Sebastian Vettel: this is our golden opportunity

Robert Kubica has been unable to match his Williams team-mate George Russell so far this season

Robert Kubica has been unable to match his Williams team-mate George Russell so far this season.More

Sebastian Vettel was fastest in final practice for the Canadian Grand Prix ahead of team mate Charles LeClerc on Saturday, signalling that Ferrari may be prepared to offer a challenge to the Mercedes dominance.

"So, really, really, thoroughly happy with the job", he continued. "I am full of adrenaline and the last few weeks have been tough for us". We did a good step in terms of performance from FP1 to FP2, the auto felt better, but we should do another step to try and hopefully challenge the Mercedes.

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.

Mercedes have won all six races this year, but it was Ferrari who had the edge on Friday as Leclerc's lap of 1 minute, 12.177 seconds gave him the fastest time.

It's only the second time a team other than Mercedes has been on pole this season. "Lewis picked up a couple of mistakes in the hairpin".

"The key [to pole] was we were able to improve the auto and the track ramping up also helped us in that regard". The race is on Sunday.

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Severe degradation also affected both Haas drivers, Leclerc and Hulkenberg and with temperatures set to rise, a chaotic race seems in prospect. "I know that in terms of results if you look at the one-lap performance, it looks maybe like that this afternoon [we are], but I think there's still quite a reasonable gap to Mercedes". "Congratulations to Seb. He deserves it and hopefully I'll have a better race from my side tomorrow". The auto felt better but we need another step to challenge Mercedes tomorrow.

Hamilton missed nearly all of Friday's session because of a crash and was 0.393s off the pace.

Montreal native Lance Stroll ended up 10th in his Racing Point, 0.994 seconds behind the pacesetter and three spots behind teammate Sergio Perez.

Leclerc, who had been swapping fastest times with Vettel for much of the weekend and in the first two parts of qualifying, said he struggled with the auto when it mattered and did not have an explanation. "Hard to crack. I really enjoyed it".

"Honestly, for whatever reason, I don't particularly feel disappointment", he said moments after Q3 concluded.

"I still believe that Mercedes is very strong".

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"Today was better than the last couple of Fridays we've had lately, so that's promising", he said.

"I'm glad I was able to split the Ferraris. We'll see if it's enough".

Instead, Verstappen will start Sunday's race in the middle of the pack after qualifying 11th.

It was the 56th pole position of Vettel's career and came after Kevin Magnussen had crashed into the "wall of champions" in his Haas vehicle at the end of Q2.

Hamilton, who endured his setback after smacking a wall, wound up in sixth place behind Carlos Sainz of McLaren and Kevin Magnussen of Haas.

Sergio Perez was seventh for the Canadian-owned Racing Point team ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and his Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg and local hopeful Lance Stroll in the second Racing Point vehicle.

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