Vettel regretted that he and the team did not realise the extent of the front wing damage right away and missed the chance to change it under the safety auto for Carlos Sainz Jr and Felipe Massa's crash.
Hamilton's record is remarkable in Montreal - his six wins in 10 races leaves him one shy of Michael Schmacher's record total of seven victories at the circuit. That sent Vettel near the back of the field on a suboptimal strategy, after which he spent a little over half the race distance working his way up to sixth place.
"Nevertheless I feel the auto is very good, I was really happy this morning, I was happy this afternoon and it should be very good in the race so I'm looking forward to tomorrow". At the restart Verstappen attacked Hamilton hard, nearly making a pass that would have changed the race.
The champions looked their old selves in Montreal as Hamilton led teammate Valtteri Bottas to their first one-two since the Finn joined in January as replacement for retired champion Nico Rosberg. The third row has the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and 2014 Canadian GP victor Daniel Ricciardo.
Lewis Hamilton is back in the fight for the world championship, according to Niki Lauda. Hamilton entered the day trailing in the points race by 25 points to Sebastien Vettel, who finished fourth. "I remember coming home from school and putting on the videotape of Ayrton, so it's really odd to think that I'm here and I have that many poles".
The Mercedes driver chasing his fourth Grand Prix title, said: "I remember getting home from school and putting on the video tape of Ayrton Senna and I can't believe I'm here with that many poles. I will always remember it", he said.
"Obviously the beginning of the race didn't go our way, but I was fairly confident I could get a podium - one lap short", Vettel told reporters. It was pressure, pressure, and I couldn't afford to make a mistake.
While Mercedes celebrated a return to form, the struggles continued down the paddock at McLaren as double world champion Fernando Alonso, back from his Indianapolis 500 adventure, failed to get out of the second qualifying and will start 12th.
"It's just special. It feels so good in so many ways", said Stroll.
"So they are still very much there, they are still going to be very hard to beat".