F1 - Vettel takes 50th career win in Canada
Ahead of Bottas and Verstappen
Sebastian Vettel drove a textbook Canadian Grand Prix, leading every lap of the race to secure his 50th career grand prix win ahead of Mercedes Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
When the lights went out polesitter Vettel held his advantage into Turn 1. Behind, Verstappen made a good start and attacked Bottas, pulling alongside the Mercedes. Bottas held firm, however, and managed to stay in second position ahead of the Red Bull driver. Hamilton kept fourth but Daniel Ricciardo made his way past Kimi Räikkönen to take fifth place.
Further back, Williams’ Lance Stroll lost control in Turn 5 and slid into Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley pushing the New Zealander into the wall. The collision was a big one and debris was scattered across the track as they slid towards the run-off area at Turn 6. The Safety Car was immediately deployed. Both drivers were taken to the medical centre, with Hartley then being sent to hospital for further checks.
When action resumed at the end of lap four, the order at the front remained the same as Vettel controlled the situation well, but further back there was content between Force India’s Sergio Perez and Renault’s Carlos Sainz.
Perez slid across the run-off are and back on track but there was no further contact, though the Mexican quickly dropped to P14.
Vettel then began to put in fastest laps and the gap to Bottas widened to four seconds by lap 13. Behind him a number of drivers who had started on hypersoft tyres began to pit, moving to supersoft tyres as the pink-banded compound quickly faded. The Red Bulls, though, stayed on the softest of the weekend’s compounds as they nursed their starting rubber.
By lap 16 Ricciardo was catching Hamilton and the gap between the two had dropped to 0.7s. With Hamilton visibly struggling for pace, Mercedes took the option to pit the Briton on lap 16. Red Bull pitted Verstappen simultaneously, with both taking supersofts.
Ricciardo stayed out, however, and after a superbly quick in-lap pitted at the end of lap 17, taking on supersofts in overcut to emerge ahead of Hamilton.
Vettel continued on and by lap 23 he was 4.8s ahead of Bottas. Räikkönen was now third, though he too needed to pit, 12.9s behind his fellow Finn and 13.8 clear of Verstappen.
The race then settled until Räikkönen made his pit stop, emerging in P6 behind Hamilton. Bottas pitted soon after, holding P2 ahead of Verstappen and Ricciardo. Ferrari then covered the Mercedes stop and rejoined some 8s clear of the Finn.
The race settled again, with the gaps spreading at the front of the pack. On lap 50 Vettel had 6.0s in hand over Bottas, while the Mercedes man was 5.9s ahead of Verstappen. Ricciardo was fourth, seven seconds behind his team-mate and the Australian had just over a second in hand over Hamilton.
And so it remained until the closing laps when Hamilton began to hunt down Ricciardo as the pair met traffic. The Briton closed to within DRS as Ricciardo cleared Force India’s Esteban Ocon. However he lost out slightly when Ricciardo easily got past Sainz and Hamilton lost grip momentarily.
The battle ebbed and flowed as the pair threaded their way through the traffic but then three laps from the end Ricciardo found clear air and stretched his legs. Verstappen, meanwhile, was pushing for a final attack on Bottas who was having to fuel save in the closing stages.
There was a moment’s confusion as the chequered flag was waved a lap early but seconds later the German crossed the line to take his 50th career F1 victory and Ferrari’s first win at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 14 years ahead of Bottas who nursed his Mercedes home ahead of Verstappen and Ricciardo. Hamilton finished fifth, with Raikkonen sixth ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz and Force India’s Esteban Ocon. The final point went to Sauber’s Charles Leclerc.