The specifics of Lewis Hamilton’s staggering 1:11.459 lap to qualify on pole for the Canadian Grand Prix got lost in the emotional and historical aspects, which were intertwined.
His 65th career pole of his Formula 1 career equalled him with the late Ayrton Senna, and for his efforts he was rewarded with one of Senna’s race-worn helmets as a gift from the Senna family after the session was complete.
But the lap itself to get there was a special one, because that 1:11.459 was more than three tenths quicker than what was already the fastest lap of the weekend, a 1:11.791 on his first run.
As it turned out, the Mercedes AMG Petronas driver needed that second lap because Sebastian Vettel found six one-thousandths of a second (1:11.795 to 1:11.789), which would have been enough to beat Hamilton for the pole.
Hamilton described the two laps afterwards to NBCSN’s Will Buxton, who conducted the post-qualifying interviews at Turn 2, in front of throngs of fans at Montreal.
“Today I can’t believe it,” he admitted. “It was a close battle with the Ferraris, they were so quick. I was pushing, and gunning for it. I wanted a good lap and got it.
“It was a sexy lap! It was a great lap. I can’t believe it came together so well. Just managed to be a bit up on each section. We really built up for this race. A big thank you to everyone at the factory.”
The pole comes at an important time for Hamilton, who enters Sunday’s race 25 points behind Vettel for the championship. This is his sixth Canadian Grand Prix pole and he’s in search of his sixth Canadian Grand Prix win.
Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix rolls off at 2 p.m. ET on NBC.
The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.
IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.
This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.
INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists
IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.
“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.
“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.