Vettel goes flag-to-flag in Montreal
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel started from pole and led all the way to win comfortably the Canadian GP in Montreal over Valtteri Bottas (+7.3 sec Mercedes) and Max Verstappen (+8.3 sec Red Bull). As a result Vettel retook the championship point lead.
The only change near the front was Daniel Ricciardo (4th) passing Lewis Hamilton (5th).
Kimi Raikkonen finished 6th in the second Ferrari.
Vettel, whose Ferrari team brought an engine update to Montreal, had a slow start to the weekend but finally found his rhythm in qualifying and the result was a stunning pole position. That form then carried into Sunday as he led the field away from pole position at the race start.
Vettel got away well from pole, while Kimi had Hamilton in his sights, but had to lift off and lost a place. The opening lap saw a collision between Hartley and Stroll, which brought out the Safety Car, which is a classic Montreal feature. Four laps later the race was on again and the number 5 Ferrari pulled out a bit of a lead to ward off the threat of an undercut. At this point, Vettel was the only one lapping under the 1’16” barrier and all he had to say on the radio was that the tires were fine.
The strategy was based on a single stop to take on the hardest compound available here, the Supersoft and then run to the flag. So Kimi also upped his pace a bit. Vettel locked his front wheels and lost a second and then had some traffic to deal with. But once he’d cleared the backmarkers, he banged in a super third sector to set the fastest lap on lap 29.
Kimi also upped his pace prior to his pit stop in the hope of attacking Hamilton. He came in on lap 33 and had his rival in his sights, but lost time lapping Sirotkin.
Out in front, Vettel led by around 6 seconds. Raikkonen set the fastest lap and was back in the hunt. On lap 37, Bottas pitted and that was the sign for the Scuderia to also bring in Vettel and the mechanics did a good job on his car.
After that it was a race run at arms length, with Vettel managing his lead, the tires and fuel consumption and paying particular attention to the backmarkers. Behind Vettel, Bottas had to fend off a hard charging Verstappen.
“Tell them not to wave the checkered flag, it’s not over yet,” said Vettel on the radio. He was right, as there was still a lap to go, the best one of the whole weekend.
Bottas fought off the fast-starting Verstappen to retain second, moments before the race was neutralized when Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley and Williams' Lance Stroll collided spectacularly. Stroll felt he had a puncture, lost control of his car momentarily and that speared him into Hartley, squeezing the Kiwi up against the barrier.
Both retired on the spot, sparking a Safety Car period. At the restart, Vettel had no trouble keeping Bottas and the hypersoft-tired Verstappen at bay and promptly proceeded to pull out a gap. His title rival Hamilton wasn’t having so much luck. The reigning world champion reported a problem with power.
Vettel, Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen ran very deep into the race. That worked out nicely for Vettel and Bottas, as they retained the top two positions, but Raikkonen wasn’t so lucky and dropped back to sixth for Ferrari. At one point, it looked like we might have had a battle for the lead as Bottas cut the deficit to Vettel.
But the Finn ran wide exiting Turn 1 and his challenge evaporated. His focus then switched to defending to the fast-finishing Verstappen. Meanwhile, Hamilton attacked Ricciardo until the checkered flag, but he didn’t deal with traffic as well as Ricciardo and ultimately had to settle for fifth.
Nico Hulkenberg was the best of the rest, as he has so often been this season, in seventh, a fraction ahead of Renault teammate Carlos Sainz Jr., who survived contact with Force India's Sergio Perez on the rundown to Turn 1.
Despite predictions heading into the race weekend it may be a two-stop race, all of the points-scorers were able to make it to the finish with just one visit to the pit lane, offering little variation in terms of strategy at the head of the field.
"Perfect is a good way to describe I mean, just unbelievable. I think after a long stretch Ferrari didn't win here, I'm just super happy," said Vettel.
