A lot has happened between now and Sebastian Vettel’s last pole position.
You would have to rewind back to the German GP in late July to find the last time Vettel started at the very front of the grid.
And ever since that Saturday in Hockenheim, the four-time World Champion’s career stumbled onto what you could describe as a negative tangent.
Between that sweltering day in western Germany and now, Vettel oversaw the dissolution of his own championship challenge, Novak Djokovic claimed another two Grand Slams and the Premier League hosted arguably one of its greatest title battles between Manchester City and Liverpool.
It’s why pole position number 56 comes at the perfect time for Vettel, his team and his adoring supporters.
Ferrari promised upgrades and boy, have they delivered. Vettel darted round the ambient Gilles Villenueve circuit to post a sensational 1m 10.240s to record his second consecutive pole at Montreal - his fifth overall.
The pace displayed by the German in the final practice session proved to be no flash in the pan as Vettel edged championship leader Lewis Hamilton by two-tenths of a second.
It’s Hamilton’s 10th front row appearance in Canada, which ties the record for a single circuit, having been previously held by Michael Schumacher and his Suzuka dominance.
Vettel’s team-mate Charles Leclerc ensured it was a positive day for the Maranello-based manufacturer as he secured third place on the grid. However, the Monegasque’s final Q3 time was an alarming six tenths off the set lap by Vettel, and the young Ferrari prodigy will be looking to make amends in the race.
Ricciardo rallies for Renault
A Renault starting fourth did you say? Thanks to the expertise of the RS19’s captain Daniel Ricciardo, the team claimed their best starting position of the year as the Aussie excelled to finish just eight tenths adrift of Vettel’s time.
Ricciardo’s team-mate Nico Hulkenberg qualified in seventh to make it an impressive day in the office for Cyril Abiteboul’s crew.
It was a bittersweet afternoon in the Red Bull garage with Pierre Gasly out-qualifying his team-mate Max Verstappen for the first time this season as he is set to start fifth on the grid.
Verstappen’s Q2 session was disrupted by a huge crash from Kevin Magnussen as the Dane fell victim to the Wall of Champions and virtually destroyed his Haas VF-19 in the process.
It was an afternoon to forget for Valterri Bottas, after the Finn could only muster P6 as he struggled to find the right balance in his Mercedes.
Bottas span on his opening lap at T2 and found it difficult to compete with the leading pack, finishing a disappointing way off the pace of Vettel and his team-mate.
The two McLaren’s of Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris qualified eightth and ninth, meaning that all four Renault-powered cars on the grid were represented in the top ten.
Magnussen was tenth despite not making a Q3 appearance following that massive shunt at the very end of Q2, whilst Verstappen will start P11 having been prevented from making it into the final segment.
Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon made it an Alfa Romeo sandwich as they qualified 12th and 14th respectively, with Antonio Giovinazzi perched in between the Toro Rosso pair.
Romain Grosjean was 15th for Haas, whilst it proved to be a dreadful outing for the Racing Point duo of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll as they failed to make it out of Q1.
Kimi Raikkonen was a major Q1 casualty as he finished P17, whilst the Williams pair of George Russell and Robert Kubica unsurprisingly rounded off the field in P19 and P20 - the seventh time Russell has out-qualified his team-mate Kubica so far this season.