Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has led a pole-to-flag victory at the Canadian Grand Prix, ending the team’s North American drought. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso classified second having fought his way past Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber and then Lewis Hamilton throughout the race. The aforementioned Lewis Hamilton took the final spot on the podium.
Valtteri Bottas was the star of Qualifying, taking full advantage of the mixed conditions to place his Williams firmly on P3. The rookie lined up behind Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel. who had taken his third Canadian pole position, and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who had his last second dash for pole ruined when he out-braked himself and cut the final corner in Q3.
Kimi Raikkonen, the other Finn on the grid, was far from happy down in 10th, made worse when he dropped a grid place for having jumped the traffic ham at the pit exit during the restart of the Q2 session. Felipe Massa was the cause of the red flag in the session, losing grip into the T3 chicane and slamming into the barriers, for his third heavy crash in two weeks. Romain Grosjean carried a ten-place grid penalty over from the Monaco Grand Prix for his mid-race clash with Daniel Ricciardo. Combining this with an absolutely dismal P19 in Qualifying, the Frenchman started the race from P22.
Sebastian Vettel retained top spot at lights out as Lewis Hamilton filed in behind him and Webber jumped Valtteri Bottas. Fernando Alonso was next to demote the Finn and dropped him to 5th. Felipe Massa, recovering from his poor qualifying, started his charge up the grid by making a fantastic move on William’s Pastor Maldonado in the final corner.
Max Chilton, worryingly, was soon on the radio to report that his brakes weren’t working – despite the fact that the Briton would make it to the checkered flag. Meanwhile, Adrian Sutil and Valtteri Bottas were engaged in an intense battle which came to a climax when they both tried to take the apex on turn 3. Sutil spun a full 360 degrees but miraculously avoiding both the TecPro barriers and the oncoming cars. Just when he thought he was in the clear, Pastor Maldonado kissed the rear of the VJM-07 and left the Force India trailing parts down the back straight, something Pastor Maldonado was handed a drive through penalty for.
Sebastian Vettel was pushing hard, despite leading by over five seconds on lap 15, and nicked the barriers at turn 4. He, luckily, came off unscathed and it did nothing to slow him down, either. Mark Webber, in the other Red Bull, was chasing down Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg while Kimi Raikkonen was told to increase fuel saving, while trying to maintain his speed.
Felipe Massa was on the ball today. Having already pulled a great pass on Pastor Maldonado, he pulled another on Jenson Button for P11 and set his sights on Adrian Sutil’s Force India. Sutil proved a more worthy opponent, successfully holding off Felipe’s advances for lap after lap. Massa tried the inside of turn 1, the outside of turn 1, the outside of the last corner – all his well rehearsed overtaking spots, but to no avail.
Mark Webber eventually made it past Nico Rosberg and had a lurking Fernando Alonso behind him to deal with. That’s not all that was on the Aussie’s plate. Coming up behind the Caterham of Giedo van der Garde, the Dutchman seemingly opened the door for Mark, but when the Red Bull took to the inside of the Caterham, Giedo closed the door and pushed the RB9 onto the grass at turn 10. Mark was left with a front wing with minor damage, while van der Garde was handed a 10-place grid penalty.
Van der Garde wasn’t yet out of the wars. Now being lapped by Nico Hulkenberg on the back straight, the Sauber moved back to the racing line to take the final corner, but found his way blocked by the Caterham. The two clashed, leaving Giedo with a front wing under his car, and Hulkenberg with a broken rear left suspension. They were the first two retirements from the race.
Fernando Alonso, in the meantime, took 3rd from Mark Webber and began a charge after Lewis Hamilton. Adrian Sutil was handed a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags, getting in the way of the Webber/Alonso fight for P3. And having passed Webber, Alonso was remarkably quick in catching Hamilton. He was nearly to overtake the Briton as he had been to catch him, and Alonso slipped up to P2.
Esteban Gutierrez sliding into the barriers at Turn 1 could do nothing to stop Vettel’s charge as started and finished his 70th lap to claim his first win in Canada. Alonso finished 2nd, Hamilton came in a close second, and Mark Webber set the fastest lap on lap 69, on his way to 4th place. Jean-Eric Vergne finished an impressive sixth place while Valtteri Bottas slipped from third to fourteenth. Both McLaren’s were also out of the points, to end a hugely disappointing weekend for the duo. Esteban Gutierrez was the last classed competitor, having completed over 90% race distance.
- Sebastian Vettel
- Fernando Alonso
- Lewis Hamilton
- Mark Webber
- Nico Rosberg
- Jean-Eric Vergne
- Paul di Resta
- Felipe Massa
- Kimi Raikkonen
- Adrian Sutil
- Sergio Perez
- Jenson Button
- Romain Grosjean
- Valtteri Bottas
- Daniel Ricciardo
- Pastor Maldonado
- Jules Bianchi
- Charles Pic
- Max Chilton
- Esteban Gutierrez
- Nico Hulkenberg
- Giedo van der Garde