It was a textbook win for Sebastian Vettel who started on pole and led to his first ever victory in Canada. Fernando Alonso had a great drive from 6th to 2nd, and Lewis Hamilton slipped back but kept up and took third. Red Bull took their debut win in Montreal, and their second driver Mark Webber claimed 4th, all in a race which didn’t revolve around the tyres.
Not only for Vettel and Red Bull, but the whole Formula 1 community, the victory was marred by the death of a Canadian marshal who died shortly after the race in a freak accident.
Nico Rosberg struggled a little in 5th, Vergne kept up in his Toro Rosso, finishing in a career best of 6th, one place ahead of where he qualified on Saturday. Both Paul Di Resta and Felipe Massa drove brilliantly, making up a lot of places. A struggling Kimi Raikkonen finished in 9th, and Adrian Sutil completed the top 10.
It was another disappointing weekend for McLaren who had both Sergio Perez and Jenson Button finish outside the top 10, in 11th and 12th respectively; breaking their record of 67 races with at least one driver in the points.
It was a good start by Sebastian, who went on to lead all but 3 laps of the race. When he came in for his first pit stop, he yielded the lead to Lewis Hamilton, who went on to do a slightly longer sting than the Red Bull, but Sebastian got the place back when the Mercedes came for new tyres. Jean-Eric Vergne had a brilliant start too, almost jumping Fernando in the Ferrari. Valterri Bottas, who was in uncharted ground was overtaken and cleared by the top 5 in a matter of laps.
Felipe Massa who started in 16th after crashing out in Q2 yesterday, made up 8 places, showing his confidence had not been knocked after finding himself into the wall 3 times in 2 weeks. He drove aggressively and climbed up the grid, with only Paul Di Resta in the Force India making more places than him.
Paul took 7th from starting 17th, as team mate Adrian Sutil drove a fantastic race. A small spin left him facing backwards, but was rapidly controlled and corrected, with Ricciardo and Raikkonen driving on the grass to avoid what could have been a nasty collision.
Pastor Maldonado, who finished in 16th, was given a drive through penalty after causing a collision when he braked late, locked up and went into the back of Sutil, a harsh punishment for a small mistake, but a collision nonetheless.
Nico Rosberg didn’t quite have the pace Lewis had, but managed to hold off Mark Webber for the first stint, before being passed by both Webber and Alonso on consecutive straights. Rosberg could have fought harder after his first pit stop, but Mercedes opted for the thought-to-be favourites super-soft tyres, before discovering the harder, more durable tyres were best for this race – something Webber and Alonso were both on.
Before half distance, Vettel had gained a lead of around 16 seconds, enough for a pit stop and to come back out in the lead, and Kimi Raikkonen had been lapped. Raikkonen was unlucky and suffered a plague of problems including a ‘soft’ brake pedal, and his car falling off the jack during a pit stop. The Finn was lapped by not only Vettel but also championship contenders Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.
Romain Grosjean, who took a 10 place grid penalty for causing a collision in Monaco, finished in 13th, at a circuit which isn’t a favourite of the Lotus team.
Sutil, who took 8th but was very much in contention for 7th, was awarded a drive through penalty for holding up Lewis Hamilton who was about to lap him, ignoring the blue flags and costing Hamilton time.
Webber and Alonso really upped their pace in the second half of the Grand Prix, taking it in turns to set fastest laps to catch Lewis Hamilton who was pushing in second. Catching him lap by lap, it was Alonso who managed to get past, after a fair scrap between the two former World Champions.
Fernando managed to get past, before a slight mistake meant Lewis was fighting back, although was unable to reclaim the position. Webber was falling behind, losing time potentially from a damaged front wing. The damage was caused by an incident involving Geido Van De Garde, who received a 10 second penalty for causing the collision. VDG went on to retire.
Esteban Gutierrez put his car in the wall with 4 laps to go, causing 2 yellow flags. On the penultimate lap of the race, Felipe Massa finally overtook Kimi Raikkonen after a few laps of trying, and on the final lap Mark Webber took fastest lap which we all know Sebastian likes to claim
For the first time in a long time, Pirelli weren’t centre of attention, but for once were complimented by Force India, after Scotsman Paul Di Resta managed 54 laps on the medium compound, before feeling the need to come in and change for a fresher set.
Today’s result puts Fernando Alonso second in the championship, 36 points behind leader, Vettel, and 8 ahead of 3rd place Kimi Raikkonen.
Raikkonen today equaled Michael Schumacher’s record of 24 consecutive points finishes, proving yet again the consistency and reliability of the Lotus.
We now head into Silverstone for the British Grand Prix in two weeks time, wondering if Alonso will stay ahead of Raikkonen, and if Mercedes can jump Ferrari. It will be nice to go away from a race not having to moan and argue about the tyres, but talking about the actual racing.