Red Bull Vettel Takes Out Canadian F1GP

MyDrive | MONTREAL – Sebastian Vettel drove a superbly controlled race in Montreal to claim his first Canadian Grand Prix victory, finishing over 14 seconds clear of nearest challenger Fernando Alonso of Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton finished in third place for Mercedes, followed by Mark Webber.

The top step at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve has always eluded Sebastian and prior to this afternoon the closest he had come in four attempts was second place in 2011. That race was tinged with disappointment, however, as Seb conceded the lead on the final lap. However, from the moment the lights went out at the start of this afternoon’s edition there was never any doubt that he was about to erase the memory of that defeat.

Starting from pole position, Seb easily kept hold of P1 when the lights went out, comfortably beating front-row rival Lewis Hamilton into turn one. Then his pace advantage told almost immediately as he quickly built up a three-second lead over the Mercedes in as many laps.

By the time his first stint was done and he had taken on new medium compound Pirelli tires, he was firmly in control of the race.

His race wasn’t without its nervy moments, however. Early on he brushed a circuit wall and then on lap 52 he was forced to cut the first chicane as he carried too much pace into the corner.

“It’s great to win today. I was pushing very hard, especially at the beginning of the race – I had a moment when I hit the wall, but I didn’t feel it; I was trying to get away from the field, as you don’t know what will happen towards the end,” he said. “It turned out that we could control things in the later stages, but you don’t know that, so I was just trying to push all the time and stay in the rhythm. It was good to see that we were quick in all conditions this weekend and had speed in the race. We had average tire wear, which hasn’t always been the case for us, so we have made a step forward there.”

Having escaped his race’s minor incidents, Seb then proceeded serenely on his way to land his first Canadian GP win. It’s a victory that now leaves him with just the German, Hungarian and US GPs to conquer. Then the set will be complete.

“It’s nice to win here, as it’s a very special race,” said Seb. “Not just the track, but the whole city enjoys the race and it’s a nice atmosphere.”

Mark, meanwhile, made a good start and was past third-on-the-grid Valtteri Bottas before turn one.

“I got a sensational start, but I didn’t have too many places to go,” Mark said afterwards. “I went to the middle and Bottas and Nico [Rosberg] were there, so I went to the other side and lost some momentum. We are certainly getting our starts sorted, but so far there’s been no opportunity to show how good they have been! We lost some time with Nico in the first stint, and the car was getting hot behind him in the slipstream. Once I got in free air, the car was handling much better.”

The rest of Webber’s race, though, was defined when backmarker Giedo van der Garde collided with the Aussie at the hairpin on lap 37. Mark shipped damage to his front wing and eventually was forced to settle for fourth after Alonso had muscled past him.

“The whole top section of the wing was gone on the left hand side, so it didn’t help from then on,” Mark admitted. “I don’t know what he was doing. We had a lot of blue flags as we approached the hairpin and I rolled to the inside, giving him plenty of space, so he knew I was there, but when we got to the apex he tried to hit it; I don’t know what was going on with that. There were some positives from today, but it would have been nicer to have finished a bit further up the road.”

For Team Principal Christian Horner, the result had a feel of poetic justice after the events of 2011.

“To win in Montreal is a fantastic result for the team,” he said. “Having come so close two years ago, to win in the dominant fashion that we did today was a tremendous performance, despite a couple of heart stopping moments, particularly when Seb touched the wall,” he said. “He was totally commanding today and thoroughly deserved the victory. It was a shame for Mark that his race was compromised by van der Garde, who just seemed to shut the door on him for no reason damaging the front wing. But, despite that damage Mark did a tremendous job to still finish fourth.”

Behind the top four, Nico Rosberg drove a subdued race to fifth for Mercedes, but if the Germany was feeling alone in his work, Jean-Eric Vergne was even lonelier. After claiming his best-ever starting position of seventh, Vergne passed Bottas for sixth on lap six as the unfortunate Finn slipped further and further back from his P3 start position. From then on Vergne simply controlled the gaps to power to his best-ever finish and eight valuable points.

Paul Di Resta also had an eventful race. The Force India driver had a gearbox problem in qualifying and started 17th but a smooth drive on a one-stop strategy saw him climb to seventh. He was followed home by Felipe Massa, who also enjoyed an action-packed afternoon as he fought his way to eighth having started 16th. The final two points positions were taken by Kimi Raikkonen and Adrian Sutil.

Team Reactions

Car 1 Sebastian Vettel, Finish Position: Winner, Start Position: 1st
“It’s great to win today. I was pushing very hard, especially at the beginning of the race – I had a moment when I hit the wall, but I didn’t feel it; I was trying to get away from the field, as you don’t know what will happen towards the end. It turned out that we could control things in the later stages, but you don’t know that, so I was just trying to push all the time and stay in the rhythm. It was good to see that we were quick in all conditions this weekend and had speed in the race. We had average tire wear, which hasn’t always been the case for us, so we have made a step forward there. It’s nice to win here, as it’s a very special race. Not just the track, but the whole city enjoys the race and it’s a nice atmosphere.”

Car 2 Mark Webber, Finish Position: 4th, Start Position: 5th
“I got a sensational start, but I didn’t have too many places to go. I went to the middle and Bottas and Nico were there, so I went to the other side and lost some momentum. We are certainly getting our starts sorted, but so far there’s been no opportunity to show how good they have been! We lost some time with Nico in the first stint, and the car was getting hot behind him in the slip stream. Once I got in free air, the car was handling much better. Then we had the incident with Giedo van der Garde which caused some front wing damage and made it more difficult; the whole top section of the wing was gone on the left hand side, so it didn’t help from then on. I don’t know what he was doing. We had a lot of blue flags as we approached the hair pin and I rolled to the inside, giving him plenty of space so he knew I was there, but when we got to the apex he tried to hit it; I don’t know what was going on with that. There were some positives from today, but it would have been nicer to have finished a bit further up the road.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal
“To win in Montreal is a fantastic result for the team. Having come so close two years ago, to win in the dominant fashion that we did today was a tremendous performance, despite a couple of heart stopping moments, particularly when Seb touched the wall. He was totally commanding today and thoroughly deserved the victory. It was a shame for Mark that his race was compromised by van der Garde, who just seemed to shut the door on him for no reason damaging the front wing. But, despite that damage Mark did a tremendous job to still finish fourth.”

Thierry Salvi (Renault)
“A very classy performance from Sebastian today, but it wasn’t at all easy – he was pushing all the way. Montreal is one of those circuits that highlights a good overall package and everything came together today. The potential was there for Mark to score a podium, but the incident with van der Garde cost some time. All the same getting the first win in Canada for Red Bull and the first Renault-powered win since 2006 is a great end to the weekend.”

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