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Canadian GP: Vettel eases to 50th F1 win in Montreal

Written by  Jun 12, 2018

Sebastian Vettel strolled to his 50th win in Formula 1 as the Ferrari driver led every lap of the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday.

The German was unchallenged throughout the 70 laps after building up a comfortable margin in the opening stint and saw an attempted late charge by Valtteri Bottas falter after the Finn made a mistake trying to lap the Renault of Carlos Sainz.

That push would actually see the Mercedes driver low on fuel in the closing laps and allowed Max Verstappen to quickly close for second place, ultimately, Bottas would hold on with the race actually being called two laps early after the chequered flag was waved prematurely.

In a processional race, the only driver to make progress in the top six was Daniel Ricciardo as the Australian used his Hypersoft tyres to pass Kimi Raikkonen at the start before producing an overcut on Lewis Hamilton in the pit-stop phase with a strong in-lap and also benefitting from a small mistake by the Briton.

Indeed, it was another off-day for the world champion as he was forced to stop early due to temporary drops in power from his engine and the eventual fifth-place finish marked his worst finish in Montreal other than retirement.

Kimi Raikkonen almost managed the same strategy as Ricciardo of staying out longer than Hamilton and coming out in front, but would just fail to do so having to settle for sixth in his Ferrari.

The battle for 'best of the rest' saw Esteban Ocon get ahead of Nico Hulkenberg at the start in his Force India but a slow pit-stop due to a problem with the rear jack cost the Frenchman valuable seconds.

It would promote Hulkenberg back up into the seventh place that he started in with Renault teammate Sainz also taking advantage to claim eighth.

Ocon would have to accept P9 with Charles Leclerc taking advantage of a big first lap crash between Brendon Hartley and Lance Stroll to score his third points result in four races in P10 for Sauber.

That incident on Lap 1 saw Stroll and Hartley collide through the high-speed Turn 5 with the Toro Rosso driver mounting the barrier on the outside and almost turning over before landing and joining the hometown favourite in the barrier at Turn 6.

Hartley would be taken to the hospital for checks after appearing to bang his head against the Halo during the accident but was later discharged with no injuries.

The only other retirement from the race would be Fernando Alonso as an exhaust issue on his McLaren forced him back to the garage on an unhappy 300th Grand Prix weekend.

Outside the top 10, Pierre Gasly and Romain Grosjean came close to making up for disappointing qualifying positions but would just miss out on points in P11 and P12 respectively.

Sergio Perez was involved in contact with Sainz when the race resumed after the Lap 1 Safety Car which dropped the Mexican several positions and led him to call for a black flag for the Spaniard.

The stewards disagreed and a two-stop strategy then wouldn't work in Checo's favour as he only managed 13th.

Kevin Magnussen and Marcus Ericsson followed with Stoffel Vandoorne and Sergey Sirotkin enduring a torrid race as they completed the finishing order.

At the front though, it was all smiles for Vettel who reclaimed the lead in the Drivers' Championship by a single point from Hamilton as the season reached its third-way point.

With a new Mercedes engine and the same thinner-treaded tyres as used in Barcelona coming for the next race, which sees F1 return to France for the first time since 2008, the Briton might just fancy his chances of an immediate response.

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