Sebastian Vettel’s win at the Canadian Grand Prix clearly meant a great deal to the driver and his team but, though he played down its significance in the world championship, it may prove to have been a turning point.
His victory was utterly dominant and of real import is the blow it dealt his rival Lewis Hamilton from which the British driver knows he faces a tough fightback.
The win also highlighted Vettel’s ice-cold focus, as he brushed off a bizarre incident when the model Winnie Harlow waved the chequered flag a lap too early. Hamilton’s celebrity friend later tweeted she was told to do so but was glad “no one was hurt”.June 10, 2018">
Hamilton’s fifth place, his lowest finish this season, was the nadir of what had been a difficult weekend from start to finish and ended with his title advantage over Vettel eradicated. The world champion had gone into the meeting in Montreal with a 14-point lead but leaves one point behind Vettel, a swing he would not have anticipated at one of his favourite circuits. He took it on the chin but after engines proved a major factor he also delivered a stinging criticism of the regulations limiting the number of power units.
This is the third time the championship lead has changed hands in seven races but Hamilton had come to Montreal firmly on the front foot. He leaves with Vettel having delivered a reminder that Hamilton and Mercedes will have to be at the very top of their game if the British driver is to be the one who adds to his four world titles.
Vettel had not won since the second round in Bahrain and Ferrari had not won here since Michael Schumacher did so in 2004. His joyous response to the result was unsurprising then but scoring it at the circuit named after one of Enzo Ferrari’s favourites, Gilles Villeneuve, who took his first GP win here for the Scuderia in 1978, made it all the more special. “It means a lot to me,” he said. “A great weekend for us and 40 years after Gilles’ victory here to have Ferrari win again and for a long time since Michael. I would never have dreamt to be the first after him. But this year there are so many races to come, we enjoy the victory and take the points but there is a long way to go.”Winnie Harlow chats to Red Bull’s Christian Horner before the race but afterwards said she was glad no one got hurt because of her actions.Photograph: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
The win marks Vettel’s 50th career victory, with only Schumacher, Hamilton and Alain Prost having scored more. But the number that will matter to the German is the single-digit advantage with which he leaves Montreal. Having shown some formidable race pace in the opening rounds, the Ferrari had been on the back foot to Mercedes but they brought an engine upgrade to this race which has put them right back in contention. Mercedes were also due to bring a new engine but put it back to the next round in France and Hamilton’s, on its seventh race here, suffered from overheating.
“I am so happy that I finished,” he said. “From the start I was down on power, the engine was over temperature and I thought it was going to fail. I could have lost a lot more points today.” Teams are limited to three engines a season and Hamilton was concerned this could be decisive. “I hope we don’t go to two engines next year,” he said. “That is ridiculous. That a season could be swayed through reliability, no one wants to see that, no one wants to be cheated of that. The sport is going in the wrong direction.”
The race was deservedly Vettel’s. Leading from the off, he proceeded to put in a series of exemplary laps to open up an immediate gap to Valtteri Bottas, who finished second. Even given the new engine, the German had the pace of the field and managed his superb one-stop race untroubled to the flag. Were any reminder needed that he is a fearsome talent with the right car, Canada was salutary evidence.
Hamilton, who had a difficult weekend, was unusually out of sorts at a track where he has six victories and was jumped during his pitstop by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in a race that had quickly become a damage limitation exercise. His engine was six races old but nonetheless Hamilton would have expected better. He was able to match Ricciardo, who finished fourth behind his team-mate Max Verstappen, and chased him down but, with a one-stop race, tyre management to the fore and the difficulty the current cars present in closing, he, like all the front six, was forced into what proved a procession.
Vettel now has the momentum and Hamilton and Mercedes have much to consider before racing resumes in France but the British driver still believes they can re-assert their ascendancy over a fragile Ferrari. “There is no reason to lose control,” he said. “Keep our heads down, keep motivated, because they will falter. We have to apply the pressure.”
Fernando Alonso had no reason to celebrate his 300th grand prix, forced to retire his McLaren on lap 43 and the Spaniard will doubtless be pleased to leave Canada to focus on taking part in the Le Mans 24 Hours next weekend. Kimi Räikkönen was in sixth, the Renault’s of Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz in seventh and eighth. The Force India of Esteban Ocon was in ninth, with Charles Leclerc’s Sauber in tenth.
Source : https://www.msn.com/en-gb/sports/formula1/sebastian-vettel-wins-canadian-grand-prix-despite-chequered-flag-mix-up/ar-AAyAeNj