Canadian Grand Prix – Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has won the Canadian GP, ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas & Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Polesitter Sebastian Vettel led the race from start to finish, having held his lead off the line into Turn 1. Behind him, Max Verstappen made a great start in his Red Bull to challenge Valtteri Bottas for P2 through the opening corners, but ultimately had to settle in behind the Mercedes.
The opening lap saw the Safety Car come out, due to a big crash between the Williams of Lance Stroll & the Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley. Hartley had been trying to get around the outside of Stroll through Turn 5 when the Williams had some snap oversteer. With nowhere to go, the pair made heavy contact, with Hartley’s car briefly ending up on top of the Williams. Both were unhurt and clambered free while the cars were removed under the Safety Car.
When racing resumed, Vettel set about extending his lead over Bottas, displaying great pace as he edged away from the cars behind. Bottas, too, was quick and edged away from Verstappen as the Red Bull’s pace dropped off as the HyperSofts faded quite fast. Early stops for both Red Bulls pressured Lewis Hamilton to do the same, despite not having started on the HyperSofts. His efforts to not lose track position proved futile, as his pace wasn’t particularly good. When he pitted, he fell from P4 down to P5 behind Daniel Ricciardo.
Despite how early the stops for the Red Bulls and Hamilton were, the race remained a one stopper for the frontrunners, with Vettel and Bottas pitting at the half distance point. Vettel’s lead at this point had increased to 6.5 seconds and, while Bottas showed some signs of wanting to close the gap and edged in to around 3 seconds, Vettel looked completely in control and smashed in a new fastest lap after clearing traffic to increase his lead back up to around 8 seconds in the closing stages. This was helped out by Bottas making an error through Turn 1 while lapping Carlos Sainz and running wide.
Bottas settled for P2, having to fend off a late race charge from Max Verstappen, who eventually finished right on the Mercedes’ tail. Daniel Ricciardo claimed P4 in the other Red Bull, holding off the recovering Lewis Hamilton towards the end as the Mercedes seemed to prefer the lower fuel load. Kimi Raikkonen finished a lonely P6, having never looked comfortable throughout the race.
The Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz finished P7 & P8 respectively, having looked strong in the midfield throughout, particularly while battling with the Force Indias. Esteban Ocon finished P9, while Sergio Perez had to settle for P13 following an early minor clash with Sainz that sent the Mexican sliding sideways through the escape area at Turn 1 and costing him time.
While the incident was investigated, there were no repercussions for either driver. Final points scorer was Charles Leclerc for Sauber, who enjoyed another battle with Fernando Alonso before the Spaniard was forced to retire with an exhaust failure on Lap 40.
Outside the points, Pierre Gasly claimed P11 for Toro Rosso, who finished just ahead of Romain Grosjean’ Haas. Having started P20, the French driver stayed out until after half distance before making his one and only pitstop, allowing him to climb up the order. Ultimately, he had to settle for a position outside the points as he couldn’t get past Gasly. Perez was P13, with Kevin Magnussen finished P14 for Haas. Marcus Ericsson was P15 for Sauber, with Stoffel Vandoorne P16 in the sole McLaren in the race at the chequered flag. Sergey Sirotkin was the last classified runner in P17. Alonso, Hartley & Stroll were the sole retirements.
As an aside, despite the whole 70 laps being completed, the race technically finished after 69 laps due to a celebrity guest waving the chequered flag a lap too early. Winnie Harlow, at the event as part of Lewis Hamilton’s entourage, had been enlisted to wave the flag but did so too early. Regulations state the race ends when this happens. While there were no changes on the now obsolete final lap, this could have had bigger consequences had a position changed.
Vettel’s win puts him back in the lead of the World Championship by a sole point over Lewis Hamilton, with the next round taking place at Paul Ricard in France in two weeks time.