Lewis Hamilton said he hopes Sebastian Vettel’s pole position performance in qualifying at the Canadian Grand Prix will mark a turning point in their season for rivals Ferrari.
The defending five-time champion, whose Mercedes team have swept to a record six successive season-opening wins this year, leads his team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 17 points in the drivers’ title race.
Vettel’s success on Saturday brought him his first pole in 17 races since last year’s German Grand Prix.
“This is fantastic for the sport,” said Hamilton. “I love to fight with another team and today was just so close.
“I had no idea where we were going to be. At some stages, they were ahead of us and we were swapping all the way.
“I hope this is a turning point for them and it’s going to be very close from now on and we’re going to have a serious battle throughout the season. That would be fantastic.”
Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo was amazed at his own success as he claimed fourth in qualifying for Renault in Montreal.
The Australian, who moved to Renault from Red Bull at the end of last year, said he was surprised to find himself on the second row of the grid.
“I don’t want to say I can’t believe it,” he said. “But for me to be this happy with a fourth, it really means something.
“For the team as well. I told them on the radio to enjoy this. We will think about the race in a few hours or even in the morning, but right now, we need to enjoy it because it’s awesome.
“We’ve got three Q3s in a row now, but a fourth is massive. I think just over a tenth from third. I still don’t really know where this speed came from – I mean I do, but we didn’t expect it to equate to a fourth place.”
Ricciardo’s success in claiming fourth place delivered Renault’s best qualifying result in nearly nine years.
“It’s good, making progress and personally I guess each weekend I’m in the car, I’m feeling more and more at home with the team and learning to get on top of it. It’s all starting to come together quite nicely.”