"More of a passenger", Vettel said Saturday after earning his 54th career Formula One pole with the fastest lap ever on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
The battle should be a tight and intriguing one, with the top four in final practice all within a tenth of a second of each other. Obviously, Max showed some pace, so I think there's a bit for us to learn.
"I wanted to get a feel [for the hypersoft] and see where we end up", he said after the session. If I'm on the seventh race with a hard circuit on engines, I want to see it through. I guess I woke up the right way.
"The auto balance has been good from the first run so it has just been a case of small balance tuning to keep the vehicle in the right window as the track grip came up. But it was fantastic".
The Dutchman will line up third.
"It was not the happiest of days for me", he said. "Gilles Villeneuve, the favorite driver of Enzo Ferrari, and I think his charisma, his character that he brought to Formula One, to racing in general, is still alive today".
Reigning champion Hamilton has won six times in Montreal but he will have to work his way up from fourth if he is to match Michael Schumacher's tally of seven triumphs in Canada. He spent most of the second practice session in the pits waiting for his team to iron out an electrical issue, and managed just 17 laps in the session.
The new-for-2018 hypersoft caused Mercedes repeat problems at the last race in Monaco with the W09 struggling for pace and suffering from graining as Hamilton came home third. Hamilton stands a good chance today of getting his name up there with the legends - the only difference is he would do it with a fourth Canadian win on the trot.
Again, Kimi Raikkonen led the Ferrari charge in second place, but Monaco victor Daniel Ricciardo, who missed a large chunk of FP2 as mechanics rushed to fix a mechanical problem, was able to end the day third.
"This morning when I went out straight away it felt a lot better".
After a miserable start to the season Romain Grosjean finally gave his Haas F1 Team a reason to smile, clocking the seventh best time.
The failure added to a miserable weekend for Grosjean, who has yet to score a point this season and damaged his auto slightly during Friday's free practice when he struck a groundhog. "We're laughing about it because at one point that's the only thing you've got to do".