While chaos has certainly been the flavor of the 2018 season thus far, the Canadian Grand Prix was a somber affair. Following the results of qualifying, it set the stage for a return to form. Much like the Monaco Grand Prix, things played out exactly as you’d expect for the top three.
Sebastian Vettel drove his Ferrari home to his 50th career race victory, and third of the season. Off the line, Vettel held the position without much of a threat from Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas. Before long he’d drive off into the distance, building up a comfortable cushion. From start to finish, first place is where Vettel would remain.
Moreover, he ends Ferrari’s losing streak at the circuit. The Prancing Horse last saw victory in Montreal in 2004. Even better, Vettel becomes the fourth consecutive Canadian GP winner from pole. Quite the list of accolades for the driver. It doesn’t end there as he now resumes lead in the championship, one point ahead of Lewis Hamilton — 121 to 120.
Bottas secured second place for Mercedes, more than six seconds off the Ferrari’s pace. While a comfortable drive for the Finn, there was a bit of exploration on lap 55. After passing the Renault of Carlos Sainz on the start/finish straight, he ran wide at Turn 1 and clipped the grass.
Tucking behind in third is Max Verstappen for Red Bull. He had a promising start off the line, immediately threatening for second. Heading into Turns 1 and 2, both he and Bottas were wheel-to-wheel in what was surely a nail-biting moment. Luckily, neither driver collided and gave each other enough room.
Bottas was able to defend the position by holding the inside line. From this point forward, Verstappen was unable to threaten the position again. Still, a redeeming effort after the events of Monaco two weeks prior. Behind him in fourth is teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull.
It was far from the results Ricciardo wanted, but finishing ahead of Hamilton was a “little win” in itself. While pit strategy played a factor for both drivers, Ricciardo was able to get out ahead of Hamilton. Of course, this led to the second Mercedes crossing the line in fifth.
This is a race Hamilton will want in the wind column as soon as possible. Not only did he lose the lead to Vettel, but he was dealing with engine woes. Despite falling behind the Red Bull in the pits, he was able to get out ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. In the final stages of the race he was able to challenge Ricciardo for fourth on the grid.
Unfortunately, a corner mishap and getting stuck behind a Williams saw an end to that. Sixth place went to Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari. Despite having fresher tires he was unable to take the fight to the Mercedes. Not the best showing for The Iceman, but solid constructors’ points all the same.
The Renault duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz took seventh and eighth place on the grid, respectively. Esteban Ocon secured ninth for Force India, well ahead of his teammate in 13th. Charles Leclerc rounded out the top ten with a point for Sauber. Leclerc took the position from an ailing Fernando Alonso who fell victim to a DNF.
It’s not the way the Spaniard probably intended his 300th Grand Prix to go. Despite the change to Renault power and a promising start to the season, McLaren remains in a rut. To make matters worse, this was his seventh retirement — more than any other circuit in his career.
On the bright side, Alonso is set to take part in this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Should he win, this could be the sign he needs to turn his attention (and talent) elsewhere.
While the Canadian GP wasn’t the most exciting race of the year, it wasn’t without a little chaos. Toro Rosso’s Brendan Hartley and Williams’ Lance Stroll were the other drivers out of the race. Why? Both came together while coming out of Turn 5 on the first lap.
Stroll appeared to have lost the rear of the Williams, collecting Hartley to his left. The result of which saw the Williams squeezing the Toro Rosso into the tire barrier, sending it airborne. As you’d expect, the incident prompted the Safety Car.
Next on the calendar is the French Grand Prix. Formula One returns to Circuit Paul Ricard for the first time since 1990.