Max Verstappen back to his best, McLaren endures dismal day

Sebastian Vettel put Ferrari back on pole position in Canada for the first time since 2001, but that wasn't the main talking point from an exciting qualifying session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Shock: Max Verstappen topped all three practice sessions but it seemed like the Dutchman and Red Bull would drop off the pace once Mercedes and Ferrari turned up their engines. He didn't quite have the pace for pole, but not many people would have put money on Verstappen beating one of either of those teams to third on the grid. A man driving with a point to prove this weekend.

Tomorrow three different cars will occupy the three first grid slots -- this season is getting better and better.

Shocker Part 1: Romain Grosjean's Ferrari engine lasted about three seconds in Q1. The Haas driver had a plume of smoke billowing out the back of his car almost as soon as he turned out of the garage and into the pit-lane. His form might be poor at the moment but his luck has been even worse.

Shocker Part 2: McLaren had a dismal afternoon. Were it not for Grosjean's misfortune, one of them would have been eliminated from Q1. The closest Renault-powered car was nearly 0.5s away in Q2 and the orange cars will line up 14th and 15th, behind a Sauber.

Kimi does it again: There's something about Kimi Raikkonen at the end of Q3, isn't there? The Finn looked to be in with a shot for pole but he dipped a wheel onto the grass on the run down to Turn 3, ruining his lap. Everyone around him improved, relegating him from third to fifth. It's not the first time he's failed to seize the day late in a session.

Max on form: Verstappen was in a punchy mood ahead of this race, half-joking that he would "headbutt" the next person to ask a question about his recent crashes. His late lap was brilliant, and a reminder of what he can do on a good day -- his radio sign off, "I guess I didn't forget how to drive", a polite reminder to his critics that he's determined to turn his season around.

Strategy watch: Max Verstappen will have to pit earlier than the cars around him, but he starts the race on the quicker, grippier hyper-soft tyre. That should make the start interesting, especially given how punchy the Dutchman's start was at this race last year. Teammate Daniel Ricciardo starts on the same compound, while Mercedes and Ferrari will be on the purple ultra-soft. A fascinating opening stint awaits us on Sunday.

Star of the session: Vettel and Valtteri Bottas turned in good laps at the end of the session and deserve plaudits. But this goes to Sauber's Charles Leclerc and Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley. Leclerc once again obliterated teammate Marcus Ericsson and beat both McLarens for good measure, while Hartley -- a man under pressure to keep his race seat -- finished just shy of a place in the top-ten shootout.