"They were quicker and could really push, we were running out of fuel at the end. I think this was the maximum today, so I'm happy for that but I'm not happy we're behind," said Bottas"
Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
Valtteri Bottas (2nd): "We tried everything we could, but I don't think we had a chance to really fight for the win today. I had an exciting start to the race, when I was defending second place as hard as I could. I was on the outside in Turn 1, trying to carry a lot of speed to be on the inside line for Turn 2. I went wheel to wheel with Max, we fought hard, but it was all fair and I was just happy that I managed to stay ahead of him. After that I was trying to put pressure on Sebastian, but didn't have enough pace. The Ferrari was controlling the race and we just weren't quick enough today. I backed off late in the race to save some fuel which is why Max got so close. We were the only top team that didn't bring a new engine for this race, everyone else had an improved power unit. Hopefully the introduction of our new engine in France will help us in the fight with Ferrari and Red Bull."
Andrew Shovlin: "We came here to win so to leave with a second and fifth falls a long way short of what we had thought we were capable of. We'd not seen what Sebastian could do on the UltraSoft or SuperSoft tires during Friday running so his pace was an unknown, but almost straight away it was clear he had a little bit on Valtteri and was able to keep us at arm's length during the first stint. Not being able to put him under any pressure meant we couldn't create any opportunity for Valtteri so second was all we could play for today. Valtteri got a bit marginal on fuel towards the end of the race, having pushed hard to keep up in stint one but he managed it well and was able to defend the threat from Max who was putting in some quick laps towards the finish. Lewis had a tricky afternoon, from the word go we could see that we had a chassis side issue with the cooling to the power-unit that was costing us performance. We couldn't resolve this during the race but eventually found some means to contain the situation and more importantly, we were able to contain the damage and thereby manage the risk to the PU so we could complete the race. This weekend has not been ideal for either championship and we are only a third of the way into the season with a very long way still to go. We clearly need to be getting performance on the car and we will be working hard to ensure that we can perform more strongly in Paul Ricard."
Toto Wolff: "This has been a tricky weekend for us, with Ferrari showing they had the quickest car in qualifying and in the race. We came to Montreal expecting to perform strongly and today's result is a further lesson to us that the historic patterns of performance between the teams are not holding true this year. It is very hard to see a trend from circuit to circuit, and the race results are being decided by tight margins - which team makes the fewest mistakes, develops its chassis and power unit most effectively, finds the right balance between performance and reliability, and puts together their race weekend cleanly from Friday onwards. Today, the fastest laps table showed three teams within 0.15s and this is the new reality of 2018. Looking at today's race, Valtteri got a good start then defended extremely well from Verstappen in the first two corners. We never had the pace to challenge Sebastian - but that move was the basis for his P2 finish. After this, he raced hard, hardly put a foot wrong but we didn't have the pace for any more today. On Lewis' side, we had an issue with a chassis component that compromised his cooling from the opening lap. That meant the engine was running hot and we had to manage temperatures, costing performance, in the opening stint. We were able to open up the bodywork at the pit-stop to improve the situation, but also lost a place to Ricciardo that we were unable to get back during the next 50 laps. It has been a tough weekend for us - tougher than we expected - and this result is a wake-up call for everybody in the team. We now need to reflect in the right way, understand where we can find more performance and respond in Paul Ricard in two weeks' time."
Kimi Raikkonen (6th): “Yesterday’s mistake in qualifying did not put ourselves in a good position for the race. Overtaking was very difficult here; I tried to get ahead of Hamilton after my pit stop, but it did not work out. Then It was even difficult to get close enough to him to open the DRS. It was a surprise, because on this track you would expect to see overtaking and fights, instead it was a similar story to two weeks ago in Monaco. The race was boring and not much happened. We decided to stay out a little bit longer on our first set of tires and I don’t think that cost us any position: it was our only option to try something different.”
