Brought to you by TheJudge13 ‘on track correspondent’: James Parker
Sebastian Vettel claimed a dominant victory under the warm bask of the Canadian sun to extend his championship lead to 36 points ahead of Spaniard Fernando Alonso. The Ferrari man did his best from sixth to claim second behind the German and Lewis Hamilton rounded off the podium with a solid tyre management drive.
Race day brought warm 28°c temperatures and with a 20% change of rain it set up a predictable race. Due to the mixed qualifying session experienced on Saturday, all drivers had free choice of tyres, the top 12 opting for the super soft compound, as did most of the grid in fact. Only the two Marussia’s, Di Resta and Grosjean opted for the medium compounds.
Off the start, Bottas lost out to both Webber and Rosberg going into Turn 1 dropping to fifth. For the remainder of the first lap, the Williams man was harried heavily by Alonso in sixth until finally being forced into submission at the final chicane. It was to set the trend for the rest of the Grand Prix for the Finn as he fell back to thirteenth in the opening stint.
Upfront everything remained static, with Vettel cruising into a five second lead ahead of Hamilton, Rosberg, Webber and Alonso. Elsewhere, it only took up to lap 6 for the first action to kick off. Bottas in seventh was slow off turn 2 after being passed by Vergne and Adrian Sutil saw an opportunity to pass going into turn 3. Showing his nose up the inside of the Williams, he was squeezed by Bottas and that in turn forced the German into a smart 360° spin, losing 3 places in the process but rejoining the race.
Sutil’s lap was to get even worse however, as he found himself getting bumped by Maldonado into the hairpin at turn 11, thus damaging his rear wing forcing him to pit, the Williams man in turn losing his front wing end plate and getting a drive-through penalty for his troubles for causing a collision.
Another man set to not have a good day was Raikkonen. As early as lap 9, the Finn was reporting brake problems and was promptly told to push the bias fully forward. Struggling down in ninth place this was compounded by a fuel consumption issue which meant progress was set to be very slow. Both he and Massa had a good fight for numerous laps with the pair overtaking Ricciardo for eighth and ninth.
The first stops were much earlier than anticipated by many, starting on lap 13 with Ricciardo bolting on a set of medium compound tyres. Webber chose to pit early in an attempt to undercut Rosberg, however the Mercedes team were quick to react and he came in directly afterwards on lap 15 to retain fourth place – super softs the weapon of choice for the German.
Vettel upfront was comfortable and came in on lap 17, with Hamilton opting to go much later on his stint (lap 20) both opting for the medium compound too – maintaining their positions at the head of the field.
The pack remained static for numerous laps, except for a hard charging Felipe Massa who had jumped up to tenth after his first stops and was looking at trying to take Sutil into turn 1 for numerous laps.
Any hope of both Webber and Alonso getting on the podium rested on clearing Rosberg who in turn was starting to hold the pair up. On lap 30 however, the breakthrough came, with Webber making a clean move stick going into the final chicane. Alonso followed the RedBull man through by taking Rosberg going into turn 1 to take fourth – making the most of the DRS advantage.
Rosberg who appeared to be struggling on the super soft compounds was then forced to make his second stop early on lap 32 and therefore set up a 3 stop race with the medium compound tyres attached for his second stint. Raikkonen’s day went from bad to worse as he found himself being lapped by the rampant Vettel on lap 35.
Lap 38 saw yet another penalty handed out by the stewards. Webber in third being pushed hard by Alonso was lapping Giedo Van Der Garde going into the hairpin at turn 11. The move looked to be complete until the Dutchman turned in on Webber, damaging Webber’s front wing and causing himself to spin. This earned Van Der Garde a 10 second stop go penalty for his troubles.
The obvious aero implications this had for the Aussie meant he was somewhat powerless against a hard charging Alonso and passed him on lap 42 into turn 1 to take third.
The second stops for the leaders came on lap 47 with Webber coming in for the last time and bolting on another set of medium compounds. Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel all followed over the next 3 laps and all retained position in the top four.
Whilst the leaders were making their second stops however, two men who had yet to even pit for the first time were doing a fantastic job in seventh and ninth. Both Di Resta and Grosjean had not stopped yet and were very comfortable on the medium compound tyre. The Lotus man eventually stopped on lap 55 for the super soft compound from ninth, whilst the Di Resta went on to lap 58 before coming in for the first time – who said the Pirelli compounds were too aggressive?!
Rosbergs frustrating day was then compounded by a third pitstop also on lap 58, as he was staring down the barrel of a lonely fifth place finish. Another man who appeared to have ran out of luck was Sutil. After he thought his day could not get any worse, he was given a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags when second and third placed Hamilton and Alonso tried to pass him on lap 61.
At this point in the race entering 10 laps to go, Alonso was lurking ever larger in the mirrors of the Mercedes man. The Spaniard could smell blood and was on the hunt. On lap 62, after 2 laps of threatening to pass, the Ferrari driver made the most of the DRS benefit to relegate Hamilton into third place going into turn 1.
From there to the flag the order of the top ten remained static with the exception of Massa and Raikkonen. On the penultimate lap Massa, overtaker of the day, made a great move stick on a despondent Raikkonen going into the final chicane to move up to eighth.
The day was dominated by Sebastian Vettel however. Taking the flag some 16 seconds ahead of second placed Alonso to claim his first win in Montreal. The man was simply in a different universe to those chasing – lapping everyone up to fifth place man Rosberg. It was an ominous display which looked a million miles away from his ‘frustrated’ Monaco drive where he could not unleash the full potential of the RB9.
While we are only 7 races down, a 36 point lead in the championship puts Vettel in a very commanding position and Alonso really must be rueing a poor qualifying performance on Saturday. Having said that, it is unlikely he would have been able to get close to Vettel in the race such was the pace of the latter.
Driver of the day – Paul Di Resta for a magnificent performance to claim seventh from seventeenth on the grid, and managing a 58 lap first stint during the Grand Prix.
1. Sebastian Vettel, Germany, Red Bull, 70
2. Fernando Alonso, Spain, Ferrari, 70
3. Lewis Hamilton, England, Mercedes, 70
4. Mark Webber, Australia, Red Bull, 70
5. Nico Rosberg, Germany, Mercedes, 70
6. Jean-Eric Vergne, France, Toro Rosso, 69
7. Paul di Resta, Scotland, Force India, 69
8. Felipe Massa, Brazil, Ferrari, 69
9. Kimi Raikkonen, Finland, Lotus, 69
10. Adrian Sutil, Germany, Force India, 69
11. Sergio Perez, Mexico, McLaren, 69
12. Jenson Button, England, McLaren, 69
13. Romain Grosjean, France, Lotus, 69
14. Valtteri Bottas, Finland, Williams, 69
15. Daniel Ricciardo, Australia, Toro Rosso, 68
16. Pastor Maldonado, Venezuela, Williams, 68
17. Jules Bianchi, France, Marussia, 68
18. Charles Pic, France, Caterham, 67
19. Max Chilton, England, Marussia, 67
Did Not Finish:
Esteban Gutierrez, Mexico, Sauber, 63
Nico Hulkenberg, Germany, Sauber, 45
Giedo van der Garde, Netherlands, Caterham, 43
Formula 1 World Drivers Championship Standings:
Formula 1 World Constructors Championship Standings: