GRAND PRIX CANADA – 11TH JUNE 2017
Emotional from being presented with Ayrton Senna’s racing helmet the day before (after equalling his pole position record) and 25 points behind Vettel; Lewis Hamilton dominated the windy Canadian Grand Prix from start to finish.
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
3. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)
4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
5. Sergio Perez (Force India)
6. Esteban Ocon (Force India)
7. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
8. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)
9. Lance Stroll (Williams)
10. Romain Grosjean (Haas)
Hamilton Loves Montreal. Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
It was his 6th win in 10 races in Montreal. His first appearance here in 2007 marked his 1st win and pole combination and he celebrated his 10 year anniversary by doing it again.
Vettel and Hamilton had qualified alongside each other and fans were expecting a tight battle, but the race fell into Hamilton’s hands very early on.
Verstappen’s thrilling start from 5th was the first inadvertent step to pave the way for Hamilton; he passed Raikkonen and Bottas and then swept around the outside of Vettel into the 1st corner – but a slight miscalculation caused his left wing to clip Vettel’s front wing.
Soon after, Carlos Sainz clashed with Grosjean on the curve between Turns 2 and 3, causing Sainz to lose control and spin down the inside of the track and side-swipe Massa in Turn 3. This also forced Alonso onto the grass to avoid them.
The safety car followed for 4 laps. Ferrari waited until the restart on Lap 5 to change Vettel’s front wing and super soft tyres. Vettel hadn’t noticed the damage – as the presence of the safety car had meant that he hadn’t really had the chance to test the car.
The necessity of pitting so early to change his front wing, caused Vettel to lose ground. On a 2-stop strategy, his next pit was on Lap 49 – when the hope was he could catch the others to fight for a podium place and this very nearly happened. He drove well, with some strong overtaking, and caught up with the battle for 3rd (Ricciardo, Perez and Ocon). Vettel passed Ocon into Turn 1 with 4 laps to go and then Perez with 2 laps to go, but couldn’t catch Ricciardo.
There could be some interesting team talks at Force India after Perez refused requests to allow Ocon past in the closing stages of the race – to give him the chance to pass Ricciardo. Perez had spent the whole race behind the Australian, without getting close enough to pass him, and as Ocon seemed to have a stronger pace – Force India wanted to give him a chance to do the overtaking. But Perez wouldn’t budge. During the last lap, the teammates races alongside each other, with Perez defending hard and according to Ocon, unfairly, “This is not fair guys…he moved at the last minute. He cannot do that. This is not fair racing at all.”
So, Vettel’s problems left Hamilton unchallenged, but he wasn’t the only one, Verstappen and Raikkonen also suffered bad luck today. Verstappen retired early with an engine problem on Lap 11 and Raikkonen had brake problems towards the end.
Canadian Lance Stroll scored his first ever points for Williams at his home race, holding off Alonso in the closing stages and finishing in 9th. “Yes, finally some points, thanks a lot guys…it has taken a while.”
Alonso appeared set for the team’s 1st point of the year (10th place), but he retired yet again as he suffered another Honda engine failure with 2 laps to go. At the end of the race Alonso threw his cockpit protection out of the car – but then the mood lightened as he got out and posed for photos with fans. Tensions increased at Honda….
Ricciardo “today I only had fun when I saw the chequered flag. I couldn’t afford to make any mistakes,” he celebrates with a ‘shoey’ – as does Sir Patrick Stewart. Yes that really happened…..
Can Azerbaijan match this show?