Vettel wins the Canadian Grand Prix from pole

Sebastian Vettel (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)After a rainy qualifying session leading to a mixed-up grid, the teams were hoping for a dry race – even if most fans watching at home were praying for rain to add an extra bit of excitement to proceedings.

As the formation lap got underway, there was still a 40% chance of rainfall. But the afternoon was to remain dry, much to the relief of the drivers out front…

As the lights went out, polesitter Vettel got a flying start, with Hamilton close behind – but third-placed Bottas was immediately swamped, and had been overtaken by Rosberg, Webber and Alonso by the end of the first lap.

Vettel was soon setting fastest laps, and had pulled out a three and a half second lead over Hamilton by lap four. Meanwhile, Bottas’ slow pace meant a train was forming behind him, bunching up the pack from sixth place downwards.

Sebastian Vettel leads (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)Canadian GP (photo by Moy)On lap six, Bottas lost yet another place to Jean Eric Verne, and Sutil soon fancied a look too – but the Force India tapped the back of the Williams, causing Sutil to spin. A pit stop would later confirm that Sutil had damage to his rear wing. Further back, the other Force India was having trouble too as Maldonado tried to overtake and ran into the back of him, causing slight damage to both cars.

Massa meanwhile was storming through the field, and had made his way up from 16th to 10th place by lap 10. In front of him, Raikkonen was having problems with his car, letting Massa breeze up behind him – but Kimi was having none of it, and quickly overtook Ricciardo in front of him, sending a clear message to Massa that he wasn’t about to give up a place to him any time soon.

Webber was the first frontrunner to pit, on lap 14, taking advantage of the handy gap that had opened up in the pack thanks to the slow pace of Bottas. Out front, his teammate Vettel was still setting blisteringly fast laps, strecthing out a seven-second lead over Hamilton by lap 15.

A flurry of pitstops followed, including Vettel, who pitted on lap 17. He returned to the track comfortably in second behind Hamilton – who hadn’t yet pitted.

Lap 18 saw Maldonado come in to serve a drive-through penalty, which he’d been awarded for causing a collision when he ran into the back of Sutil earlier.

Hamilton pitted on lap 20, predictably feeding back in behind Vettel again, albeit a whole 10 seconds behind now. Three laps later, Raikkonen came in, having just been told over the radio to save fuel. A problem with the right rear tyre led to a terrible pitstop for the Finn, during a race which he needed to finish 10th or higher to see him equal Schumacher’s point-scoring record.

Fernando Alonso (photo by Ferrari)Lewis Hamilton (photo by Mercedes)Jean-Eric Vergne (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) Back up front, the battle for third place was getting juicy as Webber and Alonso crept up on a slow-moving Rosberg. His tardy pace was helping Hamilton out brilliantly, but he clearly couldn’t keep Webber behind him for long – and on lap 31, both the Red Bull and Ferrari passed him, dropping Rosberg down into fifth place.

A lap later, and Rosberg dived into the pits for new tyres – confirming that despite recent events, Mercedes still aren’t on top of their tyre degradation problems.

By lap 35, Raikkonen had dropped to 13th, and was so far back that he was lapped by leader Vettel. Webber was also passing backmarkers, but Van Der Garde left him no space when he tried to lap him – and as they touched, Webber sustained damage to his front wing. In return, Van Der Garde was investigated for ingoring a blue flag. He would later receive a 10 second stop/go penalty for the incident.

Webber had more problems on lap 42 as Alonso started closing in – and the Spaniard made quick work of overtaking Webber for third place.

On lap 48, it became clear that Van Der Garde had a broken front wing, which fell off completely and got stuck underneath his car. He tried to drive it back to the pits, but unsurprisingly didn’t make it, and was forced to pull off to the side of the track.

It soon emerged that he’d had a coming together with Hulkenberg, who was also forced to reitre from the race on the same lap. The incident would be investigated after the race.

Vettel pitted for the final time on lap 50, comfortably coming back out in the lead. Further back, Di Resta was going great guns in P7, having not stopped at all to change tyres. He finally came in for his one and only stop on lap 58, helping him to a well-deserved sixth place finish by the end.

His teammate Sutil wasn’t having such a good a race, however – he was given a drive through penalty on lap 61 for ignoring the blue flags, which he would take three laps later. Amazingly though, he still managed to finish the race in seventh place.

By this point, Alonso could sniff more championship points, and started closing in on Hamilton – having lapped his teammate Massa on lap 56. With 13 laps to go, he started setting purple times, and would soon be creeping up behind Hamilton…

After a couple of failed maneuvers, Alonso finally made his move on Hamilton on lap 64 to snatch second place. The pair made brief contact, but thankfully there was no major damage.

Lewis wasn’t about to give the place up easily though, and quickly came back at his rival. But he couldn’t make the move stick, and would eventually have to settle for finishing in third place.

With four laps to go, Gutierrez put his car in the wall, leading to yellow flags and his retirement from the race.

In the closing stages of the race, nobody could touch Vettel, and he took the chequered flag to win his first ever Canadian Grand Prix. Sadly his teammate pipped him to fastest lap at the end of the race – but given that he’s now extended his lead in the drivers’ championship to 36 points, we doubt that bothered Vettel too much. By Sarah Ellis


Provisional results:




S Vettel

Red Bull



F Alonso




L Hamilton




M Webber

Red Bull



N Rosberg




J Vergne

Toro Rosso



P Di Resta

Force India



F Massa




K Raikkonen




A Sutil

Force India



S Perez




J Button




R Grosjean




V Bottas




D Ricciardo

Toro Rosso



P Maldonado




J Bianchi




C Pic




M Chilton




E Gutierrez (ret.)




N Hulkenberg (ret.)




G van der Garde (ret.)



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