Hamilton eases to 44th career pole position in Canada

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Lewis Hamilton stormed to pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix in qualifying on Saturday at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, beating Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg by three-tenths of a second in the final Q3 running.

Driving the no. 44 car, Hamilton took pole number 44 of his F1 career on the same weekend that he received a signed no. 44 shirt of baseball legend Hank Aaron, and at the track where he secured his first ever pole back in 2007.

Ferrari’s hopes of a shock pole position faded dramatically as Sebastian Vettel failed to make it through Q1 thanks to an engine problem, but Kimi Raikkonen did manage to keep the team’s spirits up by qualifying third ahead of Williams’ Valtteri Bottas.

Q1 set the tone for the final all-Mercedes battle for pole position as Rosberg and Hamilton traded fastest lap times at the top of the timesheets. On the soft tire, it was Rosberg who ultimately had the upper hand, edging his teammate out by just 0.002 seconds for second place in the final classification.

It was Romain Grosjean who sprang a surprise on the super-soft tire to finish in first place, with Lotus teammate Pastor Maldonado finishing fourth. Kimi Raikkonen finished in sixth for Ferrari, but his teammate Sebastian Vettel fell foul of a problem on his engine that limited him to just two timed laps at the end of the session.

The sick Ferrari SF15-T simply did not have enough pace in a straight line, leaving Vettel 16th and out in Q1. Felipe Massa was another big name to fall as Williams also had engine troubles, qualifying 17th ahead of the two Manor drivers. Jenson Button propped up the timesheets in 20th place after an engine changed forced him to sit out of qualifying altogether.

McLaren’s woes continued in Q2 as Fernando Alonso was eliminated in 14th place, finishing ahead of only Felipe Nasr, who was somewhat fortunate to get on track at all following his shunt during practice earlier in the day. The Toro Rosso duo of Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen had to settle for P11 and P12 respectively, and the latter will start from the back due to his 15-place grind penalty. Marcus Ericsson completed the Q2 dropzone in 13th place.

Once again in the second session, it was Mercedes who ruled the roost, opening up a sizeable gap over the rest of the field on the super-soft tire. Lotus ran strongly once again as Romain Grosjean finished third ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas, while Force India managed to get both of its drivers into the top ten.

In the final Q3 runs, it was Hamilton who claimed the early advantage by going three-tenths faster than Rosberg. However, Mercedes assured the German driver that the set of tires for his second run would be better and would allow him to challenge Hamilton later in the session.

It wasn’t to be for Rosberg, though. Hamilton failed to improve with his final lap, but Rosberg also did not find any more time, handing the Briton his 44th career pole position with a best lap of 1:14.393.

Kimi Raikkonen enjoyed his best qualifying of the season to finish third for Ferrari ahead of Williams’ Valtteri Bottas. Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado ran well to fifth and sixth for Lotus, with Nico Hulkenberg seventh for Force India.

Daniil Kvyat outqualified teammate Daniel Ricciardo in eighth place, whilst Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten for Force India in tenth place.

Mercedes’ domination may come into question every now and then, but there was no denying the superiority of Lewis Hamilton on Saturday in Montreal. After losing out in Monaco, he needed to bounce back quickly this weekend, and has put himself in the box seat to claim a fourth Canadian GP victory on Sunday.

You can watch the Canadian Grand Prix live on NBC from 2pm on Sunday, with F1 Extra starting at 1:30pm on NBCSN.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”