Scuderia Ferrari won the Canadian GP to end a 14 year drought at this track. Seb Vettel is now back in the lead of the championship, while Kimi Raikkonen brought home 8 points for sixth place. A weekend that started with a few difficulties was turned around thanks to team work, a fact Seb was quick to underline.
Seb got away well from pole, while Kimi had Hamilton in his sights, but had to lift off and lost a place. The opening lap saw a collision between Hartley and Stroll, which brought out the Safety Car, which is a classic Montreal feature. Four laps later the race was on again and the number 5 Ferrari pulled out a bit of a lead to ward off the threat of an undercut. At this point, Seb was the only one lapping under the 1’16” barrier and all he had to say on the radio was that the tyres were fine.
The strategy was based on a single stop to take on the hardest compound available here, the Supersoft and then run to the flag. So Kimi also upped his pace a bit. Seb locked his front wheels and lost a second and then had some traffic to deal with. But once he’d cleared the backmarkers, he banged in a super third sector to set the fastest lap on lap 29.
Kimi also upped his pace prior to his pit stop in the hope of attacking Hamilton. He came in on lap 33 and had his rival in his sights, but lost time lapping Sirotkin.
Out in front, Sebastian led by around 6 seconds. Raikkonen set the fastest lap and was back in the hunt. On lap 37, Bottas pitted and that was the sign for the Scuderia to also bring in Vettel and the mechanics did a good job on his car.
After that it was a race run at arms length, with Seb managing his lead, the tyres and fuel consumption and paying particular attention to the backmarkers. Behind Seb, Bottas had to fend off a hard charging Verstappen.
“Tell them not to wave the chequered flag, it’s not over yet,” said Seb on the radio. He was right, as there was still a lap to go, the best one of the whole weekend.
Sebastian Vettel: ”This win is very important for our tifosi and for our team, today is a special day. 40 years ago Gilles won here, then 14 years ago it was Michael and I was thinking of that today. At the start I tried to build up a margin, I was happy with my first lap and then the safety car came out and I had to start over again. During my last 10 laps I prayed that my car would not develop a problem until the end! Points are always important but today this win means a lot and not just in terms of Championship. The season is still so long and there are many races ahead. The main thing is that our car is strong and stays like that, so that we can fight.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Yesterday’s mistake in qualifying did not put ourselves in a good position for the race. Overtaking was very difficult here; I tried to get ahead of Hamilton after my pit stop, but it did not work out. Then It was even difficult to get close enough to him to open the DRS. It was a surprise, because on this track you would expect to see overtaking and fights, instead it was a similar story to two weeks ago in Monaco. The race was boring and not much happened. We decided to stay out a little bit longer on our first set of tyres and I don’t think that cost us any position: it was our only option to try something different.”
Maurizio Arrivabene: ”Without a doubt, today’s win is down to a very good car and a great drive from Seb. The team, both at the track and back in Maranello, has worked hard and methodically, preparing the car, which right from Saturday’s qualifying proved to be very quick. The tyres responded very well to the strategies we devised. It’s a shame that Kimi’s mistake in qualifying affected his whole race. There is still a long way to go in the championship and we have to continue giving it our all. I take this opportunity to thank our fans and customers who never fail to show us their support and our sponsors and technical partners, especially Shell, for their support in our development programme.”