Hamilton eases to 44th career pole position in Canada


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.

Texas starting lineup: Felix Rosenqvist back on pole; Scott Dixon qualifies second


FORT WORTH, Texas — For the second consecutive year, Felix Rosenqvist will lead the NTT IndyCar Series starting lineup to the green flag at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Arrow McLaren driver is hoping the third time will be the charm at the 1.5-mile oval, where he has run extremely well but has only a career-best 12th in five starts.

“We’ve always been good here, but this is a whole different confidence level compared to last year,” Rosenqvist told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider. “Let’s try to wrap it up (Sunday).”

In 2020, Rosenqvist was competing for a podium when he crashed with 10 laps remaining at Texas.

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here for speeds from Saturday’s time trials

INDYCAR AT TEXASSchedule, start times, how to watch on NBC, Peacock

Last year, he started first on an oval for the first time in his career but finished 21st because of a broken halfshaft.

“It’s definitely one of my favorite tracks, and naturally, I’ve always been OK here,” Rosenqvist said. “It was the first oval that made sense to me. Every year I’m building on that. But looking at the results, they don’t represent the speed I normally have.

“I don’t want to jinx anything, but I hope tomorrow is going to go a bit better and some luck our way would be nice. It’s been feeling super good. Arrow McLaren has been mega every session, so just keep it rolling.”

Arrow McLaren qualified all three of its Chevrolets in the top five, building on a second for Pato O’Ward and fourth for Alexander Rossi in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The March 5 season opener was a disappointing start for Rosenqvist who was squeezed into the wall by Scott Dixon on the first lap.

Dixon, a five-time winner at Texas, will start second Sunday, followed by Rossi and Josef Newgarden. O’Ward will start fifth alongside Takuma Sato, who will start on the outside of the third row in his Chip Ganassi Racing debut.

During nearly four hours of practice and qualifying (including a special high-line session), Saturday’s lone incident involved Conor Daly.

The Ed Carpenter Racing driver spun three times but stayed off the wall and in the frontstretch grass. Aside from a front wing change and new tires, there was no damage to his No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet during the incident midway through the 30-minute session in which drivers were limited to the high line.

“I hadn’t really had a moment before, but it snapped really aggressively,” Daly told NBC Sports after final practice. “Not ideal, but I do know my way around correcting a spin it seems like. I drove NASCAR last weekend and that seemed to help a little bit. I drove in the dirt a lot in USAC Midgets and seemed to be able to save something but not ideal or what we wanted to have happen.”

Daly will start 25th of 28 cars alongside teammate Rinus VeeKay in Row 13. Carpenter qualified 18th.

“Our three of our cars were clearly looking for something. Mechanical grip is for sure what we need. Qualifying we actually expected to be a lot better, but we found an issue there. We’ll see what happens. This race can change a lot. I’m confident in the team to hopefully figure some things out for tomorrow.”

Here’s the IndyCar starting lineup for Sunday’s PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway (qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine and speed):


1. (6) Felix Rosenqvist, Dallara-Chevy, 220.264 mph
2. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 219.972


3. (7) Alexander Rossi, Dallara-Chevy, 219.960
4. (2) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Chevy, 219.801


5. (5) Pato O’Ward, Dallara-Chevy, 219.619
6. (11) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 219.508


7. (10) Alex Palou, Dallara-Honda, 219.480
8. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 219.355


9. (18) David Malukas, Dallara-Honda, 219.256
10. (26) Colton Herta, Dallara-Honda, 219.184


11. (28) Romain Grosjean, Dallara-Honda, 219.165
12. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco, Dallara-Honda, 219.146

ROW 7 

13. (55) Benjamin Pedersen, Dallara-Chevy, 219.100
14. (14) Santino Ferrucci, Dallara-Chevy, 218.892


15. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Dallara-Chevy, 218.765
16. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Dallara-Honda, 218.698


17. (77) Callum Ilott, Dallara-Chevy, 218.427
18. (33) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 218.375

ROW 10

19. (78) Agustin Canapino, Dallara-Chevy, 218.367
20. (27) Kyle Kirkwood, Dallara-Honda, 218.227

ROW 11

21. (06) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 218.196
22. (60) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 218.103

ROW 12

23. (51) Sting Ray Robb, Dallara-Honda, 217.676
24. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 217.611

ROW 13

25. (20) Conor Daly, Dallara-Chevy, 217.457
26. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Dallara-Chevy, 216.880

ROW 14

27. (45) Christian Lundgaard, Dallara-Honda, 216.210
28. (30) Jack Harvey, Dallara-Honda, 216.103