It meant that Hamilton missed out on a front row start with Bottas qualifying second and under-fire Dutchman Max Verstappen of Red Bull taking third place. The Scuderia are the most successful team at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with 11 wins but they had not had a victory here since Schumacher won in 2004. It's often the best race of the year. Mercedes was very quick, but I think we are not too far away.
His latest practice crash in Monaco put Verstappen at the back of the grid, and left him facing calls from Red Bull team boss Christian Horner to rethink his approach.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo, victorious in Monaco two weeks ago, was sixth in the second Red Bull as his team-mate Verstappen, who had been fastest throughout practice, continued to deliver a flawless riposte to his critics. He earned his first Formula One points with a ninth-place finish at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve previous year.
Hamilton, who came into the weekend leading the championship standings, came in fifth. Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have dominated the field this season.
"We've got to do more", he added, when asked about how Mercedes should react to Ferrari's gathering momentum.
Although Hamilton tried to apply the pressure on Daniel Ricciardo in the final 20 laps, the Brit was unable to overtake. We learned a bit and I know the direction I want to go set-up wise.
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"I think we can do a great job in this race, it is great to start from third".
He admitted: "We were coming to Montreal expecting our vehicle to be really strong and we are leaving Montreal seeing that we haven't been where we thought we should be".
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was sixth, and said it had been a boring race, with Renault's Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz seventh and eighth.
We'll give you a few pointers shortly in what to look out for in today's race but it could once more be an interesting one for strategy, with how long each driver can make the hypersoft and ultrasoft tyres last a critical aspect.
"Like every grand prix there's not one person to dedicate it to", said Vettel.
After 20-some strolls down to the Senna corner to watch the cars come through on that first lap, I can tell you there is nearly nothing like seeing them barrel down the straightaway, brake down nearly to a standstill through the chicane and then seemingly leap up and out of sight around the bend.