Canadian Grand Prix – Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel got his title challenge back on track by claiming victory at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Vettel was the dominant force in Canada, having claimed an emphatic pole position on Saturday. Underlining the strength of the Ferrari package, he proved the single lap pace was no fluke by relentlessly pulling away through the opening stint of the race. Making it easily to the mid point of the race on the UltraSofts, his pace towards the end of that stint remained comparable with the likes of the two Red Bulls and Lewis Hamilton, who all pitted before Lap 20 for fresh UltraSofts.
While Vettel briefly looked as though he may have come under some pressure from the chasing Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas after the stops, with traffic reducing his lead to around three seconds, he quickly extended this back up to eight seconds with a stellar fastest lap once clear of the lapped cars. This was helped by Bottas making an error through Turn 1 and, from there, Vettel was untouchable.
“This win is very important for our tifosi and for our team, today is a special day.” beamed Vettel afterwards.
“40 years ago Gilles won here, then 14 years ago it was Michael and I was thinking of that today.” Sebastian Vettel
“At the start I tried to build up a margin, I was happy with my first lap and then the safety car came out and I had to start over again. During my last 10 laps I prayed that my car would not develop a problem until the end! Points are always important but today this win means a lot and not just in terms of Championship.”
Ferrari ran an upgraded power unit this weekend, along with a change of oil and lubricant from suppliers Shell, which Vettel believes allowed Ferrari to show more pace on the power hungry Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. With the season now past the one third mark, Vettel’s win shoots him right back to the top of the championship table. Lewis Hamilton’s lacklustre weekend resulted in a lowly P5 finish, meaning Vettel went from 14 points behind to a single point clear at the top of the title chase.
“The season is still so long and there are many races ahead. The main thing is that our car is strong and stays like that, so that we can fight.”