Canadian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton equals Ayrton Senna pole record

Canadian GP qualifying result: 1st Lewis Hamilton; 2nd Sebastian Vettel; 3rd Valtteri Bottas

Lewis Hamilton produced a stunning lap to set pole position at the Canadian Grand Prix and equal his hero Ayrton Senna with the 65th of his career.

Hamilton ended the session 0.330 seconds quicker than title rival Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.

The Briton produced a series of blistering laps on a track where he has won five times in nine races.

As a result of his latest performance, he is just three poles behind all-time holder Michael Schumacher.

After the session, Hamilton was presented with one of Senna's old helmets, a gift from the late Brazilian's family for equalling his record.

"Wow," he said, dropping his driving gloves in amazement. "I'm shaking. Ayrton, I know for many of you was your favourite driver and he was for me. He inspired me to be where I am today so to receive this is the greatest honour."

Lewis Hamilton with the helmet gifted to him by the family of Ayrton Senna
Lewis Hamilton grew up idolising three-time champion Senna, who was killed at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix

A blistering lap Senna would have been proud of

Hamilton, who is 25 points behind Vettel in the championship after finishing seventh in Monaco, was clearly elated following the session, in which he showed a superiority that was completely unexpected.

Ferrari and Mercedes have been closely matched all weekend but Hamilton was in a league of his own once the top 10 shootout started.

It was a gripping climax to qualifying. Hamilton produced a blistering lap of one minute 11.791 seconds, only for Vettel to set a time just 0.004secs slower than him.

But Hamilton saved his best for last, lowering his time to 1:11.459, while Vettel did not improve.

Ayrton Senna in 1987
Senna with the helmet during the 1987 season, when he drove for Lotus

What they said

"I am so happy," Hamilton added. "Montreal has been good to me over the years. It was a close battle with the Ferraris, who have been so quick all year. I just wanted a good lap, and I got it.

"It was a sexy lap, a great lap. I can't believe it came together so well.

"The team did a great job to learn from our mistakes in the last race and I really owe it all to them."

Vettel said: "I think we have the pace (to win). I was not so happy with the last lap but it was a good qualifying session."

A graphic showing the positions of the top 4 drivers in the Championship in races in 2017 so far
Title contenders: who has finished where so far

Red Bull - and everybody else - still chasing

Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas was third ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

The three-time champion and Vettel were each half a second quicker than their respective team-mates.

Red Bull were best of the rest, as ever, Max Verstappen pipping team-mate Daniel Ricciardo for fifth place, with Williams' Felipe Massa seventh ahead of the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, and Nico Hulkenberg's Renault.

The German's team-mate Jolyon Palmer, whose future at the team is in doubt, was down in 15th after being 0.7secs slower in second qualifying.

Fernando Alonso was 12th on his return to Formula 1 after missing the Monaco Grand Prix to race in the Indianapolis 500, well ahead of team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne in 16th.

Canadian rookie Lance Stroll struggled at his first home race, the 18-year-old 0.7secs off Massa in first qualifying and qualifying 17th.

Daniel Ricciardo's car from the point of view of a mechanic
Here's a mechanic's eye view of a Formula 1 weekend
Michael Douglas
And a film star's eye of a Formula 1 weekend - Michael Douglas' to be precise
Ile Notre Dame
The Canadian Grand Prix takes place on a man-made island in Montreal