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Canadian GP: Third Time Lucky For Vettel

Sunday 9th June 2013

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Canadian GP: Third Time Lucky For Vettel

Canadian GP: Third Time Lucky For Vettel

Sebastian Vettel finally followed up on a Canadian GP pole position with the race victory, dominating Sunday's 70-lap grand prix.

The Red Bull racer started from pole position for the third time at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. However, unlike in previous seasons, this Sunday he secured his first Canadian GP win. He took the chequered flag 14.4s ahead of Championship rival Fernando Alonso while lapping everyone up to the fifth-placed driver.

Lewis Hamilton kept Alonso's Ferrari at bay until Lap 63, while Mark Webber brought his RB9 home in fourth place despite a damaged front wing courtesy of an errant Caterham

Race Report
Despite the gloomy forecasts of a showery race day, Montreal was in bright sunshine, with just a few scudding clouds and only a 40% chance of rain. The ambient temperature was 23C and the track up at a dizzying 29C.

As qualifying had been run with Intermediate tyres the grid had a free choice of Pirellis for the race. The front of the grid went for the SuperSoft tyres while Di Resta, Perez and Grosjean opted for the medium tyre - and possibly a one-stop race.

Grid:1. Vettel, 2. Hamilton, 3.Bottas, 4.Rosberg, 5.Webber, 6.Alonso, 7.Vergne, 8.Sutil, 9.Hulkenberg, 10.Raikkonen, 11.Ricciardo, 12.Perez 13.Maldonado 14.Button, 15.Gutierrez, 16.Massa, 17.Di Resta, 18.Pic, 19.Bianchi 20.Chilton, 21.van der Garde, 22 Grosjean

As the lights went out everyone got off the line well with Nico Rosberg going one side of Bottas and Webber going the other into Turn 1. Alonso tried to follow through on the way down to Turn 3 but Bottas managed to fend him off on the first lap till the final chicane

Positions at the end of Lap 1
1.Vettel, 2. Hamilton, 3.Rosberg, 4.Webber, 5.Alonso, 6.Bottas, 7.Vergne, 8.Sutil, 9.Ricciardo, 10.Raikkonen, 11.Hulkenberg, 12.Perez 13.Maldonado 14.Massa, 15.Button

By Lap 2 Vettel had already established a 2.8 second gap, by Lap 3 it was a 3.2 second lead, and by Lap 4 it was up to 3.8 seconds.

With higher downforce settings Bottas had developed a train of cars and on Lap 6 Jean-Eric Vergne managed to get past the engine driver. Next up was Adrian Sutil and as they ran down to Turns 3 and 4 Sutil tried to get up the inside of Bottas. The Williams driver - whose target was to get into the points, didn't want to give up so many places so quickly. He held his line as the Force India spun and executed a 360-degree spin without hitting anything - the following train of cars all nipped through on the grass down to P13 Massa.

Pastor Maldonado compounded Sutil's difficulties by braking late into the Casino hairpin and hitting the back of the Force India losing large chunks of wing and making Sutil's rear wing at risk for the rest of the race.

Felipe Massa continued his charge from P16 on the grid and on Lap 8 he managed to get past Perez. By Lap 10 he was past Hulkenberg into P10. At the same time, cameras were showing replays of Vettel hitting the wall at the exit of Turn 5 in his efforts to open up a gap. By Lap 11 it was 6.5 seconds and a lap later it was 7.4 seconds.

Mark Webber was the first of the frontrunners to pit at the end of Lap 13. A lap later and Rosberg was in along with Bottas. Vettel pitted at the end of Lap 16 together with Alonso. Webber kept station behind Rosberg after the pit-stops, and Alonso dropped to 4.8 seconds behind the Red Bull after his stop. Lewis Hamilton concluded the set of stops on Lap 19.

Positions on Lap 20
1.Vettel, 2. Hamilton, 3.Rosberg, 4.Webber, 5.Alonso, 6.Raikkonen (not stopped), 7.Vergne, 8.Di Resta (not stopped), 9.Grosjean (not stopped), 10.Button (not stopped) 11. Sutil, 12.Massa, 13.Bottas

When it all shook out Vettel had an 11.6 gap at the front, while Lewis Hamilton had 3.7 seconds on Nico Rosberg.

