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Vettel was never threatened from pole, leading easily off the line and nailing his sole pit stop to ensure he cruised past the checkered flag first.

Get me to Le Mans: Fernando Alonso's 300th race weekend was utterly miserable. "Gilles Villeneuve, the favourite driver of Enzo Ferrari". I just do my own thing. "I don't think it was anything to do with the engine".

"It was not the happiest of days for me", he said.

Mercedes' championship leader Lewis Hamilton, chasing a record equalling seventh Canadian Grand Prix win, was fourth best ahead of his Ferrari championship rival Sebastian Vettel and team mate Valtteri Bottas.

Vettel's best lap time of one minute 10.776 seconds bested the record of 1:11.459 set past year by Mercedes ace Lewis Hamilton.

The team took some time to find its pace over the weekend with Vettel not fully at ease with the vehicle until qualifying when he found the set-up he wanted to deliver an impressive pole, from which he dictated the race and converted into an equally impressive win. "It's great when you have a session like that".

When asked if he felt Red Bull had the pace for pole after seeing teammate Daniel Ricciardo go quickest in Q2, he said: "I knew we had a good auto, but I wanted to wait and see how competitive we would be in Q3".

But Bottas and Hamilton may have been set back by the team's inability to get an updated engine ready in time for the race, while Ferrari and Red Bull both had new parts. "Also myself didn't get the rhythm yet so missing a little bit of the laps but overall we tried to go through the programme as good as we could".

He retired in Azerbaijan after a collision with Ricciardo and in China he tangled with Hamilton and Vettel, finishing fifth after a 10-second penalty demoted him from fourth, while Ricciardo won the race. Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have dominated the field this season.

Daniel Ricciardo was sixth fastest, lapping just two-hundredths of a second off Raikkonen.

"We did not really change a lot initially and that's always a good sign and gives you hope", said Verstappen. "But it showed in Monaco that we have a great vehicle".

He then shaved 0.012 seconds off that time on his second run using the hypersoft Pirellis to make sure of pole position.

Vettel sees another chance to honour the memory of Gilles Villeneuve, who died in a crash at the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix, with a Ferrari win. "Merc are going to be quick tomorrow - I would say they're the ones to beat at the moment".


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