VF1blog: Vettel finally scores victory in Canada
Sebastian Vettel has finally secured his and Red Bull’s first victory around Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, after an absolutely scintillating drive from the reigning Champion. The German was joined on the podium by fellow former Champions’ Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, after a dry 70-lap race.
At the start Sebastian Vettel catapulted himself into a mesmerizing lead at the front, ahead of Lewis Hamilton whereas the Williams of Valtteri Bottas plummeted through the order after initially qualifying an impressive 3rd. By the end of the opening lap, the Finn found himself way down in 6th position, as Sebastian Vettel opened up a two-second lead at the front in his Renault-powered Red Bull.
Whilst the reigning World Champion romped into the distance in the lead, the majority of the field continued to battle for position throughout the opening few laps. Adrian Sutil was tipped into a spin on Lap 6 as he jostled for position with the Williams of Valtteri Bottas, however the German miraculously avoided collision with both the barriers and the numerous drivers who amazingly managed to doge the stricken Force India. As the German continued circulating, he found himself the centre of attention once again at Turn 10, as Pastor Maldonado completely out-broke himself and lightly tapped the rear of Adrian Sutil.
As the opening laps ensued, Adrian Sutil eventually pitted on Lap 10 as Kimi Raikkonen’s race weekend failed to improve as the Finn began to complain of a soft brake pedal over his team radio. Although Sebastian Vettel found himself in a commanding lead at the front after the opening few laps, the German ace marginally tapped the barrier on the exit of Turn 4 on Lap 11. Despite this minor lapse of concentration from the race leader, he quickly regained his composure and continued to light up the timing screens ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
By Lap 12 Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado became the first three drivers to make a scheduled pit-stop, before others did likewise including Mark Webber, Jean-Eric Vergne and Nico Rosberg. Due to his minor collision with Adrian Sutil earlier in the race, Pastor Maldonado was struck with a drive-thru penalty for causing a collision. The Venezuelan driver, who has so far endured a tough season, soon served his penalty as race leader Sebastian Vettel pitted on Lap 16.
This enabled Lewis Hamilton to assume the lead for Mercedes, however the Briton’s reign over proceedings failed to last for long before he too elected to pit. As Sebastian Vettel returned to the lead of the race for Red Bull, Kimi Raikkonen’s race failed to improve as the Finn pitted on Lap 22 after just being informed to save fuel. The former World Champion suffered a frustratingly slow stop, after his rear-jack fumbled therefore preventing his mechanics from efficiently changing his rear tyres.
After taking an unforgettable victory back in 2011 for McLaren, Jenson Button’s Canadian Grand Prix was one of frustration and a lack of pace. The Briton struggled greatly within the midfield, along with Mexican team-mate Sergio Perez. After initially holding 3rd position behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg eventually succumb to the onslaught of Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso. The duo eventually perfected separate maneuvers on the German on Lap 30.
Despite progressing to 3rd position ahead of Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber’s race effort was hindered slightly on Lap 37 as the Australian driver tried to lap the Caterham of Giedo van der Garde. After visibly leaving Mark Webber a considerable gap at Turn 10, the Dutchman simply cut across the front of the Red Bull driver. The ensuing collision caused minor damage to Webber’s front-wing, and saw van der Garde tipped into a spin. After a short review by the race stewards, headed by former F1 driver Martin Donnelly, Giedo van der Garde was struck with a hefty stop/go penalty.
Although Mark Webber suffered minor damage to his front-wing, his overall race pace seemed to be unaffected. However, this failed to deter Fernando Alonso from catching and then perfecting an overtaking maneuver on the Australian driver for 3rd. As Fernando Alonso continued to scythe through the order, Giedo van der Garde’s woeful afternoon continued after yet another collision, this time with the Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg. As the duo negotiated the final chicane, they touched and both sustained race-ending damage. Nico Hulkenberg suffered damage to the rear of his car, whereas Giedo van der Garde damage his front-wing, which ultimately became dislodged underneath his car and forced him to pull off of the track.
Whilst the marshals retrieved the stricken Sauber and Caterham machines, both Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton pitted for a second and final time. The German sensation managed to retain his lead, after building up enough time to practically stop for a car wash in the process. As Sebastian Vettel continued to assert unrivaled dominance out in front, Lewis Hamilton began to come under severe pressure from former team-mate Fernando Alonso. As the two-time Champion caught the Mercedes ace, Adrian Sutil was struck with a drive-thru penalty for ignoring blue flags.
Eventually Fernando Alonso caught right up with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, perfecting a wonderful overtaking maneuver on the former Canadian Grand Prix winner on Lap 62. Esteban Gutierrez’s frustrating debut season in Formula 1 continued during the latter stages of the race, as the former GP2 and GP3 driver spun into the barriers and subsequently into retirement at Turn 1.
However, nothing seemed able to stop Sebastian Vettel, as the reigning World Champion simply cruised to his and Red Bull’s first ever victory around Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The German ace was followed home by the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso, with Lewis Hamilton a close 3rd. Sebastian Vettel’s victory has enabled him to further extend his lead in the Drivers’ Championship, with Fernando Alonso rising ahead of Kimi Raikkonen up to 2nd behind the German.
The sport will now enter a lengthy three-week gap until the British Grand Prix next time out, when the sport will reconvene around the home of Formula 1 at the legendary Silverstone circuit in Northampton. Last season Mark Webber stormed to a thrilling victory for Red Bull ahead of Fernando Alonso, and many will be expecting the ‘Rampaging Bull’ to excel once again around the historic circuit.
Author: Andy Young
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