Sebastian Vettel delivered one of the most dominant performances in recent memory as he powered to a commanding victory in the Canadian Grand Prix, at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, and with it ended his and Red Bull’s North American win drought while extending his championship points lead.
Fernando Alonso bounced back from a mediocre performance in Monaco two weeks ago, and a subdued qualifying session 24 hours earlier, to take second place. Alonso reeled in Lewis Hamilton in the dying stages of the race and went toe-to-toe for a number of laps before the Ferrari edged ahead, the pair finishing second and third respectively.
But the day belonged to world champion Vettel and he was clearly delighted with what will most likely go down as one of his most ruthlessly efficient performances and with it a most famous win. The only blip in an otherwise flawless performance was the hefty smack that ‘Hungry Heidi’, his RB9, suffered when he tagged the wall on lap 11.
With 132 points on the board Vetel leads the standings with a healthy 36 point margin. In the constructors’ standings, Red Bull leads Ferrari by 56 points, with Mercedes 11 further back in third, with seven rounds ticked off in the 2013 Formula 1 World Championship.
“It was a great race and I had a great start which was important. I just kept that gap through out the race and at some points we had a full pit ahead of others. Finally we got our first win [in Canada]. It’s off the list now and it was great to win. The sun came out as well so it doesn’t get any better. We had good races here before but it didn’t come together to win, then I lost it in the last lap two years ago which was my fault but I made up for that today.”
From sixth on the grid Alonso battled his way past Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber and eventually Hamilton, the Spaniard delivering on his prediction a day earlier that he was podium bound.
He summed up his sentiments on the podium to MC Eddie Jordan, “Yesterday we didn’t have a good qualifying. I didn’t get a fast lap and the conditions were not easy. But we knew the pace in dry conditions [would be] good. We had high hopes. I was fighting top drivers and I had very good fights with Mark, Nico and Lewis at the end. It was not easy because they are super-talented. But I think second [place] tastes of victory, because we scored some good points after a very difficult weekend.”
The biggest cheer for the trio on the podium was a toss up between Alonso and Hamilton; the Briton enjoys strong support in Canada, as does Ferrari. After outshining his Mercedes teammate in qualifying, he did the business again in the race.
He said afterwards, “I have a great time here every year. I think a small part of the wing came off. It was really close, we had a great battle, he [Alonso] is a fair driver and had a great drive. We just have to keep pushing so we can get closer to these guys.”
At one stage Mark Webber looked good for a podium finish, but contact with with Giedo van der Garde as he was lapping the Caterham driver damaged his front wing and compromised the downforce on his Red Bull. This allowed Alonso easy passage, and demoted the Australian to fourth place where he remained until the chequered flag waved to end the race. In the wake of the incident, Van der Garde was given a drive through penalty for ignoring blue flags.
Webber reflected, “It [the car]was pretty knackered to be fair, it didn’t help from then on, I don’t know what [Van der Garde] was doing, we had blue flags there but in the end he kept trying to make the apex but I don’t know. Some guys maybe have their eye too much on their drive. The car was very hot so we had to stay out of the slipstream. The car was tough in traffic but when I got past him it was all OK, but I didn’t have long before I then suffered the damage.”
After his victory in Monaco, the Canadian GP weekend was a disappointment for Nico Rosberg who ended fifth but was never in the hunt for a podium spot, and was simply outclassed by his teammate this weekend.
Jean Eric Vergne drove a mature race in the Toro Rosso, after starting from seventh, and went on to finish sixth, the best finish of his career thus far and a fair reward for the young Frenchman who is starting to get the upper hand over teammate Daniel Ricciardo, in the Red Bull junior team.
Vergne was understandably pleased, “Sixth is really good result, but I already forget it and I concentrate on the next race. I don’t have to be satisfied with sixth, we always want better and I want to do better for the next races and that’s why we have to keep working.”
