F1 2013: Vettel breaks Montreal duck

Formula One News » F1 2013: Vettel breaks Montreal duck

Sebastian Vettel stretched his F1 world championship advantage over the chasing pack with a consummate victory on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

Starting from pole position, the German was never headed as he claimed his 29th career win by nearly 15 seconds, while the pack squabbled over the remaining places in his wake.

Making the perfect start to lead into turn one, Vettel bolted over the opening laps, already a couple of seconds clear of Lewis Hamilton by the time they crossed the line for a third time and continued to edge away thereafter. The only time he lost the lead was during the first round of pit-stops, when his advantage wasn’t quite enough to prevent the later-stopping Lewis Hamilton from enjoying a brief moment in the sun – and there was sun after two days of wet conditions – but Vettel was so in control by the second round of stops that he emerged from pit-lane with his cushion intact.

Indeed, the only threat to the German’s impending victory was the driver himself, as he persisted in chasing the fastest lap – until told by his engineer to ‘cool down’. The call came after Vettel found himself bouncing across the infield at turn one, having already clipped the wall at turn four!

His margin of victory – the first for Red Bull in Canada – was 14.4secs, but it wasn’t over Hamilton, the Briton having succumbed to the relentless progress of Fernando Alonso in the closing stages.

The Mercedes man had held sway for much of the race, but gradually fell into the clutches of both Mark Webber and Alonso. Once the Spaniard had despatched the other Red Bull after a lengthy battle, he homed in on his former McLaren team-mate. Again, it took a little time for Alonso to find a way by, the pair running nose-to-tail through the DRS zone on several occasions before the Spaniard could take advantage of Hamilton locking up at the hairpin to nail him into turn one.

Hamilton wasn’t about to give in lightly, and tried to capitalise on an Alonso error next time, but only succeeded in losing a part of his front wing as they braked for the final chicane. Thereafter, the Mercedes remained in touch to the end, but was 1.5secs adrift at the flag.

Webber also picked up front wing damage, having been cut off by Giedo van der Garde while lapping the Dutchman at the hairpin in the heat of his battle with Alonso. The sagging part did not present a danger and was left on the car at the Australian’s final stop, but prevented him from remaining in the hunt for a podium. Webber was nearly ten seconds shy of Hamilton at the flag, but had the satisfaction of snaring fastest lap in a three-way battle with Alonso and team-mate Vettel.

The other Mercedes completed the top five, the last of the unlapped runners, but had to make three stops for tyres to Hamilton’s two. Such was the gap behind the German, however, he was able to rejoin ahead of the otherwise impressive Jean-Eric Vergne, who claimed a career-best sixth as Toro Rosso picked up a decent haul of points.

Perhaps even more impressive than the Frenchman, however, was Paul di Resta, who took his first set of tyres beyond 50 laps in his bid to wrest points from 17th on the grid. The Scot was one of four drivers – with Romain Grosjean, Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton – to opt for the harder medium compound at the start, and the strategy paid dividends as he was able to fit the supersofts for the run to the flag and came home seventh.

Felipe Massa made similar progress through the midfield, putting in a feisty run to salvage eighth from 16th on the grid. The Brazilian showed no signs of either physical or psychological after-effects from his qualifying shunt, going wheel-to-wheel with the likes of Adrian Sutil and Kimi Raikkonen during his recovery.

Indeed, it was Massa’s late pass on Raikkonen that gave him eighth place and capped a frustrating race for the Finn, who variously suffered issues with his KERS, brakes, fuel consumption and pit-stops, the Lotus falling off its rear jack first time around. After suffering the indignity of being lapped by the one man who started the race ahead of him in the championship, Raikkonen ended it in ninth place on the road and dropping behind Alonso in the standings.

Tenth place also went to a man enduring a tough afternoon, as Adrian Sutil found himself spinning over the turn three kerbs in his haste to pass top three starter Valtteri Bottas, then being rear-ended by Pastor Maldonado into the hairpin as he attempted to stabilise his position. He would later suffer a drive-thru’ for apparently ignoring blue flags when being lapped by the battling Hamilton and Alonso, but held on to the final point from the McLaren of Sergio Perez.

The Woking team ultimately went home empty handed for the first time in a long while, as Perez and Jenson Button came home in eleventh and twelfth. That put them ahead of Grosjean, who wasn’t able to convert the decision to start on medium Pirellis in the same way as di Resta did, and Bottas, who’s fall from third began almost immediately and resulted in him taking the flag 14th overall and rueing the lack of rain.

Daniel Ricciardo was unable to make the same sort of mark as Toro Rosso team-mate Vergne, taking 15th ahead of Maldonado, penalised for his contact with Sutil, Bianchi, Charles Pic and Chilton.

The race ran with a full complement of cars for a long time, but three eventually failed to take the flag, with Sauber bearing the brunt of the disappointment as both Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg retired, joining van der Garde on the sidelines in the second half of the 70 laps.

Vettel’s victory stretched his championship advantage to 36 points over Alonso as the series heads back to Europe and Silverstone at the end of the month.

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  • 2015 F1 Drivers’ Championship

    1Lewis Hamilton169
    2Nico Rosberg159
    3Sebastian Vettel120
    4Kimi Raikkonen72
    5Valtteri Bottas67
    6Felipe Massa62
    7Daniel Ricciardo36
    8Daniil Kvyat19
  • 2015 F1 Constructors’ Championship

    4Red Bull55
    5Force India31