Lewis Hamilton swept to his fifth Canadian Grand Prix pole position on Saturday and piled more pressure on his championship-leading Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg.
The triple Formula One world champion will seek to win in Montreal for the fifth time on Sunday, knowing he will retake the title lead if Rosberg draws a blank.
The German is 24 points ahead after six of 21 races.
Hamilton’s love affair with the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, where he took his first pole in 2007, continued as he seized the top slot with a time of one minute 12.812 seconds and beat Rosberg by 0.062.
Two weeks after lucking into his first win of the season in Monaco, thanks to a Red Bull pitstop bungle, Hamilton provided further evidence that his campaign is fully back on track after a start plagued by misfortune.
Rosberg’s second place brought him a 13th consecutive front row start, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel third fastest and 0.178 behind Hamilton.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo qualified fourth for Red Bull, with 18-year-old team-mate Max Verstappen fifth and Kimi Raikkonen sixth for Ferrari.
Fernando Alonso will start 10th after Spain’s two-time world champion signalled McLaren’s steady if unspectacular progress by reaching the final qualifying session for the third race in succession.
Compatriot Carlos Sainz become the first driver to fall victim this weekend to the feared ‘Wall of Champions’, hitting it in the second phase.
The Toro Rosso driver got too close to the wall at the final corner and he paid the price, forcing the session to be red flagged. He qualified 16th.
Danish driver Kevin Magnussen did not take part in qualifying with Renault unable to repair his car in time after his crash late in final practice.
The first session to decide grid spots for Sunday brought more disappointment for Renault, with Britain’s Jolyon Palmer missing the cut in 17th place.
Rain also made the track very greasy, and Manor’s Rio Haryanto lost the back end of his car.
The Indonesian damaged the rear as he clipped barriers on both sides of the track to finish 21st, missing the chance to take a qualifying lead over German team-mate Pascal Wehrlein.
The highly-regarded Wehrlein also failed to make the cut in 18th spot but has now outqualified Haryanto four times to three.