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Vettel puts Ferrari on top in final practice

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Michael Schumacher win the 2002 Canadian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton said that the Mercedes simply hadn't been fast enough on the straights to challenge for pole position in Saturday's qualifying session for the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix.

He has won six times at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve but was off the podium previous year in a race won by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

LeClerc, who topped Friday's second practice, was 0.139 behind the four-times world champion but in front of the Mercedes' of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. It came off the back of a strong showing from Ferrari in second and final practice in Montreal.

Although Vettel was five-one up in qualifying, the underlying pace was that when the Ferrari as a auto was competitive, it was Leclerc who looked the faster driver.

Renault's Daniel Ricciardo in fourth (1:11.071) delivered his best qualifying result of the season, while Red Bull's Pierre Gasly in fifth (1:11.079) matched his. Acknowledging that Formula One is often seen as "boring" and often dominated by a single team, like his own Mercedes who have won all six races this season, Hamilton mused on a return to V12 naturally-aspirated engines, manual gearboxes and the removal of steering assistance to put the focus back on drivers. Articles appear on euronews.com for a limited time.

"I don't think I've really excelled for a while here", said Hamilton, who won in Canada three years in a row from 2015 to 2017 but finished outside the top three last year.

Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen the Netherlands sits in his vehicle during the second practice session at the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix auto race, Friday, June 7, 2019, in Montreal.

"I can't believe my luck", he said.

The Brit is now leading the world driver's championship with 137 points after six races and is 17 points ahead of Bottas in second.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco heads back out after a pit stop during the second practice session at the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix auto race, Friday, June 7, 2019, in Montreal.

"Without joking, the fitness level is just so high and the cars are so sophisticated so it's just getting better and it's evolution".

Stroll is looking to end a devastating run of 10 consecutive exits in the first round of qualifying this weekend.

Eliminated: 11th Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 12th Daniil Kyat (Toro Rosso), 13th Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), 14th Alexander Albon (Toro Rosso), 15th Romain Grosjean (Haas).

"It has been a positive day", said Leclerc, the first-year Ferrari driver.

Lance Stroll continued his run of Q1 exits in 18th place, although he switched to his early-season engine after suffering a failure of his new "Phase 2" Mercedes in Saturday's practice session and lapped just 0.069s slower than teammate Perez. The 23-year-old F2 driver, previously with Force India, ran wide on a turn before locking up into the hairpin a few laps later. "It will be a lot hotter on Sunday so it will be a tough race".

Hamilton will head into Sunday's race bidding to emulate Michael Schumacher by winning at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for a record-equalling seventh time.

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