Sebastian Vettel usurped Lewis Hamilton in the Formula One drivers’ standings thanks to a consummate victory at Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.
The Ferrari man started on pole and lead throughout around Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, where Hamilton had triumphed in each of the past three seasons.
This was far from the Mercedes’ man’s day, however, as the reigning champion, who qualified fourth, lost a spot to Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo following a pit stop inside the opening third of the race.
Vettel’s maximum haul moved him a solitary point clear of his rival in the championship, coming home ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen as the top three finished as they had started.
An opening-lap collision saw Brendon Hartley and home favourite Lance Stroll take their leave almost immediately, while Fernando Alonso’s 300th grand prix was not an occasion to celebrate as he, too, retired early.
Stroll and Hartley’s coming together saw the safety car deployed but that was the extent of the drama. Vettel got a superb start after the resumption and Bottas never looked like making up ground – especially after a slight error with around a dozen laps to go which effectively ensured the German could cruise home.
In the final five laps, Hamilton pushed Ricciardo hard in the battle for fourth but the Australian – winner at Monaco last time out – just held on with the four-time world champion forced to relinquish his standings lead as he recorded his lowest placing of the season.
END OF RACE
LEC#CanadianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/uBdYdjcvgi
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 10, 2018
LANCE GOES FOR AN EARLY STROLL
There was massive disappointment among the Montreal crown as Stroll’s race was over before it had barely begun.
The Williams man suffered a puncture and lost control, sending him into Hartley, whose Toro Rosso was lifted up and then shunted into the wall.
Both cars suffered irreparable damage, while Hartley – who walked away from the collision – was taken to hospital as a precaution.
“I’m fine. I had a good start, gained a few positions, was side by side with Brendon, the car got loose, I corrected it but there was not much room for both of us,” Stroll told BBC Sport.
“When I corrected it, we touched and he went into the wall. It is not ideal but that is racing.”
HAMILTON NOT HAPPY
Mercedes took the decision to bring Hamilton in on lap 17, seemingly to deal with a power issue, although the reigning champion still questioned the decision.
“Why did we pit so early?” he could be heard saying over team radio.
Ricciardo came in two laps later, but managed to emerge ahead of the Mercedes man, who dropped to sixth as a result before regaining one place from Kimi Raikkonen.
P2 for @ValtteriBottas, P5 for @LewisHamilton in Montreal – fighting hard to the end! #CanadianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/GLMnQ1t7T4
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) June 10, 2018
FIFTY UP FOR VETTEL AS FERRARI END LONG WAIT
Vettel’s triumph was Ferrari’s first at Montreal since Michael Schumacher took the chequered flag in 2004.
It was also a milestone for the German, who brought up his half-century of race wins.
“It’s 50 for me but after a long stretch that Ferrari didn’t win here, I saw the people around and they were super happy,” he said.
“Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, to have a Ferrari winning today and me personally makes me very proud and I’m honoured. It’s a day to remember the great Gilles Villeneuve.”
VETTEL: “To have a race like we had today was unbelievable. The Ferrari fans will have a blast tonight” #CanadianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/1VK6ImlAs9
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 10, 2018