Hamilton dominates in Montreal
After the glitz and glamour of Monaco a fortnight earlier the Formula 1 world made its annual visit to Montreal last weekend for the Canadian Grand Prix. Ferrari’s German multiple world champion Sebastian Vettel arrived at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Île Notre-Dame with a handy 25 point lead over arch rival Lewis Hamilton, but after a race dominated by both Mercedes cars Lewis claimed his sixth win in Canada, clawing back 13 points from this deficit.
Hamilton, Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen and Vettel had topped the time sheets during the usual trio of practice sessions on the Friday and Saturday, but when the all-important qualifying hour arrived it was Hamilton who emerged on top with the fastest ever lap around the Canadian track. This achievement enabled Lewis to equal his idol Ayrton Senna’s record of 65 pole positions.
Come Sunday race day the weather was dry but cooler and windier and Hamilton and Vettel lined up at the front of the grid ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and the Scuderia’s Räikkönen. The tension and excitement was intense as the lights went out and the pack sprinted the short distance to the opening two corners, where Lewis led from a charging Max Verstappen who damaged Sebastian’s front wing on his way past.
There was further drama on the opening lap as Carlos Sainz lost control of his Toro Rosso and slid into the unfortunate Williams of Felipe Massa, putting both out of the race and bringing out the Safety Car whilst the debris was cleared. The early damage to Vettel’s Ferrari meant he had to pit far sooner than intended for a new nose cone, dropping him down to a lowly 18th position.
Hamilton had been leading from Verstappen still, but on lap 11 the latter’s Red Bull ground to a halt with a failure of the battery in the power unit, forcing a Virtual Safety Car period and promoting Bottas’ Mercedes to second place behind his team-mate. Essentially it was game over from this point onwards in terms of the two leading positions as no-one was able to challenge the pace of the silver cars and Bottas never threatened Hamilton.
As the Grand Prix progressed towards its conclusion third placed Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo came under pressure from the pair of fighting Force India cars, whilst the Ferraris of Räikkönen and Vettel closed on the front quintet. On lap 60 Kimi had an issue under braking for the final chicane and Sebastian swept past into sixth place. A brilliant recovery drive from the German was further enhanced as he climbed to fifth and then fourth past both “Pink Panther” Force Indias before the chequered flag. 18 year old Canadian rookie Lance Stroll, driving for Williams, also deserved a special mention for finishing 9th and earning his first ever F1 points in his home race.
Even whilst the post-race podium ceremony and subsequent media sessions were taking place the teams were starting to pack all their equipment, with the next race just two weeks away back across the Atlantic in Baku, Azerbaijan. Join me there for the next instalment in this thrilling and highly unpredictable F1 season.
2017 F1 Canadian Grand Prix Results
1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1hr33m05.154s
2 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +19.783s
3 Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +35.297s
4 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +35.907s
5 Sergio Perez (Force India) +40.476s
6 Esteban Ocon (Force India) +40.716s
7 Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) +58.632s
8 Nico Hülkenberg (Renault) +1m00.374s
9 Lance Stroll (Williams) +1m00.374s
10 Romain Grosjean (Haas) Lapped
11 Jolyon Palmer (Renault) Lapped
12 Kevin Magnussen (Haas) Lapped
13 Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) Lapped
14 Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) Lapped
15 Pascal Wehrlein (Sauber) Lapped
16 Fernando Alonso (McLaren) Retired
17 Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) Retired
18 Max Verstappen (Red Bull) Retired
19 Felipe Massa (Williams) Crashed
20 Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso) Crashed
2017 F1 Drivers’ Championship (after 7 rounds of 20)
1 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 141 points
2 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 129 points
3 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 93 points
2017 F1 Constructors’ Championship (after 7 rounds of 20)
1 Mercedes 222 points
2 Ferrari 214 points
3 Red Bull 112 points