Sebastian Vettel has won Ferrari’s first Canadian Grand Prix since 2001, the four times champion drove a brilliant race from pole position to take his first win since Bahrain to retake the lead of the championship.
The German drove superbly from the front controlling the race from the start after holding off Valtteri Bottas into the first corner before pulling away from the Finn. However, the race was finished a lap early after the chequered flag was thrown a lap early.
Bottas tried to respond to Vettel closing up to within three and a half seconds with fifteen laps to go, however, made a mistake while trying to lap the lapped Carlos Sainz. The Finn went onto the grass at the first corner.
Vettel said “Unbelievable. I said yesterday how much this place means for Ferrari. After a long stretch of not winning here, I saw the people around here and they are super happy.
“There is still a long way to go (in the championship) so I’m not too bothered. It is a good side effect. To have a Ferrari win and me driving it makes me very proud.”
Valtteri Bottas, who finished second: “Since lap one, they seemed to be a bit quicker. They controlled the race and we got into a little trouble in the end with running out of fuel. I think this was the maximum today. From second place today, we maxed out, but I’m disappointed.”
Lewis Hamilton, who has won in Montréal six times, was only fifth. The Englishman was forced into an early stop after he reported “drop out of power”, that made him vulnerable to the Red Bull and Ferrari. It also forced him into an earlier stop.
Mercedes compromised the race after being forced to bring him into correct the issue by opening up the cooling on his car. While his teammate ran a lot later, that put Bottas back into contention.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo. Both drivers took a different strategy to the top two, with Ricciardo using his strategy to leapfrog Raikkonen. That left Hamilton to respond getting to within a second of Ricciardo.
Ricciardo immediately seized on the opportunity to overcut the world champion a lap later, a positional change which Hamilton was unable to reverse even after belatedly finding his groove late on.
Ricciardo told Sky Sports “Pretty good, I’m relatively content for a fourth place. We knew it would be aggressive but we did all we could with that strategy. I’m pretty happy we got it (the car) through the whole weekend and we gained two points in the championship because we got Lewis.”
Despite the expectation for drama throughout the race, their was only one big accident in the first lap. Brendon Hartley was trying to pass the Williams of Lance Stroll for thirteenth making contact. The Quebecer lost control of the rear of Williams thanks to oversteer, that squeezing Hartley, who was on his left, between the Williams and the tyre barrier, briefly launching the Toro Rosso into the air.
Renaults Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz were best of the rest in seventh and eight. Esteban Ocon was forced to settle for ninth after losing out to both the Renaults.
Charles Leclerc secured another points finish for Sauber taking tenth. The Monacan had lost out to McLaren’s Fernando Alonso in the first round of stops, however, retook the position when the Spaniard was forced to retire from the race because of an exhaust issue.