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FACTS AND STATS: Williams lead a qualifying segment for the first time since 2016 after Albon tops Q2

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Sean Kelly
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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 17: Alexander Albon of Thailand driving the (23) Williams FW45 Mercedes on

Montreal provided an entertaining qualifying session, with the tricky conditions not easy to handle. Max Verstappen emerged from the downpour with another pole position, but it was Nico Hulkenberg and Haas who wound up his closest challengers. However, Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz, Lance Stroll and Yuki Tsunoda were all hit with three-place grid penalties after the session.

While it was all smiles down at the American team until that penalty, some others weren’t too happy with their qualifying slots. Here are the best facts and stats from Saturday in Canada…

  • Max Verstappen scored his third consecutive pole position, his best run of the season. It’s the Dutchman’s 25th career pole, passing Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet.

  • Nico Hulkenberg was second, his third career front row start and first since Austria 2016 in his Force India days. It’s also his best Q3 performance since taking pole in Brazil 2010.

  • This is the first time a Haas will start from the front row for a Grand Prix – Kevin Magnussen started from P1 for a Sprint.

READ MORE: Verstappen charges to pole for Canadian GP as Hulkenberg grabs surprise P2 in wet and wild qualifying session

  • Fernando Alonso qualified third, for his fourth top-three start of the season. He starts in the top three in Canada for the second year running.
MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 17: Second placed qualifier Nico Hulkenberg of Germany and Haas F1 waves to

Hulkenberg scored Haas' highest grid slot for a Grand Prix, only to lost it over a red flag breach

  • Lewis Hamilton starts fourth, in what will be his third top-four start of the year. He finished on the podium here from P4 on the grid last season.

  • George Russell qualified P5, his highest start since he was on the front row in Australia.

  • Esteban Ocon was sixth, the third straight race he’s started in the top six. He has now qualified P9, P8, P7 and P6 in his last four visits to Canada, in that order.

  • Lando Norris starts seventh, he’s only started higher than that once this year when he was third last time out in Spain.

  • Carlos Sainz loses his distinction of being the only driver to start in the top five of every race in 2023 after qualifying eighth. He was then handed a three-place grid penalty after the session for impeding Pierre Gasly in qualifying.

READ MORE: ‘We are just making our lives so much more difficult’ – Leclerc calls on Ferrari to ‘improve now’ after Montreal Q2 exit

  • Oscar Piastri was ninth, matching his starting slot from Spain. It’s the first time he’s made it to Q3 at consecutive races.

  • Alex Albon made his second Q3 appearance of the year after Australia – although he did reach Q3 in Sprint qualifying in Baku.

  • Williams led a session/segment for the first time since Nicholas Latifi in FP3 at Hungary in 2022.

  • Alex Albon finished P1 in Q2, the last time a Williams led a qualifying segment was Felipe Massa at Spa in 2016.

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 17: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving (55) the Ferrari SF-23 on track during

Sainz couldn't keep his run of top five grid starts going in Montreal - and then received a three-place grid penalty

  • Charles Leclerc has missed Q3 in consecutive races for the first time since Turkey and Bahrain in 2020.

  • Meanwhile, Sergio Perez also missed Q3 – for the third consecutive race. That’s his worst run since 2019. The Mexican hasn’t made the top 10 shootout in Montreal now since 2018.

  • Nyck de Vries suffered just his second Q1 elimination in the last six races. His team mate Yuki Tsunoda missed out on Q2 by just 0.016s.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from qualifying in Montreal as Verstappen takes pole ahead of Hulkenberg

  • It’s only the second time this year that both AlphaTauri cars exited in Q1, having done likewise in Jeddah.

  • Pierre Gasly was fourth fastest in qualifying in Spain, but out in Q1 today. He also dropped out in Q1 here last year.

  • Zhou Guanyu qualified last, having dropped out in Q1 four times in the last six races.

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