sport

Rosberg takes Canadian GP pole

Nico Rosberg delivered when it mattered in qualifying for the Canadian GP on Saturday to take pole position ahead of Mercedes team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton had shown Rosberg, who currently holds a four-point lead in the Drivers' Championship, the way around the 4.361 Circuit Gilles Villeneuve throughout practice and was also on top in the first two sessions of qualifying.

However, Rosberg asserted himself in Q3 with a lap of 1:14.874 to go 0.079s faster than the Briton.

There's been little to separate the rival Silver Arrows this season but Hamilton appeared destined to move up a gear in Q1 when he set a lap over 0.7s faster than Rosberg's best.

Three times a winner of the race, Hamilton professes to love the Montreal track and also held the upper hand in Q2 by around 0.2s.

Yet Rosberg moved ahead in Q3, with his first effort, a 1:14.946, too fast for Hamilton. Unlike in Monaco two weeks ago, the German's second attempt went the full distance and he improved fractionally too.

Behind him, Hamilton had also made a good start to his flying lap. However, he lost time in the second sector and so must start P2 for the second time in as many races.

Sebastian Vettel lines up third on the grid, with the World Champion also leaving it late having also been outpaced by Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo earlier on.

It was much the same situation at Williams, with Valtteri Bottas qualifying fourth ahead of Felipe Massa and Ricciardo. Massa had split the Mercedes cars in P3 earlier on Saturday, when Rosberg and Hamilton could not get more speed out of their supersoft tyres, and the pattern repeated itself in the early part of Q2.

In fact, Massa was quicker than the pair of them for a while but the Mercedes cars suddenly managed to switch their option rubber on.

Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) qualified seventh ahead of an impressive Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso), with Jenson Button (McLaren) and Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) completing the top ten.

Unlike Mercedes-powered Williams, Force India have been struggling for one-lap pace this weekend, with Nico Hulkenberg a disappointing 11th on the grid, two places ahead of Sergio Perez. The pair were split by Kevin Magnussen's McLaren.

The usual suspects occupy the lower order, although Lotus also appear to be struggling with Romain Grosjean only 14th and Pastor Maldonado 17th after he pulled his car off the track in Q1 as a precautionary measure.

Marussia are proving significantly faster than Caterham, with Max Chilton P18 ahead of team-mate Jules Bianchi, Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson - the Swede bringing Q1 to a premature end when he hit the wall at Turn 9 in the final minute.

Meanwhile, after doing something similar in P3, Esteban Gutierrez was unable to take part and so will start Sunday's race from the pitlane.

Watch the Canadian GP live on Sky Sports F1, with coverage starting on Sunday at 6pm