The third and only other retirement was a gutted Ferdinand Alonso when the McLaren driver had to take his auto back to the box in his 300th grand prix race after racing so very well.
In a tight and intriguing contest between the three leading teams, Vettel clocked a best lap in a record one minute, 10.764 seconds to secure his 54th pole position and outpace nearest rival Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes and Dutchman Max Verstappen.
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The couple later joined other members of the royal family on the palace's front balcony to watch the Royal Air Force fly by. The former Suits star looked quite at home during the parade as she waved and smiled alongside her prince charming.
Vettel replied when told the year of Ferrari's last pole position in Canada.
But Bottas and Hamilton may have been set back by the team's inability to get an updated engine ready in time for the race, while Ferrari and Red Bull both had new parts. We knew in Q3 it would be a bit harder for us but to be still so close was good.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has hinted that Red Bull Racing is ready to take a gamble on Honda power units for the 2019 Formula 1 season, with a decision set to be made before the Austrian Grand.
"It was a good day", Verstappen said.
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The semi-permanent track combines long straights with tight chicanes and each team sets up their auto to maximize straight line speed, although the cars also need to deliver a good ride over the relatively tall curbs. "In the race, it all calms down a bit so that's why I think we're always a bit more competitive in the race".
Vettel sees another chance to honour the memory of Gilles Villeneuve, who died in a crash at the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix, with a Ferrari win. 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 auto.
"It's still a long way, so I'm not too bothered to be honest", he said of reclaiming the points lead.
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Two women who have won the title at Roland Garros, Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza , play each other in the quarterfinals. The victor earns a berth in the final at Roland Garros , plus the number one ranking that now belongs to Halep.