Canadian GP | Unchallenged victory for Hamilton, Vettel recovers

Lewis Hamilton wins the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Lewis Hamilton turns his sixth Canadian pole into his sixth Canadian win, as he dominates the race to lead a Mercedes one-two finish. Hunted by Ricciardo, as the Australian fends off the threat of Force India after Vettel goes from front to back.

The grid was already a man down when the field flocked out of the pits, where Pascal Wehrlein started from having changed his rear wing and gearbox following his late Q1 crash.

Daniil Kvyat, set to start from 11th place, nearly reduced the grid further, too. As his Toro Rosso failed to pull away for the formation lap, leaving the Russian stranded until his mechanics could rush to his aid.

With a push to get going, Kvyat soon rejoined the action and retook his starting spot for the start of the race. But, having not returned to his starting position by the first safety car line, Kvyat was handed an initial drive-through penalty. Yet after further deliberation, race control issued Daniil a further 10-second time penalty.

The start of the 2017 Canadian Grand Prix, as Hamilton leads Verstappen and Bottas. Photo credit: Red Bull Racing.

The start of the 2017 Canadian Grand Prix, as Hamilton leads Verstappen and Bottas. Photo credit: Red Bull Racing.

For now, though, the focus was the start of the race. A start monstered by Max Verstappen as he leapt from fifth to second to chase Hamilton through the opening bends. Running around the outside of Bottas and the Ferrari’s ahead, while clipping Vettel’s front wing and sending the German into the pits for repairs.

Contact between Verstappen and Vettel may have sent the Prancing Horse limping home. But contact further down the field between Sainz and Grosjean sent the Spaniard spinning into Felipe Massa. Taking both cars out of the race before the race could really get going.

Carlos had marginally squeezed Romain wide as the pair ran out of the second corner. Edging towards the grass and forcing the Haas driver to move back across. Moving back across, however, is what pitched the Toro Rosso into a spin that sent him towards the unaware Williams ahead.

With Sainz buried in the barrier and Massa lying in the grass, the first safety car period of the day was issued. Seeing the action temporarily halt and Stoffel Vandoorne relax in 11th place having gained five places to move ahead of his team-mate.

Alonso, however, soon emerged back ahead of Vandoorne come the restart. A restart Verstappen looked to utilise and take the lead but was forced to tuck in behind poleman, Hamilton, after going side-by-side into the final chicane.

Oversteer, meanwhile, hampered the charge of Raikkonen as Sergio Perez slipped by out of turn six. Leaving the Finn fighting not to hit the wall, with Ocon closing in behind.

Ocon closing came as Verstappen fell away from Hamilton in the lead. Losing ground in his hunt for P1, until his battery lost power and his race came to an end. Activating the Virtual Safety Car to neutralise the race – and triggering a charge to the pits, lead by Nico Hulkenberg.

Come the second restart, Magnussen was on the move. Lining up Vandoorne at the line but edging ahead before the VSC ended.

Magnussen did allow the McLaren to move back ahead quickly. But the move was illegal and the stewards penalised Magnussen soon after. Although the penalty issued did not prevent K-Mag from jumping Vandoorne at turn three, teeing up Stroll and Hulkenberg to drop the McLaren on the same lap.

The trio that overtook Vandoorne then set about fighting each other. Leaving Magnussen defending from Stroll as Lance looked for a way ahead, opening the door to Hulkenberg.

As Magnussen swept across the cover Stroll, though, Hulkenberg was forced to tuck back in behind the pair. Seeing no position change hands as they flowed through the opening turns.

With no positions changed, the gaps between them began to stretch out. While further down the road, Kimi Raikkonen was struggling for pace compared to the Force India’s.

Raikkonen - Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen attacks turn 2 at the 2017 Canadian Grand Prix. Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari.

His lack of pace to two drivers aiming for long stints sent Kimi into the pits for a set of supersoft tyres. Triggering Red Bull to respond with Ricciardo and putting the Australian onto a set of soft tyres that would take him to the flag.

Altogether, the pit stop phase triggered by Ferrari promoted Esteban Ocon into third and Fernando Alonso up to fourth place. But with either yet to the pit and the Honda units limitations, Fernando was easy picking for Ricciardo and Raikkonen who breezed by under DRS.

Despite being yet to pit, Ocon’s ultrasoft tyres were holding together so well that he could run faster than Ricciardo on the soft tyres he switched to. Even moving into second place when Valtteri Bottas pulled into the pitlane for his one and only stop of the day. A stop that left the Mercedes chasing Ocon for laps to come.

In all, Ocon was able to keep pushing and pushing for 32 laps until he first truly suffered a loss of traction out of turn two. Yet even that failed to open the door to Bottas, who had to wait until the Force India pitted before he regained second.

