Starting the Canadian Grand Prix for the third consecutive time from pole Sebastian Vettel broke his and Red Bull’s North American duck by winning the race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.
After yesterdays performance, in which Sebastian maintained the lead through his two stop sequence, despite kissing a wall and missing a corner during the course of the 70 lap race, it is hard to see any serious threat to Sebastian’s claim for a fourth consecutive World Championship victory.
Fernando Alonso, who started 6th, put in a spirited performance to snatch second from Lewis Hamilton in the closing laps. Fernando finished a distant 14 seconds behind the winning Red Bull, but now sits second in the championship table, 36 points in arrears.
Hanging on to third place at the finish, in what seemed to be an uneventful race, Hamilton he was challenged by Alonso, Hamilton started second. It is sobering to think that if Sebastian failed to score in the next two rounds and Lewis won them both the Mercedes Benz driver would still be 5 points adrift of Sebastian.
After losing a front wing end plate while lapping the Caterham of back marker Giedo van der Garde, Mark Webber’s lap times actually improved. He elected not to change the damaged wing during a pit stop in an ultimately and futile effort to keep Alonso behind him, Mark came home a distant fourth.
Van der Garde was given a stop go penalty for his blue flag insolence and later won a five lap grid penalty for the British Grand Prix in three weeks time after running into the back of the Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg which caused both to retire. Caterham urgently need finishes to stand any chance of beating rivals Marrusia to the smallest pot of championship cash at the end of the season.
Nico Rosberg blamed radio issues for not getting the information he needed about his energy recovery (KERS) settings and brake temperatures to claim a fourth consecutive pole position. Starting the race from fourth place, Nico managed to delay but could not stop the charging Alonso from passing and finished the race in a competent fifth place.
Mercedes Benz will be glad to have got on top of their tyre issues since the Spanish Grand Prix. At the time of writing there is still no date set for the hearing with an international tribunal into the teams use of a 2013 car in a tyre test with Pirelli.
Qualifying a better than expected 7th, Ferrari powered Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne marked himself out as a man to watch by finishing sixth, the teams best result since Sebastian Vettel finished fourth in the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix.
Vergne’s team mate Daniel Ricciardo qualified 10th but started 11th after a grid penalty, he finished 2 laps down in 15th place. The pressure will be mounting on Daniel to prove he is better than his French team-mate over the remaining 12 races of the season.
For the second race in succession Force India took the blame for Paul di Resta’s poor 17th place start. Once again Paul pulled a rabbit out of the hat with a points paying finish this time managing 7th, two places better than Monaco, after going a race high 56 laps on his first set of tyres.
Team mate Adrian Sutil finished 10th, blowing a better finish with a spin while attempting to overtake Fin Valtteri Bottas and attracting a drive through penalty for ignoring blue flags when he was being lapped. Force India got two finishes in the points and increased their lead in the constructor’s championship over McLaren.
McLaren continued a disappointing season by ending a run of 64 points paying finishes with an 11th place for Monaco bad boy Sergio Perez who finished one spot ahead of senior team member Jenson Button. The team must be hoping this was the low point of their season as they attempt to beat Force India in the championship, while Jenson must be wondering if he will still be driving for McLaren when the Honda motors arrive in 2015.
A disappointed Kimi Räikkönen made it 24 consecutive points paying finishes in Canada where he came home 9th to equal a record set by Michael Schumacher in 2003. Kimi used a one stop strategy in the race but was plagued by a soft brake pedal that was further compounded by his car dropping off its jack in the pits.
Dropping one place in the championship standings the surprise challenger for the 2013 Championship is going to have to hope his Lotus team can dig far deeper if his championship challenge is to be successfully maintained. Kimi’s team-mate Romain Grosjean sailed under the radar from a 19th place start to a 13th place finish. He is underwhelming Eric Boullier, Lotus Team Principal.
Williams driver Valtteri Bottas was the talk of qualifying after posting a season high third fastest time. The fillip did not last as Valtteri fell towards an eventual 14th when the flag fell. On the longer view though, Bottas impressed the rival teams. It’s generally accepted that he’s far better than his equipment.
Pastor Moldanado in the other Williams qualified a more representative 13th but could only finish 16th. Williams will need to find out why their car performs better in the wet than in the dry and or hope that it’s raining when the flag falls at Silverstone on June 30th, which wouldn’t be a stretch.
The Cosworth powered Marussia of Jules Bianchi finished 17th a lap ahead of the Caterham of Charles Pic who in turn was on the same lap as last place finisher Max Chilton in the second Marrusia.
It is sad to note a volunteer circuit marshal died after succumbing to injuries received in an accident that occurred as the Sauber of Esteban Gutiérez was being returned from the track, where it had retired, to the pit’s after the race had concluded. The marshal has not been named at the time of writing, I am sure you will join me in sending out condolences to his family and friends.