Sebastian Vettel wins Canadian GP
Pole to checkered flag victory
Takes lead in F1 title race
Sebastian Vettel’s 50th career victory in the Canadian Grand Prix Sunday saw him replace Lewis Hamilton at the top of the championship standings to cap an emotional day for the Ferrari team.
It was a dominant pole to checkered flag win on the Gilles Villeneuve circuit, named in memory of the former Ferrari legend, who claimed his first Grand Prix victory in Montreal 40 years ago to the day. He died in a crash in 1982.
“Unbelievable, I said how much this place means for Ferrari,” said Vettel, now a single point ahead of Mercedes ace Hamilton, who finished a disappointing fifth.
“We had Jacques driving his father’s car earlier which was very emotional.”
It was the famous team’s first win in Canada since 2004 and Vettel knows how much it means to their many followers.
“The Ferrari fans will have a blast tonight,” he added.
Valtteri Bottas took a distant second for a disappointed Mercedes with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen completing the podium.
Verstappen’s teammate, Monaco winner Daniel Ricciardo, edged ahead of Hamilton during the pit stops, the reigning champion handicapped by a loss of engine power in his Mercedes.
The race was largely processional at the front, with few overtaking attempts, the only drama coming at the end as the checkered flag was waved a lap too early by Canadian model Winnie Harlow.
“Tell them not to wave the flag when it’s not done,” said Vettel, who continued on for another lap to take it again. It meant the race standings were based on positions at the end of lap 68 rather than 70.
First lap crash
A big accident on the first lap involving Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley and home hope Lance Stroll (Williams) saw an early safety car, with Vettel charging clear once it was removed.
His Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen took sixth ahead of the Renault pair of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon of Force India.
Formula One debutant Charles Leclerc once again impressed for Sauber with 10th, but Fernando Alonso suffered disappointment for McLaren with a retirement on his 300th Grand Prix weekend.
The two-time champion will now turn his focus to Le Mans where he hopes to win for Toyota in the famous 24-hour race.
Vettel and Hamilton will now turn their attention to the next round in France, with the Briton, who came into one of his favorite races with a 14-point lead, on the backfoot as they both bid for a fifth world championship title.
“It is a strong track for us, but all weekend long we have made little mistakes, from the start,” said Hamilton, who had been seeking a record-equaling seventh Canadian GP win.
“The only feeling I have is that we have to wake up. We fell behind in every respect. This is a track where we should have maximized points - it is not about damage limitation for us.”
By contrast, Vettel, with his third victory of the season, has momentum.
“Perfect is a good way to describe this,” said the German, who won four world championships with his former team Red Bull.