Canadian Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has won the Canadian Grand Prix ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo after a thrilling race.
The race got off to an exciting start, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen leapfrogging Bottas and both Ferraris to take P2 after starting in P5. There was an early Safety Car when contact between Haas’ Romain Grosjean and Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz ended up with Sainz and Massa in the barriers. Raikkonen and Vettel for Ferrari were down into P6 and P4 respectively, but Vettel had to pit early after sustaining damage to his front wing, caused by being clipped by Verstappen at the first corner. Toro Rosso’s Kvyat picked up a drive-through penalty after failing to regain his position under the Safety Car, following his failure to pull away for the formation lap.
After his astonishing start, Verstappen was forced to retire with a battery problem, leading to a Virtual Safety Car while his car was recovered. After the Renaults of Palmer and Hulkenberg pitted, and Verstappen’s retirement, Vettel managed to get back up into P15.
Bottas was the first Mercedes to pit, with the team managing a 2.2 second stop. Hulkenberg proved the Renault engine does have power as he passed the Merc-powered Williams of Lance Stroll and got into P10. Shortly after, Haas’ Magnussen was given a five second penalty for overtaking under the VSC. Hulkenberg was able to overtake him to take P9, while Vettel took P7 from McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.
Halfway through the race, Hamilton lead Bottas from Ricciardo, with Perez, Ocon and Raikkonen all battling for fourth. Kvyat was then given another ten second penalty due to his earlier drive through penalty being ‘incorrect’, according to the stewards. As the two Ferraris went to attack the Force Indias of Perez and Ocon ahead of them, the question was whether Ferrari would tell Raikkonen to let Vettel through, but the problem solved itself when Raikkonen appeared to make a mistake and had to go down the escape road, allowing Vettel to pass him.
After serving his penalty, Toro Rosso unfortunately had to retire Kvyat’s car. There was some discussion between Perez and Force India, telling him to let Ocon past – Perez didn’t want to and Force India agreed to give him three laps to overtake Ricciardo before Ocon would try to overtake.
Hamilton was 15.1 seconds ahead of Bottas with ten laps to go, while Perez, Ocon, Vettel and Raikkonen fought for P4. Raikkonen was losing time fast, apparently due to brake problems effectively taking him out of the P4 battle. With three laps to go, the battle got really heated, as Ocon was forced off the track and Perez and Vettel took P4 and P5 respectively. A promising result was snatched from McLaren on the penultimate lap as Alonso pulled over, retiring from the race with engine failure.
After a strong race, Hamilton took the chequered flag for his 56th career win and sixth Canadian victory. Bottas in second gave Mercedes their first 1-2 finish of the season and Stroll took points for Williams, finishing P9 at his home Grand Prix. Today’s result means Vettel, who finished P4, is now just 12 points ahead of Hamilton in the drivers’ championship. Force India’s driver battle ultimately cost them, with Perez and Ocon took P5 and P6, with Raikonnen behind them in P7. Hulkenberg took P8, leaving Grosjean to round off the top ten.
Renault’s Jolyon Palmer had a slightly better race this time, finishing in P11, while Magnussen took P12 and Ericsson P13. Ericsson’s Sauber teammate Wehrlein was the last finisher in P15 after starting from the pits, behind McLaren’s Vandoorne in P14. Alonso, Kvyat, Verstappen, Massa and Sainz made up the list of retirees.