Sebastian Vettel says building his confidence after a scrappy Friday was the key to securing his first pole position at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve since 2013.
The German appeared to struggle through much of Friday practice leaving him initially doubtful whether a second victory in Canada was possible on Sunday. Vettel put Friday's troubles behind him and narrowly edged Valtteri Bottas by 0.093s to secure top spot on the grid.
Vettel admitted after qualifying he was ''a passenger'' during practice but says it felt ''more natural'' while driving his Ferrari in qualifying.
"Yesterday we had a scrappy day, we had an issue with the steering.'' Vettel said. "I brushed the wall and lost some time getting ready for the second session. I couldn't find the rhythm, I wasn't happy with the car. I felt it was there but it didn't step up and I couldn't get to it.
"This morning when I went out straight away it felt a lot better. On a track like this when you have to attack kerbs so much it's important you feel at home and have confidence to play around and I think then you can extract a bit more from the car. Yesterday I wasn't really in charge, I was more of a passenger. We still got everything out of the day we needed but we were compromised a bit for pace. Today was a lot more natural.''
Not only was it Ferrari's first pole in Canada since 2001, this weekend's race marks the 40th anniversary of the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal -- with the inaugural race being won by Ferrari legend and the driver the circuit is named after, Gilles Villeneuve. These facts meant achieving pole was more special than usual for the four-time champion.
"Well, it's a long time ago!'' Vettel replied when told the year of Ferrari's last pole position in Canada. "The meaning for Scuderia Ferrari in this country is huge. The history. Gilles Villeneuve was the favourite driver of Enzo Ferrari and the character he brought to Formula One, to racing in general, is still alive today. You can see there are a lot of flags.
"He left a heritage for people who fell in love with motorsport back then, it's still them hanging around, and their kids and maybe their grandkids, I don't know! So really, really happy, it's an important day for us. But for sure qualifying is not as important as Sunday so we've got to go well then too.''