaren's Lando Norris in seventh. Carlos Sainz was eighth fastest but dropped to 11th for impeding Pierre Gasly in Q1 at the final chicane.

Piastri was ninth for McLaren after his Q3 accident ahead of Albon's surprise appearance in the top ten for Williams. 

Yuki Tsuonda missed out on a place in Q2 by 0.016s after being held up ahead of his final flying lap and was 16th fastest overall. He will start ahead of Gasly, who will hope to move up the grid if other drivers are penalised. Stroll and Tsunoda are also under investigation for impeding other drivers. 

The second AlphaTauri of Nyck de Vries was 18th fastest and will start ahead of Williams' Logan Sargeant and Zhou Guanyu, who caused a red flag when his Alfa Romeo briefly stopped on track at the start of Q1 before getting going again and returning to the pits.