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen (3rd): "The whole weekend we were very competitive and in the race, with the tires we had, I think we maximized our strategy and we were very happy with the result. Every single weekend you go in you try to win and here practice has been good, Qualifying has been positive and the race went well too. Of course we're very pleased with that and to come away with a podium and challenging for second at the end at this track, which is not ideal for us, is really positive. When you feel confident with the car then you can do a good job, and during the race I think we managed the car in the best way possible on the hypersoft tires. In this kind of race you have to manage a lot, fuel first of all, then also the tires, you have the pressure from behind, you don't want to let them into your DRS but one point I can see that I was pulling away quite comfortably so then I was challenging Valtteri at the end. So the race was in one way maybe a little bit boring but on the other hand you needed full focus on doing a good job. Seb was very fast today and I could quickly feel that we were just lacking top speed. They tires were holding on really well at the end when I was challenging Valtteri because he was fuel saving which shows our car was working well and for sure we have a very competitive car at the moment. I don't think we can challenge for victories on every track, it just depends on how long the straights are but for now I am looking forward to the upcoming races."
Daniel Ricciardo (4th): "It was actually a pretty good day and I don't think I could have done much more. I know it's fourth but I'm actually happy. Starting sixth I didn't know how much to expect on this track as the reality is that it's not that easy to overtake around here anymore. I'm really happy with what I did and what the team did. We went for the hypersoft knowing it was more aggressive and we knew we had to maximize the tire at the beginning of the race which is what we did. We got Kimi on the start and then a nice overcut on Lewis, so I think we did everything we could. It wasn't the smoothest weekend on my side of the garage, we had the upgraded engine but we had a few issues trying to get it calibrated, I think that's the right word, even during the race it wasn't that easy at times to manage tires and wheel slip, so for that I think we did the best we could. The good thing is that Max's engine seemed to be running well, so we have that as a reference moving to France. It's probably the first time in a while that we have gained really good team points so it's a good weekend from that perspective and also good for Max. I'm looking at the positives (laughs) we also took two points from Lewis so we're still in the championship, we're still there. Last thing, It's my mum's Birthday, so Happy Birthday Mum."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Third and fourth represents a great team result today. Max drove a very strong race finishing within a tenth of a second from Valtteri. Starting on the hypersoft he nearly managed to get ahead of him off the line but unfortunately didn't quite make it. Thereafter his pace and management of the race was very, very strong, so we are really happy with what he has achieved today and all week in Montreal. Daniel was the only car in the top six who made any progress, passing Kimi on the first lap and managing to pull off the overcut on Lewis, after a great stop from the guys in the pit crew. To achieve P3 and P4 at this type of circuit, including the fastest lap of the race once again (one of five fastest laps of the 2018 season), is a strong performance delivering valuable points to the team."
Sahara Force India F1 Team
Esteban Ocon (9th): "It's good to pick up more points, but we had the potential to score even more today. I had a fantastic first lap and got ahead of Hulkenberg, which was the target, and I was running well in seventh place. Then we had a small issue at the pit stop, which cost us a couple of seconds, and it dropped me down behind both of the Renaults. From there I tried my best to fight back and I came close to catching Sainz in the final few laps, but it wasn't possible to overtake, especially after he cut the track and gained some time on the final lap when I was about to overtake him. It's a shame because the strategy should have worked really well. I will focus on the positives because it's been a strong performance by the team this weekend. We can be satisfied with what we have done here. The pace has been competitive, but we need to keep pushing."
Sergio Perez (14th): "I am very disappointed to come away from this race with no points. The start was good, although I didn't make up any places, but the restart after the Safety Car was even better and I managed to pass Carlos [Sainz]. I was very surprised when he hit me because I gave him more than enough room and I was ahead: that wasn't good enough and that's why I asked for a penalty on the radio. I was able to save the car [from crashing] but by then my race was compromised. We tried something different with the strategy – going for a two-stopper – but it wasn't enough to get back in the points. Overtaking was impossible, with these cars you can't follow another car and pass them unless you have a big advantage. It's a shame because I feel we had the pace to be mixing with the Renaults and we should have scored some good points."
Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer: "To come away with just two points is a bit disappointing considering the speed we've shown across the weekend. Esteban drove well and we just unfortunately had a slow pit stop with a delay fitting the rear jack, which ultimately ended our chance of beating the Renaults. Sergio was racing very well until Sainz hit him, forcing him off the road, and dropped him outside the points. He had made the overtake so it was extremely disappointing to lose four or five places as a result. It effectively ended his afternoon. So a mixed result today, but we take encouragement from the speed we have shown in both qualifying and the race, and it's good to keep picking up important points."
Williams Martini Racing
Sergey Sirotkin (17th): "It was a difficult race. The start was particularly tough in the beginning with the prime tires compared to the much softer compounds of everybody else. Still, I was able to gain some positions at the start. However, with the safety car and an extremely poor warm up with the harder compound of tire, it was impossible to keep up with the pace. We were the slowest car of the day and we have done our best to finish the race despite the issues we've had. That's where we are and we have to be honest with that."
Lance Stroll (DNF, Accident): "First of all I am really disappointed for the fans. I have had a great welcome here for my home race and I wanted to put on a good show for them. I had a good start, gained a few positions and got both McLarens, but I had some contact when I overtook them. Then I was side by side with Brendon going into turn five. The car got loose on me, I corrected it but there was not much room for both of us, and by the time I had corrected it we had touched. It is not ideal, but that is racing, things like that happen on the first lap as we are close and side by side, so that is how it goes sometimes."
Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer: "This was a very disappointing result, especially for Lance's fans and there were many of them here today for his home race in Canada. As for the race itself, we chose to split the strategy across the two cars, with Lance starting on the ultrasoft and Sergey on the supersoft. Both cars made good starts off the line, initially gaining places. Unfortunately, Lance had an accident in turn five involving Hartley, which brought his race to a very early conclusion. On Sergey's side, due to the harder tire slow warm up, he lost the positions he had gained at the start after the safety car. He then settled down to protecting a position ahead of Ericsson and Vandoorne. We chose a relatively early stop for the ultrasoft to go to the end, thinking that this would gain an advantage, but unfortunately, we didn't find any pace in these softer tires, which appeared slower than the supersofts. We know we are not where we need to be and we have a lot of work to do. We are working very hard behind the scenes and intend to come back stronger as soon as we can."
Renault Sport Formula One Team
Nico Hulkenberg (7th): "We executed the race well today and it was a good effort from everyone. Ten points in the Constructors' Championship is positive for us and we've extended our lead in fourth ahead of our rivals. It was a close battle today, I lost a position at the start, but I managed to get the overcut on Ocon by going two laps longer, as he was holding me up a little bit on that first stint. From then, it was about managing the tires, which was quite tough as degradation was kicking in towards the end."
Carlos Sainz (8th): "It was a good day for the team and ten points for the Constructors' Championship. It's another step forward and we had a good race pace compared to the rest of the midfield. We wanted to bring both cars home in the points and we'll certainly enjoy the result even though it was a largely quiet race for us! The team did a solid job yesterday and again today to jump the Force India. We thought we were going to have a lot more degradation and in the end we came back with good tire management."
Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director: "Today was a highly positive result with Nico and Carlos achieving the best finishes possible with the current pace of the Renault R.S.18 relative to those ahead of us. We enjoyed good judgement from the pit wall which enabled a strategy to recover from a not so perfect start. The ten points achieved today are very healthy for the Constructors' Championship. The entire weekend illustrated the beneficial teamwork between Viry and Enstone. We delivered upgrades to the Power Unit and chassis and these worked extremely well. We did have difficult moments on Friday and Saturday but the team has done an amazing job of recovering from that, including changing a turbo one hour before qualifying with all hands on deck in a magnificent display of teamwork. We now aim to build on this result by looking at what can be done to reduce the performance deficit to the top three teams."