With cars in front not stopping, Felipe Massa found himself back in P12 and behind a stubbornly resisting Adrian Sutil who kept the Ferrari at bay despite the double DRS of the back straight and the start/finish straight. The duel continued from Lap 22 through 23, 24, 25 and 26 - the Force India delaying what seemed inevitable.

There was another close battle developing between P3, P4 and P5 as Nico Rosberg started to hold up Mark Webber allowing Fernando Alonso to close in. On Lap 26 Rosberg braked so early for the final chicane that it delayed Webber and almost allowed Alonso to get the jump on Mark in the following straight.

Up in front, by Lap 29 Vettel had a massive lead of 16.9 seconds, with Hamilton a further 8.7 seconds in front of Rosberg with Webber 0.2 back and Alonso 0.2 behind him.

Finally on Lap 30 Mark Webber got almost alongside Rosberg on the exit of the Casino hairpin, so that when the DRS became active on the back straight he was close enough to make an easy pass. Alonso followed him through on the following straight and was up to P4 on Lap 31. Rosberg pitted.

Such was the pace of the front five that Rosberg could pit from fifth place before half distance and exit still in P5.

Mark Webber wanted to lose the pesky persistent Ferrari behind him and break the DRS gap. On Lap 32 he set a fastest lap at 1:18.375. Compare that to the 1:19.916 that Paul DiResta put in on 32-lap-old tyres - the Scot had still not stopped!

We had some Finn vs Finn action on Lap 34 as Kimi Raikkonen ran side by side with Bottas through Turn 3 and survived. This was all done right in front of Sebastian Vettel who lost three seconds from his lead that lap as a result of having to follow cars that weren't seemingly shown the blue flag. At the same time Lewis Hamilton reported over team radio that his DRS wing had stopped working in both zones.

Positions on Lap 34
1.Vettel, 2. Hamilton, 3.Webber, 4.Alonso, 5.Rosberg, 6.Vergne, 7.Di Resta (not stopped), 8.Grosjean (not stopped), 9.Sutil, 10.Massa, 11.Perez, 12.Bottas, 13.Raikkonen

Fernando Alonso started to push on Lap 36 and reset the Fastest Lap. He was 2.0 behind Mark Webber who came upon the dawdling Caterham of Giedo van der Garde at the Casino hairpin who swung out wide as though he were going to let Webber through. He then cut across him and ripped the front wing endplate off the Red Bull. It deserved more than the drive-through penalty that van der Garde got, if the blue flag had indeed been shown to the Dutchman.

Alonso saw this as his chance to take P3 and on Lap 37 set another Fastest Lap a 1:18.009 which was almost matched by Webber with a 1:18.075. It was all go. Mark Webber set a Fastest Lap on Lap 38 with a 1:17.934 and Alonso responded with a 1:17.844.

Vettel got in on the act on Lap 39 with a 1:17.795 and Alonso edged under it with a 1:17.726.At this stage of the race, the notorious car breaker of the Canadian GP had no retirements and no Safety Car appearance. Vettel had a lead of 16.4 seconds, Hamilton had 7.4 seconds over Webber who had Alonso 0.5 in arrears. Rosberg was now a massive 27.4 seconds behind in P5 and on Lap 39 Di Resta had still not pitted.

With his front wing damaged, Mark Webber couldn't resist Alonso forever and by Lap 41 Fernando worked a strategy of KERS and DRS to get past the Red Bull into Turn 1. He didn't reel Hamilton in automatically and by Lap 45 the gap had gone out to 8.9 seconds.

Vettel was enjoying himself at the front setting Fastest laps on Laps 42, 46 and 47.

Hulkenberg and van der Garde then contrived an accident at the end of the backstraight with the Sauber driver passing the Caterham and then moving over on him too much in the braking zone for the final chicane and braking the Caterham front wing and ruining the Sauber's suspension in the process. Van der Garde dragged his front wing round the circuit for half a lap before stopping. Hulkenberg parked up in the Turn 3 escape road. The first two retirements of the race.