Drive of the day must go to Paul Di Resta who finished seventh on a single stop strategy. The Scot endured a ‘Keystone Cops’ style qualifying session which saw him start 17th on the grid. The Force India driver was one of the few to start on the medium (white branded) tyre, which he remarkably nursed through to lap 52 before pitting for the super softs.
“We have pulled something way out of the basket today,” said Di Resta. “I think we got it absolutely spot on today. Whether there was a chance to fight Vergne I don’t know, but we took the decision to make sure we got some points.”
Felipe Massa also made up for his qualifying mistake (he crashed during Q2) by finishing eighth and giving Ferrari a double points finish. The Brazilian was feisty on the day, as he carved his way through the field from 16th on the grid.
For Lotus it was another forgettable weekend as both Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean did not feature as a force all weekend. Raikkonen complained of poor grip.Vettel lapping him around mid-distance illustrated the extent of the team’s woes. Nevertheless the Finn scored points yet again, with eighth place, and equaled Michael Schumacher’s record of 24 consecutive points finishes.
Grosjean started from the back of the grid thanks to a ten place penalty for his Monaco shenanigans, but was never a factor in the race and ended up 13th.
Final point went to Adrian Sutil for finishing tenth, having started from eighth on the grid, but was ragged for most of the race and his holding up of Hamilton and Alonso earned him a drive through penalty for ignoring blue flags.
It was another bleak day for McLaren, in fact the bleakest of the season thus far, as both drivers failed to score points, with Sergio Perez 11th and Jenson Button 12th. So ended an incredible consecutive points scoring streak that had stretched back 64 races.
Button summed up the situation, “We finished outside the points and we have a lot of work to do. We’ve got to get our act together and improve. Are we going to be quicker at Silverstone? Yes. We had parts here that didn’t work on this circuit but will work at Silverstone. Soon we’ll start to pick up more points. We’ll not be on the podium but we’ll get more points.”
Final word to the winning team principal, Red Bull’s Christian Horner, “It has been an amazing day and a great drive by Vettel. He touched the wall quite significantly as he was pushing to try to build up a pit stop but in the end it was a tremendous drive. It was a wake up call for him because when you are so far ahead it is easy to lose concentration but it it was flat out from everyone from start to finish today, and that’s how it should be.” (GP247)
Subbed by AJN.
Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal – Sunday, 9 June 2013
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||70||Winner||1||25|
|2||3||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||70||+14.4 secs||6||18|
|3||10||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||70||+15.9 secs||2||15|
|4||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||70||+25.7 secs||5||12|
|5||9||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||70||+69.7 secs||4||10|
|6||18||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Ferrari||69||+1 Lap||7||8|
|7||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||69||+1 Lap||17||6|
|8||4||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||69||+1 Lap||16||4|
|9||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus-Renault||69||+1 Lap||10||2|
|10||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||69||+1 Lap||8||1|
|11||6||Sergio Perez||McLaren-Mercedes||69||+1 Lap||12|
|12||5||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||69||+1 Lap||14|
|13||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||69||+1 Lap||22|
|14||17||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Renault||69||+1 Lap||3|
|15||19||Daniel Ricciardo||STR-Ferrari||68||+2 Laps||11|
|16||16||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Renault||68||+2 Laps||13|
|17||22||Jules Bianchi||Marussia-Cosworth||68||+2 Laps||19|
|18||20||Charles Pic||Caterham-Renault||67||+3 Laps||18|
|19||23||Max Chilton||Marussia-Cosworth||67||+3 Laps||20|
|20||12||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||63||+7 Laps||15|
|Ret||11||Nico Hulkenberg||Sauber-Ferrari||45||+25 Laps||9|
|Ret||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||43||+27 Laps||21|
Note: Grosjean qualified 19th; penalised 10 grid spots for causing collision at previous round. Raikkonen and Ricciardo qualified ninth and tenth respectively; penalised two grid spots each for pit-exit infringements during qualifying.