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
Pierre Gasly (11th): "Overall, I think it was a really good race for me. We managed to make up many positions after starting from the back row, but it's always tough when you finish so close to the points! I was pretty close to Charles a couple of times, then I damaged my front tires so in the end it became difficult to pass. The new power unit seems to work well… we overtook multiple cars on the straight, so it looks promising for the upcoming races. Honda worked very hard to bring the upgrade to Canada and they did a fantastic job! Now we need to put everything together and find some consistency, because the next race is my home Grand Prix in Le Castellet - I'm really excited to go racing there!"
Brendon Hartley (DNF, Accident): "I'm really disappointed for Toro Rosso and Honda, because we've been quite strong all weekend with a good update from the power unit. I think we definitely had the pace to challenge for points today. I had a good start, similar to the drivers around me, but I got left a bit on the outside of Turn 2 which lost me a position. I got a good run on Lance out of Turn 4 on the outside, but he lost the car which put us both into the wall. It's very disappointing as there was room to make the overtake, and I was looking forward to a strong race. It's a frustrating way to end the Canadian Grand Prix as I've been really happy with my performance all weekend. I was delayed getting back to the circuit because I was flown to the hospital for precautionary checks. However, I'm definitely fit, healthy, and ready for the next race."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "This was not our race weekend… our problems started in qualifying with a change of power unit on Pierre's car, and as a result he had to start from the back of the grid. Pierre drove a good race today, but unfortunately he was not in the position to score points and finished 11th in the end. After having a good start to the weekend, it's a shame Brendon retired on the first lap of the race after he was pushed into the wall by Stroll. I think we can get more out of our package than we were able to show today, and I'm confident that we can have a better performance in the upcoming race weekend in France."
Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 Technical Director: "A weekend of positives and negatives: on the positive side, the PU updates we brought here delivered a noticeable increase in performance, which is a good sign for the next stage of the season. On the negative side, we had a reliability issue on Pierre's PU on Saturday and Brendon's race was very short. However, Pierre had a strong race from the back of the grid and now we will focus on ensuring both drivers can perform well, starting with Pierre's home race in two weeks' time in France."
Haas F1 Team
Romain Grosjean (12th): "We didn't really know quite how long we could go. We had been planning to go long, but not as long as that. The tires were holding quite nicely. There was only a bit of front degradation. I was happy with the pace. I was easily managing keeping up with the Renault in front and the Force India behind. If qualifying had been as I was expecting with a P7, it would've been a P7 today, for sure. Anyway, we tried to come back, but our strategy didn't quite work. When we came out of the pit we had a lot of blue flags and so on. I couldn't really come back through the field. We did our best. The car is fast and I enjoyed driving it."
Kevin Magnussen (13th): "Not a brilliant weekend for us. We were thinking that P11 in qualifying was a good result. We thought that would be an advantage for the race – being on a different tire from the top-10. It didn't really turn out to be that way. I didn't get a great first lap. I was overtaken by one of the Saubers. They had a really good start, and then a couple of laps after I had a Force India that spun and I couldn't get on the inside, so I was on the outside and got done by Fernando (Alonso) on the inside. Things just didn't go our way today. It's a shame. I think the car was pretty good, especially on the supersoft, the pace was good. I think we just didn't get it right today."
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: "It was a disappointing end to a disappointing weekend. Lady Luck didn't quite go our way during the race. The only thing we can do is look forward to the next race. I'm hoping we'll get a break at some stage and show what we can do."
