Max Verstappen gets pole in the rain in Montreal ahead of Nico Hülkenberg

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 17: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Haas F1 VF-23 Ferrari on track during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 17, 2023 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Nico Hulkenberg will start second in Sunday’s Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Points leader Max Verstappen scored yet another pole position on Saturday in Montreal but a wet qualifying session yielded an intriguing starting lineup behind him.

Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg will start second in Sunday’s Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix after he snuck in a lap in the third qualifying round right before a red flag for Oscar Piastri’s crash. It rained for the entirety of the third round of qualifying and as the track got wetter, speeds got slower.

Piastri crashed less than three minutes into the final round as Verstappen had already put in a lap that put him over a second ahead of everyone else on intermediate tires. Hulkenberg then narrowly got to the finish line ahead of a red flag with 7:11 to go in the third round to go second.

Fernando Alonso will start third and would have started second had the red flag waited about five more seconds. He was right behind Hulkenberg on the track but his lap didn’t count.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton will start fourth ahead of teammate George Russell. Hamilton has never started lower than fifth in the Canadian GP and has won the race seven times.

Hulkenberg has been a good qualifier in his first year at Haas. Saturday’s session was his fifth Q3 appearance in eight races after he qualified seventh at the Spanish Grand Prix. His qualifying effort also comes after he was forced to stop his car after it started spewing smoke during Friday’s practice session.

The front row is also the second for Haas in the last 10 races dating back to 2022. Kevin Magnussen swiped pole ahead of the rain in Brazil in November of 2022, though he ultimately started the grand prix eighth after falling back during the sprint race the day before.

Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc go out in Q2

The final qualifying round didn’t feature Red Bull’s Sergio Perez or Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc as they both failed to capitalize on a drying track.

Alex Alton posted the fastest lap in the second round on a set of slick tires as he was one of the first to try soft tires on a track that had a small dry line form. That dry line didn’t last very long, however, as the rain picked up at the end of the round before continuing through Q3.

The rain’s timing made it tricky for teams that waited longer than Albon and Williams did to get to the soft tires. Hamilton found himself in 10th and last of the drivers into Q3 for the final five minutes, but neither Perez or Leclerc could post a faster lap on both the soft and intermediate tires because the track had gotten too wet for both tires to work well enough.

Starting lineup

1. Max Verstappen

2. Nico Hulkenberg

3. Fernando Alonso

4. Lewis Hamilton

5. George Russell

6. Esteban Ocon

7. Lando Norris

8. Carlos Sainz

9. Oscar Piastri

10. Alex Albon

11. Charles Leclerc

12. Sergio Perez

13. Lance Stroll

14. Kevin Magnussen

15. Valtteri Bottas

16. Yuki Tsunoda

17. Pierre Gasly

18. Nyck De Vries

19. Logan Sergeant

20. Zhou Guanyu