Out in front, Hamilton’s time controlling the race ensured he had a free stop over the field when it came to his pit window. Taking on a set of supersoft tyres as those on softs began to struggle for pace.

Despite pitting on lap five for a set of supersofts, though, Vettel’s pace was failing to slow. Leaving Mercedes believing they would be one-stopping, even if race leader Hamilton thought he’d stop again.

In the end, Hamilton proved right as Ferrari soon brought Raikkonen into the pits despite his supersofts being far younger than Vettel’s – who was now setting his personal best pace of the race.

The reason behind the long stints shown was down to a severe lack of degradation. Allowing for Alonso to stay out till lap 42 of 70 on the ultras he started on before his eventual stop pushed the McLaren backwards. Emerging just half a second ahead of Vandoorne, who too was yet to stop and was now being tasked with holding up Stroll to aid Alonso’s race.

Alonso Vandoorne - McLaren

Fernando Alonso leads Stoffel Vandoorne during the Canadian Grand Prix. Photo credit: McLaren.

Vandoorne’s work, though, failed to prevent Stroll from breezing by the Honda-powered McLaren – promoting Canadian Lance Stroll into the pits once Magnussen made his initial stop of the race.

Additionally, Vandoorne’s efforts to hold were in vain as Fernando was later forced to retire from the race when his Honda unit blew. A unit believed to be thirsty, with the possibility it would struggle to finish the race on one tank of fuel.

Regardlessly, the car Alonso left to return to McLaren was now running in 6th place at the hands of Vettel. Just over two seconds off the podium despite his early pit stop sending him down to last place.

Unfortunately, Vettel’s charge on Ocon, Perez and Ricciardo had to wait as he was brought into the pits for one last stop. Falling back behind Raikkonen and away from the podium fight, even though Ferrari believed it would take just 12 laps to re-catch the pack.

 

Meanwhile, a conversation now developed on Sergio Perez’s team-radio with Force India asking the Mexican to allow Ocon through so he could make a move on Ricciardo ahead before the Ferrari’s returned. A potential strategy call that would create a maiden podium for Ocon.

Ricciardo leads Force India - Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo leads Sergio Perez, Kimi Raikkonen and Esteban Ocon during the 2017 Canadian Grand Prix. Photo credit: Red Bull Racing.

Sergio, though, believed he could make a move on the Red Bull once they caught traffic. But as the laps rolled by, the Ferrari’s gained but no move emerged. Allowing Ricciardo to scupper clear and throw away the chance of a greater points haul.

Raikkonen, meanwhile, was gaining at over a second a lap to Ocon with the pitwall encouraging him that the podium was in sight. And it was. Right until Kimi’s Ferrari suffered a break-by-wire failure that sent the Finn straight on at the final chicane and allowing Vettel to move ahead for free.

Kimi’s late brake issue left him losing pace at the rate of six seconds a lap as the team sought a mode change that would ease his pain.

All the while, Perez continued to keep Ocon behind – wasting the youth in the Frenchman’s tyres as Sergio slipped out of Ricciardo’s DRS range.

Without DRS, Ocon looked for a move. Albeit too late to hunt the podium, but a move that would have put a car between himself and Vettel who was now tucked behind the Force India’s gearbox.

Tucking in behind allowed Vettel to sniff a move of his own. And despite going deep at the hairpin, the positions were in sight as Ocon lined Perez at the chicane.

Once more, Perez played hardball and edged Ocon out wide to stay ahead. Hampering the speed of his team-mate as Vettel flicked to the pitwall and fought for control. Darting down the inside at turn one and bouncing to the apex, splitting the Force India’s as Ocon took to the run off to avoid contact.

With one down, the other became the target. Picking up the slipstream and activating DRS down the back straight. Flying ahead to move into fourth place, and leaving the Mexican at the mercy of his team-mate, who lined the move up at the end of the race but Perez covered – drag to the line narrowly kept Perez ahead for fifth

Not long remained, though, and Ocon’s chances to get ahead were reduced. Leaving it all to a do-or-die move at the end of the race. A move Perez covered before a drag to the line that narrowly kept Perez in fifth.

Cla Driver Chassis Engine Gap Points
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 1:33’05.153 25
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Mercedes 19.783 18
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull TAG 35.297 15
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Ferrari 35.907 12
5 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 40.476 10
6 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 40.716 8
7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari 58.632 6
8 Nico Hulkenberg Renault Renault 1’00.374 4
9 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1 lap 2
10 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1 lap 1
11 Jolyon Palmer Renault Renault 1 lap
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1 lap
13 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1 lap
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1 lap
15 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 2 laps
16 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda DNF – Engine
17 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Renault DNF
18 Max Verstappen Red Bull TAG DNF – Battery
19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes DNF – Contact
20 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso Renault DNF – Contact