Max Verstappen navigated the wet conditions at the Canadian Grand Prix to take an important pole position for Red Bull.

The driver’s championship leader set the benchmark of 1:21.299 to go fastest in the qualifying followed by Alpine’s Fernando Alonso who finished a surprise second 0.645 seconds slower than the Dutchman.

It was Fernando Alonso’s first front-row slot in a decade.

Verstappen also has the advantage of his title rivals being nowhere close to him with his Mexican teammate Sergio Perez crashing in Q2 and qualifying 13th while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc ended a run of four poles in a row by dropping to 19th due to engine penalties.

Verstappen’s Canadian Grand Prix Pole was in doubt as the conditions improved and the track dried with time running out but the championship leader managed to showcase his practice pace once again to start from the front.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was third fastest followed by seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton in fourth.

Haas’s Kevin Magnussen qualified fifth with teammate Mick Schumacher a career-highest sixth. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon will start seventh and Mercedes’ George Russell eighth.

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo qualified ninth with Alfa Romeo’s rookie Zhou Guanyu rounding out the top 10.

His teammate Bottas will start 11th with Williams’ Alex Albon, having gone into the barriers at turn six and needing a new front-wing, finishing 12th.

Sergio Perez’s strong form came to an end when he went straight into the Tecpro barrier between turns three and four and could not reverse out in Q2. His car had to be craned off and the barriers repaired before the session resumed.

Perez qualified one place ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris who failed to set a time in the second stage after reporting an issue with the power unit that the team could not fix.

Aston Martin’s four times world champion Sebastian Vettel and Canadian Lance Stroll failed to progress through the rain and spray in Q1 after they had raised hopes in final practice.

Nicholas Latifi completed a miserable afternoon for Canadian drivers in 19th place, although the Williams driver will move up a slot after Leclerc’s demotion.

Sunday’s race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will be the first in Canada since 2019 due to the Covid pandemic and is expected to take place in sunny conditions as opposed to the ones for most of the qualifying.