McLaren F1 Team
Stoffel Vandoorne (16th): "I think we were extremely unlucky from the start today. We had a good launch off the grid, but with the accident that happened there was so much debris to find our way through into Turn Five, and it was impossible to avoid it. We had a front-right puncture, and we basically ran out of tires already before we even really started the race, so it was a difficult day. A big piece of debris went under the car so we were forced to pit on the first lap and then lost a lot of time in the pit-stop as well. Before we even got into the race it was already over. On a personal note, on my side it's been very positive in terms of the progression we've made over the past couple of races. The disappointing thing here was our qualifying performance for the team as a whole. We knew that before coming here and unfortunately it got confirmed. We've got a lot of work ahead. It's hard to tell how the next few races will be for us. We don't want to make any predictions, and if you look at last year there were some races that we thought would be difficult but turned out to be alright. We have to wait and see. Paul Ricard will be a new track for everyone, and then Austria and Silverstone, so a busy couple of weeks ahead but I'm looking forward to that and hopefully we'll have some better luck."
Fernando Alonso (DNF, Exhaust): "The race was fun at the beginning, especially after the restart, when we overtook three cars in two corners. Sergio [Perez] was on the grass sideways and came back onto the track, so it was difficult to anticipate what line he would have taken. Then halfway through the race, I felt a loss of power and was told to retire. It's sad, frustrating and I'm disappointed with this result. We weren't competitive this weekend. We need to find more performance in the car and a way to become competitive. Reliability is also important, as we saw at the beginning of the year how many points we scored and how many we've lost now in the last two races, by retiring today and retiring in Monaco when we were running in seventh position. There are a few areas of the car that we need to keep working on and improving, and we'll see what happens in the next couple of months. I'm flying tonight to France, as tomorrow I need to be in Le Mans. It will be a busy Monday and a new experience, and I'm definitely looking forward to it."
Eric Boullier, Racing Director: "Today has been a day to forget and move on for McLaren. While both drivers did extremely well to avoid the chaos on lap one, Stoffel reported a puncture after driving over the resultant debris, and his subsequent stop lost him a lot of time under the Safety Car. From there, he was in last position, and, despite driving well to manage his strategy and pace to his nearest competitors, the unforgiving nature of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve meant he was unable to make significant gains on the pack ahead. To compound his struggles, he spent the final stint of the race nursing an intermittent energy management issue, which we are currently investigating. All things considered, he drove a hard-fought race to bring the car home in 16th. Fernando was left in a much better position than Stoffel after the first-lap chaos, and benefitted from the early Safety Car period to jump three places forward into 11th on a one-stop strategy. While we thought a points-paying result was becoming a distinct possibility, he suffered cruel luck once again and was forced to retire the car after losing boost pressure thanks to a broken charge air cooler pipe. Although very frustrating, it's an unusual problem, and one that we don't expect to affect us going forward. From here, the important thing is to pick ourselves up and turn our attention to our return to Europe and three back-to-back races in as many weeks. With a renewed focus, hard work and better luck, we hope an upturn in fortunes will come our way."
Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team
Charles Leclerc (10th): "It was a good race today. I am very happy with the result – it has now been four races that we have been doing a great job, and have been improving consistently. I am proud of the team and the work that everyone has done. It was exciting to discover this track in Montreal, and I enjoyed driving here very much. Now we have to take what we have learned here and look to continue on this positive path for the next couple of races."
Marcus Ericsson (15th): "It was quite a difficult race for me. In the first half of the race, I struggled behind other cars and lost quite a bit of time. The second half was decent; we did a good job getting the tires to last until the end of the race, which is a positive. The result is disappointing, and we have to work on improving in qualifying, as that is where I still have room for improvement at the moment. I am confident that we will find a way to improve in that area, and look forward to the next races."
Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal: "Overall it was a good weekend for us. We had one car in Q2 (Charles Leclerc) again – it was the fourth time in a row for us. The race today was also good. Charles managed to stay ahead of his competitors and fight his way forward, scoring a point for the team again. Marcus did a good job as well, but unfortunately got stuck behind another car after his pit stop. The team did a good job with a very fast pit stop again. Everything is coming together and looking positive, and good steps are being made as a team. We have to stay focused and continue working in this direction for the upcoming races."
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