Vettel wins dull Canadian Grand Prix

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Canada, Circuit Gilles Villeneuveca

Sebastian Vettel won his easiest race of the year, leading the Canadian Grand Prix from start to finish. The German didn't put a foot wrong and kept Bottas at bay, who finished second. Max Verstappen completed the podium in third place after what essentially was a surprisingly dull race.

Before the start, Toro Rosso announced that Gasly would change power units, moving him back to 19th on the grid, but equipped for the race with an upgraded Honda power unit. He started ahead only of Grosjean, who didn't qualify but was allowed to start by the stewards.

At the start, Vettel got away cleanly and didn't come under pressure. Bottas and Verstappen were side by side through Turns 1 and 2, but it was Bottas who emerged ahead. Hamilton retained 4th, ahead of Ricciardo who passed Raikkonen in the run to Turn 3. Next up were Ocon, Hulkenberg, Perez and Sainz.

The trouble was further behind though, with Stroll losing control of his car and thereby pinning Hartley in the wall ahead of Turn 6. Both men escaped unharmed, despite it being a spectacular crash. The safety car was brought out to clear the debris, triggering pitstops from Ericsson and Vandoorne. The latter's stop took a considerable time, with McLaren mechanics seemingly busy everywhere around the car, even though no wings were changed. Just like Ericsson, he changed to super soft, the hardest compound available.

On lap 4, the race was on again. There were no position changes, but Sainz bumped into Perez on the entry on Turn 1, making Perez go on the grass and slide back onto the track midway Turn 2. Magnussen only just avoided a collision while Alonso sneaked past both to move up into 11th position.

It wasn't long before several drivers started complaining about their tyres. Hamilton was one of the first, though he had the avantage of using ultra softs. Ocon was the first to pit, followed by Hulkenberg and Sainz. They all changed hyper softs to super softs.

The early stops between laps 12-15 means Leclerc moved up into 7th, closely followed by Alonso, Gasly, Magnussen and Grosjean. All ran on ultra soft tyres that were new at the start, apart from Gasly who chose hyper softs.

On lap 17, Verstappen and Hamilton pitted, both changing to super soft tyres and rejoining the race in 5th and 6th, with Hamilton just 0.6s ahead of Leclerc. Ricciardo pitted one lap later and came out of the pitlane in between Verstappen and Hamilton.

Despite three DRS zones, the race was particularly stale in the mid stage, with Vettel, Bottas and Raikkonen happily continuing on their ultra soft tyres. Bottas remained at 3s from Vettel and comfortably ahead of Raikkonen as the Finnish Ferrari was consistently slower than Vettel and Bottas.

By lap 28, Raikkonen was 14s behind Bottas, and 12 ahead of Verstappen. Ricciardo followed his team mate at 3s, Hamilton another 2s further down the road. Hulkenberg was the best of the race in 7th, 20s behind Hamilton.

4 laps later, Raikkonen pitted, and rejoined behind Hamilton. The gap was small though, with Hamilton stuck behind Sirotkin through Turn 1 and 2. The next lap, Raikkonen reduced the gap to 0.8s thanks to setting the fastest lap, 6 tenth faster than the leading duo, and 4 tenths faster than Hamilton.

Bottas pitted on lap 36, having dropped 6.3s behind Vettel. The Finn returned to the track in second place, 4s ahead of Verstappen. Ferrari immediately responded and pitted the leader to change to super softs as well.

When Alonso retired with an exhaust problem a bit later, the situation worsened for McLaren. Though they hoped for better race pace, Alonso retired from 10th, while Vandoorne continued on in 15th place, ahead only of Ericsson and Sirotkin. Tired of it all, the team opted to pit Vandoorne again, changing to new hypersofts on lap 49.

Meanwhile, at the front, Vettel lead Bottas by 3.7s. Verstappen was 6s further down, and Ricciardo another 8.7s more. Hamilton was consistently less than 2s behind the Australian while Raikkonen was unable to put any pressure on the Mercedes driver.

Two laps later, Bottas made an error at Turn 1, and lost 2 seconds on Vettel, following which he seemed unable or unwilling to continue the chase. This saw Verstappen come to within striking distance near the end of the race.

Similarly, Hamilton chased Ricciardo and was frequently less than a second behind the Red Bull.

Still, the battles, or threats rather, changed nothing to the end result, with Vettel winning, ahead of Bottas and Verstappen.

Ricciardo finished 4th and only just failed to get away with the fastest lap of the day as Max Verstappen topped his on the final lap.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarLapsTimePts
15Sebastian VettelFerrari681:28:31.37725
277Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG68+7.376s18
333Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer68+8.360s15
43Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer68+20.892s12
544Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG68+21.559s10
67Kimi RäikkönenFerrari68+27.184s8
727Nico HulkenbergRenault67+1 lap6
855Carlos SainzRenault67+1 lap4
931Esteban OconForce India Mercedes67+1 lap2
1016Charles LeclercSauber Ferrari67+1 lap1
1110Pierre GaslyScuderia Toro Rosso Honda67+1 lap0
128Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari67+1 lap0
1320Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari67+1 lap0
1411Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes67+1 lap0
159Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari66+2 laps0
162Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Renault66+2 laps0
1735Sergey SirotkinWilliams Mercedes66+2 laps0
NC14Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Renault40DNF0
NC28Brendon HartleyScuderia Toro Rosso Honda0DNF0
NC18Lance StrollWilliams Mercedes0DNF0