Between Laps 46 and 49 all the front runners came in for their final stops:
Positions on Lap 50
1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Alonso, 4.Webber, 5.Rosberg, 6.Vergne (one stop) 7.Di Resta (not stopped), 8.Sutil, 9.Raikkonen (one stop), 10.Grosjean (one stop) 11.Massa, 12.Perez, 13.Button (one stop).

Vettel had an unassailable lead of 18.4 seconds, but Hamilton was just 5.7 in front of Alonso. Vettel lost three seconds of that lead by running straight on at Turn 1 and rejoining the track via the tarmac road.

The gap between Alonso and Hamilton came down steadily: 5.7, 4.6, 3.9, 3.4, 2.7, 1.9 and on Lap 56 the gap was just 1.4 seconds. What Hamilton didn't need was a succession of backmarkers failing to get out of his way - the worst offender being Adrian Sutil who was shown multiple blue flags and got a drive-through penalty for his troubles, demoting him from P8 to P10.

Paul DiResta finally pitted on Lap 56 but could do nothing about the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne who was able to make a pit-stop in response and keep in front of the Force India driver.

Alonso finally closed down and passed a dogged Hamilton on Lap 63. By this stage they had both shaken off Mark Webber who was soldiering on with a broken wing - it went unchanged when he had his second pit-stop on Lap 46. Despite the pass, Hamilton stayed on Alonso's tail within the DRS zone and was so close on Lap 64 that when Alonso braked early for the final chicane (the Rosberg manoeuvre of earlier) , the Mercedes slightly nerfed the Ferrari and lost an element off the front wing. Alonso then pulled away.

Raikkonen had gone for a one-stop strategy and had been lapped early on. At the close he was caught by two-stopping Felipe Massa on fresher tyres and had to surrender his P8 to the Brazilian. Massa had been stymied for a while because the DRS had been disabled. Double waved yellows covered the extraction of Gutierrez's Sauber after it went straight on into the tyre barriers at the exit of the pitlane at Turn 2. When DRS was enabled Massa was soon past.

There was a flurry of Fastest Laps on the penultimate lap as Alonso stayed just 1.6 seconds in front of Hamilton. He put in a 1:16.203 that was beaten by Mark Webber's 1:16.182, but he was not threatening Lewis's P3.

Ahead of them, Sebastian Vettel sailed across the line to give Red Bull their first win in North America, with Alonso and Hamilton making it three World Champions on the podium and none in the champions' wall. Webber was an unlucky P4 and Rosberg a colossal distance back - 43.9 seconds after a precautionary third pitstop - in P5.

Jean-Eric Vergne scored his best finish with P6 and Paul Di Resta achieved an amazing P7. Massa had an adventurous afternoon to finish P8 while Raikkonen in P9 equalled Michael Schumacher's record of 24 consecutive points finishes. Adrian Sutil took P10 despite the drive-through.

Valtteri Bottas could only manage P14 from his P3 grid position and was not obliged to swim in the Montreal lake, as he had promised if he scored a point.

FH

Times
01 Vettel Red Bull 1h32:09.143
02 Alonso Ferrari +14.408
03 Hamilton Mercedes +15.942
04 Webber Red Bull +25.731
05 Rosberg Mercedes +1:09.725
06 Vergne Toro Rosso +1 lap
07 Di Resta Force India +1 lap
08 Massa Ferrari +1 lap
09 Raikkonen Lotus +1 lap
10 Sutil Force India +1 lap
11 Perez McLaren +1 lap
12 Button McLaren +1 lap
13 Grosjean Lotus +1 lap
14 Bottas Williams +1 lap
15 Ricciardo Toro Rosso +2 laps
16 Maldonado Williams +2 laps
17 Bianchi Marussia +2 laps
18 Pic Caterham +2 laps
19 Chilton Marussia +3 laps
20 Gutierrez Sauber +7 laps
Did Not Finish
Hulkenberg Sauber 46
van der Garde Caterham 44

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