REPORT: Hamilton cruise to victory in Montreal

Lewis Hamilton ran a lonely race upfront on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to win his sixth Canadian Grand Prix and slash the lead of main rival Sebastian Vettel to 12 points in the drivers championship. Team mate Valtteri  Bottas completed a one-two finish for the Silver Arrows with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo securing a podium place for the third consecutive race.

Vettel who started steadily in the front row, had his race hampered when the second Red Bull of Max Verstappen took away part of his front wing. The German fought his way up from the back to finish fourth ahead of the two Force Indias, Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon who finished fifth and sixth respectively.

Kimi Raikkonen saw the chequered flag in seventh followed by Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg. Williams’ Lance Stroll scored his first points in Formula One at his home grand prix with Haas’ Romain Grosjean taking the last point in tenth.

Hamilton, who equalled his hero Ayrton Senna with his 65th pole (joint second in the all-time chart) got a perfect get away but the real drama happened behind the Briton.

Max Vertsappen who started in P5 on the grid, found grip early to weave his way to an impressive second place by the first corner. This ambitious move compromised the race of Vettel whose front wing was damaged by the Dutchman. 

Behind the Ferrari-Red Bull tango came the bigger chaos. Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz got kicked by Romain Grosjean, the Spaniard’s STR12 spun and hit the rear of Felipe Massa who was minding his own business. Sainz ended up in the barriers, taking him and the Williams out of the race, the safety car was thrown in.

The championship leader pitted after lap five to have his front wing fixed and take a new set of supersoft tyres. He fell to 18th place and with his blistering pace overtook several cars to get into the points. The most spectacular came after his second stop for ultrasoft. Vettel benefitted from teammate Raikkonen running wide at the last chicane before chasing down the Force India’s.

The pink panthers made a mess of team orders after Perez declined to let Ocon who had the pace pass and possibly figth Ricciardo for the final podium spot. Vettel came into their window in lap 66 driving like a man possessed. In a three abreast overtake situation, Ocon ran wide and was passed by the Ferrari, Perez would be caught in the penultimate lap the German.

Race leader Hamilton and team mate Bottas cared very little about what happening behind them. The Mercs split the their strategies with Bottas stopping in lap 23 for the softs while the Briton stayed out until nine laps later before taking the red marked supersofts.

Outside the points, Renault’s Jolyon Palmer finished 11 ahead of former team mate Kevin Magnussen in the second Haas. Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson came home in 13th followed by McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne. Pascal Wehrlein started the race from the pit lane due to gear box and rear wing changes, the German was last to see the chequered flag.

Max Verstappen’s early heroics ended in disappointment after a battery problem brought him to a halt in lap 11. Daniil Kvyat was slapped with a drive-through penalty for failing to regain position before safety car line on the formation lap. Race stewards confirmed a wrong penalty issuance later gave a 10-seconds penalty instead. But the Russian would retire with a brake problem.

Fernando Alonso was  running well for his first point until his Honda powered MCL32 engine failed with two laps to go.

Mercedes overtake Ferrari on constructors’ championship standings  with 222 points, 8 more than the Italian team. Red Bull and Force India stay third and fourth respectively followed by Toro Rosso, Williams, Renault, Haas and Sauber. McLaren still await their first point of 2017.


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