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Formula 1 Canadian GP

The F1 rule that gave Russell Canadian GP pole despite Verstappen tie

George Russell gained Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix pole position despite an equal lap time with Max Verstappen due to setting his lap time first, as per the FIA sporting regulations.

Pole man George Russell, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, is congratulated by Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, after Qualifying

Qualifying in Montreal produced a historic moment when Russell and Verstappen set exactly the same time in Q3, a 1m12.000s, that left them tied but gave pole to the Mercedes driver.

What happens when two F1 drivers set the same lap time in qualifying?

The fourth paragraph of article 39.4 of the FIA F1 Sporting Regulations states: “If two or more drivers set identical times during Q1, Q2 or Q3 or SQ1, SQ2 or SQ3, priority is given to the driver who set the identical time first. In other words, the driver who has set the time before the other driver is ahead.”

In Canada, Russell had set the fastest time and then Verstappen tied it. In fact, the British driver had a final Q3 lap to improve on his time but failed, leaving the curious image of two times exactly the same, to the nearest thousandth, which the FIA takes lap times down to.

Has it ever happened before that two F1 drivers have tied on their lap times in qualifying?

Yes, in fact, three drivers tied once. Michael Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve and Heinz-Harald Frentzen set exactly the same time in qualifying for the European GP in 1997, a 1m21.072s.

Jacques Villeneuve, Williams, Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Williams all get exactly the same time

Jacques Villeneuve, Williams, Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Williams all get exactly the same time

Photo by: Motorsport Images

The pole position went to Villeneuve, who had been the first to cross the finish line, and the next day he would go on to win the world championship after the controversy clash with Schumacher.

This was a time when F1 qualifying was a one-hour session format, so Villeneuve set his time 15 minutes before Schumacher, and Frentzen straight after that.

Have two F1 drivers ever tied in a race?

No, it has never happened that two drivers have reached the finish line of an F1 race tied.

The smallest gap at the end of a race was at the 2002 United States GP, when Ferrari achieved a 1-2 as Rubens Barrichello took the chequered flag just 0.011s ahead of his team-mate Schumacher.

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