Canadian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton powers to win as Sebastian Vettel struggles
It is nothing personal against Mercedes-GP that the fact they have proven mortal this season has proven to be so well received by Formula One fans and media.
After the past three years had seen the German marque dominate, notching up 51 wins out of 59, having Ferrari not only step up to compete with them, but actually beat them in a straight fight, has proven to be a breath of fresh air.
But yesterday proved to be a blast from the past as Mercedes picked up their first one-two finish of 2017 at the Canadian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton triumphed ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Outside circumstances helped Hamilton have arguably his easiest afternoon of the year thus far.
Championship leader Sebastian Vettel, and the man most likely to fight Hamilton for the race win, saw his victory hopes ruined at the start in Montreal. He damaged his front wing when he clipped it against the back of the Red Bull Racing car of Max Verstappen.
Vettel had to pit early to get a new front wing and that dropped him to the rear of the field and forced him on to a two-stop strategy on a day when the majority of the field stopped for fresh rubber only once.
With his chief rival out of the equation, Hamilton was able to control the race at the front in a performance that was reminiscent of those he had been more used to having between 2014 and 2016.
An easy afternoon for Mercedes was made even more straightforward when mechanical problems sidelined Verstappen when he had been running second, gifting the place to Bottas and ensuring Mercedes of their first lockout of the top two places since the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last November.
Coming on the back of his disappointing display in Monaco last month, where set-up problems had conspired to get the Briton only seventh place, this was just what he needed to revitalise his hopes of a fourth drivers’ championship.
His third win of 2017, and 56th victory of his career, cut his deficit from 25 to 12 points from Vettel, as the German recovered from his early misdemeanours to finish in fourth spot.
The race was a reality check for Ferrari after they had picked up their own one-two finish in Monaco, their first since July 2010.
Kimi Raikkonen ran wide early on to lose track position behind the Force India of Sergio Perez, and the Finn’s race was compromised from there on. Brake problems late in the race slowed his pace and he ended up down in seventh.
Vettel showed strong pace in the closing laps and passed both Force Indias of Perez and Esteban Ocon in the closing laps to take fourth spot and finish just 0.7 seconds off third-placed Daniel Ricciardo, the second Red Bull driver, and the final podium spot at the end.
Nico Hulkenberg was eighth for Renault, while there was home delight as Canadian driver Lance Stroll scored his first points in F1 when he finished ninth in his Williams.
Romain Grosjean inherited the final point for Haas after Fernando Alonso’s McLaren stopped with mechanical problems in the closing laps, leaving the Spaniard and the British team still without a point in the 2017 season.
There had been early drama when the safety car was brought out in Montreal for the first time since 2014. Carlos Sainz Jr lost control of his Toro Rosso at Turn 3 on the first lap after contact with Grosjean, and he slid into the Williams of Felipe Massa, taking both men out of proceedings.
The next round of the season, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, takes place on June 25.
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Updated: June 11, 2017 04:00 AM