Hamilton ends Red Bull's pole streak
MONTREAL -- McLaren's Lewis Hamilton won his third straight Canadian Grand Prix pole Saturday, snapping Red Bull's season-opening streak at seven.
Hamilton, coming off a victory two weeks ago in Turkey, took the top spot on his final lap in the third round of qualifying, edging Red Bull's Mark Webber with a time of 1 minute, 15.105 seconds at 2.709-mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
"I think it's fantastic for the team," said Hamilton, the 2007 winner in Montreal. "I'm really proud of my guys. I damaged the car a little bit in practice and they fixed it in no time -- seriously professional."
Webber, the Formula 1 season points leader and a four-time pole winner this year, was second -- 0.268 seconds back. Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel qualified third.
Hamilton used Bridgestone's super-soft compound tires in the 10-car qualifying finale, while Webber and Vettel went out on the more durable medium compound. The top 10 drivers have to start the race on the tires they used in the last session.
"It's fairly interesting to see the two different strategies and it'll be interesting to see how it plays out tomorrow," said Hamilton, the 25-year-old British star who won the 2008 season title. "I think both tires are very, very close."
Webber and Red Bull took a more conservative approach.
"Hopefully, it'll be beneficial for us," said Webber, a two-time winner this season. "We stuck to our guns and here we are in the top three again."
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was fourth, followed by McLaren's Jenson Button, Force India's Tonio Liuzzi, Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Renault's Robert Kubica, the 2008 winner in the last F1 race at Montreal.
Michael Schumacher dropped out in the second session for the first time this season, relegating the seven-time Montreal winner's Mercedes to 13th on the grid.
"We simply didn't have the balance or grip and overall we had a lot of problems with braking and handling," Schumacher said. "The car was just not performing as we expected. ... It's difficult to understand the reasons at the moment, but we'll look deeply into it now and find a good strategy for the race."
Webber briefly held the top spot in the final minutes of qualifying, but Hamilton pulled ahead to take his 18th career pole.
"I saw on the second-to-last lap that Mark had gone ahead," Hamilton said. "Fortunately, I had just enough time to get another lap in."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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