Hamilton wins Canadian GP thanks to Vettel penalty

By on
F1 Grand Prix, GP Canada, Circuit Gilles Villeneuveca

Formula One has seen yet another controversial result of a Grand Prix as Lewis Hamiton inherited the Canadian GP race win after a controversial 5s penalty for leader Sebastian Vettel. An infuriated Vettel was classified second, ahead of Leclerc in third.

Ahead of the lights turning green, the race for the win started in the morning already when Mercedes discovered a hydraulic leak on Lewis Hamilton's car. Though it could be repaired without incurring a penalty, the problem provided some additional stress for the crew, with the mechanics actually bleeding the brakes 10 mins ahead of the start, a procedure they'd otherwise do in the morning.

Still, Hamilton took his second place on the grid, starting on mediums just like the Ferraris around him, Bottas in 6th and Kvyat in 10th. Max Verstappen, who had a free tyre choice after qualifying 11th started from 9th on hard tyres, while the others of the top ten started on softs.

As the lights went out, the field got off to a clean start, with only Hulkenberg managing to gain a position in the top ten, by getting ahead of Valtteri Bottas. Further back, Alex Albon got sandwiched in between Perez and Giovinazzi, losing his front wing and requiring a stop after the first lap.

Apart from Albon's stop, Sainz was the first to change tyres, opting to change the softs for hard tyres on lap 4. Gasly and Ricciardo followed in lap 7 and 8, enabling Hulkenberg to progress into 4th, ahead of Bottas and Verstappen. Hulkenberg eventually pitted on lap 15, making that the longest stint of all starters on soft tyres.

Lando Norris on the other hand didn't have to bother about tyres, as a right rear suspension failure forced him to retire from the race in lap 8.

As the front runners continued on their mediums for a little longer, it was clear that tension increased, as the gaps between Vettel and Hamilton, and Leclerc reduced continuously as of lap 18.

Seven laps later, Vettel was the first to pit, changing to hard at the end of lap 25. Hamilton was soon told it was "hammertime", but as it became clear that Hamilton would not make it out of the pits ahead of Vettel, the Mercedes team opted to extend Hamilton's first stint.

Another lap later, Hamilton noted the tyres were done, and therefore returned to the pits, at a time when Vettel set the fastest lap in 1:15.333. Hamilton returned to the track 4.5s down on Vettel, having lost around 3s in the two laps between his and Vettel's pitstop.

Leclerc was only pitted on lap 33. He too changed to hard tyres, rejoining the circuit in 4th, 1.3s behind Verstappen who still hadn't stopped yet. That didn't last long, as Leclerc made a pass two laps later as Verstappen put up no resistance on the back straight.

As the battle for 5th between Ricciardo and Bottas heated up, Hamilton recorded fastest lap and reduced his deficit to leader Vettel to less than two seconds. Interesting here is to note that both Ferraris were put on used hard tyres, while everybody else was fitted a brand new set of hards.

On lap 39, Bottas made a move past Ricciardo that stuck, moving the Finning Mercedes up into 5th. To further improve optimisim for Mercedes, Hamilton got within DRS range of Vettel, nearly ending an easy 40 laps of Vettel leading the race. A lockup from Hamilton, along with another fastest lap from Vettel then increased the gap back up to 1.2s on lap 41.

By lap 45, Hamilton got back to within 1.0s, and two laps later, Vettel nearly lost the lead by going through the grass at Turn 3. Vettel returned to the track with Hamilton aside of him, but the latter opted to back out of it, given the reducing gap between the Ferrari and the wall.

The incident was soon put under investigation, resulting in a 5s time penalty for Vettel as he was considered to have rejoined the track in an unsafe way. A furious Vettel then went on to complain how the FIA was stealing their race, getting a dry response "focus. 11 laps to go".

Vettel's fuming didn't help at all, as his advantage to Hamilton reduced further down to less than a second. And while Vettel's pace dropped a bit, Leclerc recorded the best laps so far in the race. In fact, his series of impressive laps brought him within reach of Vettel, but in the end, he stranded 6s down on Vettel, therefore finishing 3rd, even after applying Vettel's penalty.

With that result sealed, Vettel went off to park his car at the pitlane entry, not in the usual position, and ran off towards the FIA, and then to the Ferrari box. When he eventually appeared back in the pitlane to go to the podium, he was cheered, as Hamilton was booed.

Bottas meanwhile switched to soft tyres 3 laps from the end to secure fastest laps, gaining him another Championship Point out of a difficult race weekend for the Finn.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarLapsTimePts
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG701:29:07.08425
25Sebastian VettelFerrari70+3.658s18
316Charles LeclercFerrari70+4.696s15
477Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG70+51.043s13
533Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda70+57.655s10
63Daniel RicciardoRenault69+1 lap8
727Nico HulkenbergRenault69+1 lap6
810Pierre GaslyRed Bull Racing Honda69+1 lap4
918Lance StrollRacing Point BWT Mercedes69+1 lap2
1026Daniil KvyatScuderia Toro Rosso Honda69+1 lap1
1155Carlos SainzMcLaren Renault69+1 lap0
1211Sergio PerezRacing Point BWT Mercedes69+1 lap0
1399Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari69+1 lap0
148Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari69+1 lap0
157Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari69+1 lap0
1663George RussellWilliams Mercedes68+2 laps0
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari68+2 laps0
1888Robert KubicaWilliams Mercedes67+3 laps0
NC23Alexander AlbonScuderia Toro Rosso Honda59DNF0
NC4Lando NorrisMcLaren Renault8DNF0