George Russell put Mercedes on pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix on Saturday after setting exactly the same time as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Triple Formula One world champion Verstappen missed out on the pole because he set his time of one minute 12.000 seconds after his British rival in a drama-filled qualifying session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Mercedes signalled that they were going to be a threat for pole earlier on Saturday when Lewis Hamilton, a seven-times winner in Canada, posted the top time in final practice with Russell close behind in third.

Rain, which had disrupted both practices on Friday, returned for the first two phases of qualifying but the skies cleared and the sun began to appear just in time for the last-10 shootout that ended in a dead heat.

Russell will start on pole on Sunday for the first time since Brazil 2022, joined on the front row by Verstappen who is chasing a Canadian Grand Prix hat-trick.

READ | F1: FIA says Formula One’s 2026 rules will need refining

The second row will be all McLaren with Lando Norris, a winner in Miami, starting third ahead of team mate Oscar Piastri.

In one of the tightest qualifying battles ever in Formula One, the top seven cars were split by less than three-tenths of a second.

RB’s Daniel Ricciardo was a surprise fifth fastest, with Aston Martin’s Spanish double world champion Fernando Alonso sixth.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton, who claimed the first of his 103 grand prix wins in Montreal in 2007, could not quite match his Mercedes team mate’s pace and will start seventh.

Neither Ferrari made the top 10, with Charles Leclerc 11th fastest and Carlos Sainz 12th.