Lewis Hamilton secured a straightforward victory in the Canadian Grand Prix in a Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team 1-2, but the main fight was for the final spot on the podium.
The Briton retained the lead into turn one on the opening lap, and led right through to the chequered flag for his third win of the season by 19.783 seconds from team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Max Verstappen had jumped into second place from fifth on the grid ahead of Bottas at the start, but for championship leader Sebastian Vettel, it was a disastrous first lap as he dropped to fourth having started from the front row, and suffered front wing damage when clipped by Verstappen, who swept around both him and Bottas.
The safety car was deployed before the end of the first lap when Carlos Sainz Jr and Felipe Massa both crashed out at turn three. Romain Grosjean tagged Sainz into a spin after being squeezed onto the grass heading out of turn two, and then the Scuderia Toro Rosso, when out of control, hit Massa hard as the Brazilian minded his own business, with the incident ending both of their races on the spot.
Not long after the restart, Verstappen’s race ended after crawling to a halt at the exit of turn two, with the Red Bull Racing driver suffering a battery problem on his RBR13. This promoted Bottas into second, but the second Mercedes driver never had the same kind of pace as his team-mate, although some of that could be attached to his decision to run the Soft tyre instead of the Supersoft Hamilton did in the second stint.
By this time, Vettel had been forced to relinquish his position on track after the front wing assembly began to fall apart, necessitating a very early pit stop that meant he was forced to battle from the back of the field.
With Verstappen’s retirement and Vettel’s pit stop, this promoted Daniel Ricciardo to third, and he, like Bottas, ran the Soft tyre in his second stint, which meant he was forced to battle hard for the podium positions against the two Sahara Force India F1 Team drivers.
Sergio Perez had got the jump on Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari on the opening lap after the Finn made a mistake exiting turn seven, and was pressuring Ricciardo despite his team-mate Esteban Ocon put pressure on him as well. Ocon had pitted thirteen laps later than his team-mate and was the quicker driver, but with Perez in the DRS range of Ricciardo it was impossible for him to overtake.
Ocon was heard over the radio requesting Perez to move aside so he can have a go at Ricciardo, but despite this, the Mexican held firm, and this potentially cost the team as Vettel, on fresher tyres after making a second stop, caught and passed both to recover to fourth by the chequered flag. On the cool down lap, Ocon was critical of the decision not to switch positions, as he was forced to settle for sixth.
Raikkonen finished seventh but only after a late race scare that saw him lost significant time in the closing laps due to a brake issue, with the Finn finishing just ahead of Nico Hülkenberg, who finished a strong eighth for the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team.
Lance Stroll became only the third Canadian driver to score points in Formula 1 as the youngest driver on the grid drove excellently to finish ninth for the Williams Martini Racing, who will be glad to take something away from the weekend after losing Massa so early on.
Fernando Alonso was on course to break into the points for the first time this season but the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team racer had more heartbreak as he dropped out of tenth with just two laps to go with another engine problem. The Spaniard had rose as high as fourth in the early stages of the race after delaying his pit stop for as long as possible, but for much of the afternoon he was a sitting duck for those coming up behind him, especially with the power deficit down the straights the team have had this weekend.
Alonso’s demise promoted Grosjean into the points, despite the Haas F1 Team racer having pitted at the end of the opening lap to replace his front wing after his clash with Sainz, with the incident remaining under investigation from the stewards.
Missing out on points in eleventh for the second race in a row was the second Renault of Jolyon Palmer, while Kevin Magnussen was twelfth in the second Haas, with the Dane’s race including a five-second time penalty for overtaking Stoffel Vandoorne behind the Virtual Safety Car, which had been called to retrieve Verstappen’s stricken Red Bull.
Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein finished thirteenth and fifteenth respectively in a quiet race for the Sauber F1 Team, either side of Vandoorne, who again was unable to match the pace of his McLaren team-mate Alonso despite running ahead of him in the early stages after the Spaniard was caught up trying to avoid the Sainz/Massa crash ahead of him.
As well as Alonso, Verstappen, Massa and Sainz, Daniil Kvyat was an early retiree from the race after an engine problem on his Scuderia Toro Rosso, ensuring both drivers from the Faenza-based squad failed to see the chequered flag.
But there was no denying Hamilton, who closed the gap in the championship to twelve points after his sixth Canadian Grand Prix victory. The series now moves to Azerbaijan in two weeks time with the Mercedes/Ferrari battle fully engaged. It’s game on in both championships.
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Race Result
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:33:05.153s|
|2||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team||+19.783s|
|3||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull Racing||+35.297s|
|4||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Scuderia Ferrari||+35.907s|
|5||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Sahara Force India F1 Team||+40.476s|
|6||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Sahara Force India F1 Team||+40.716s|
|7||7||Kimi Raikkonen||FIN||Scuderia Ferrari||+58.632s|
|8||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Renault Sport Formula 1 Team||+1:00.374s|
|9||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Williams Martini Racing||+1 Lap|
|10||8||Romain Grosjean||FRA||Haas F1 Team||+1 Lap|
|11||30||Jolyon Palmer||GBR||Renault Sport Formula 1 Team||+1 Lap|
|12||20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Haas F1 Team||+1 Lap|
|13||9||Marcus Ericsson||SWE||Sauber F1 Team||+1 Lap|
|14||2||Stoffel Vandoorne||BEL||McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team||+1 Lap|
|15||94||Pascal Wehrlein||GER||Sauber F1 Team||+2 Laps|
|16/RET||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team||Retired|
|RET||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Scuderia Toro Rosso||Retired|
|RET||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing||Retired|
|RET||19||Felipe Massa||BRZ||Williams Martini Racing||Retired|
|RET||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||Scuderia Toro Rosso||Retired|