Winner and Losers: Canadian GP

Monday 10th June 2013

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Winner and Losers: Canadian GP

Winner and Losers: Canadian GP

Vettel broke Red Bull's North American duck by scoring a dominant win - despite excursions, delays and diversions...

Star of the Race
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1st
Vettel did put a foot wrong in Montreal - two feet wrong in fact - but cruised to an easy win. His slamming of the wall on the exit of Turn 4 and the over-run of Turn 1, (where he got stranded on the inside of the corner and had to find the carefully placed exit) were uncharacteristic blemishes in a dominant win. He could have won by so much more, he lost a lot of time behind backmarkers. He lost three seconds in the Turn 1 excursion and exactly that amount of time getting held up by Raikkonen and Bottas on Lap 34.

Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 6 & 34, Valtteri Bottas, Williams
Unusually this is an overtaking move that didn't result in a pass. Bottas managed to get through Turns 3 and 4 alongside two cars that were trying to overtake him and kept the place both times, and kept his car intact. It was supreme car control under a lot of pressure, in a place where over the years there has been so much grief and so many front wings removed. Sutil tried it on Lap 6 and after Bottas had just been overtaken by Vergne he obviously thought he had to toughen up. Sutil was clearly surprised to have that level of resistance and did the most elegant of 360-degree spins while watching 'Bottas's train' roar past on the grass. Adrian went from P8 to P14 in one pirouette.

Later on, Kimi Raikkonen made it Finn vs Finn on Lap 34, oblivious of the fact that they had the leader of the race behind them.

Ultimately Bottas finished in a disappointing 14th place, but he certainly gained everyone's attention on Saturday and braved it out as much as he could in the race. Getting passed by Mark Webber away from the line was a collectors' item.

Winners
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 2nd
Alonso put in his usual dogged shift at the office, hounding Webber and Hamilton, carefully finding out where the best combination of DRS, KERS and fuel boost could get him past the cars in front. After the race there was really no need to add the snide comment that he was racing against 'intelligent drivers' today - he was battling it out with two friends who both had little to gain by a potential collision. You wonder if Hamilton thought the same when Alonso braked unusually early for the final chicane and got gently nerfed by the Mercedes.

Had we chanced upon a Safety Car in the final stint, something that Esteban Gutierrez did his best to bring about, we might have had an interesting finale. Alonso had a lot of pace and turned quite a few fastest laps towards the end. As it was, the crashed Sauber only brought about waved yellows and an unforeseeable and tragic accident involving a race marshal.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 3rd
Hamilton did all he could to hang onto second place today and almost managed it. Had Mark Webber kept his front wing intact then he probably could have held on to 2nd with the Aussie as a buffer. Still, there were a lot of positives. The tyres didn't crumble, he beat his team-mate for a change and was a massive 54 seconds down the road from Rosberg at the line. Asked how he was feeling, a downbeat Lewis said he was "mellow". Mellow is not the emotion you have after hurtling around an island track at speeds of up to 320kph. 'Mellow' is the new sulky.

Mark Webber, Red Bull, 4th
Webbo was desperately unlucky not to finish on the podium in Canada. The incident with van der Garde was one of the most stupid you can imagine. The Caterham driver already had Vettel and Hamilton past him and so should have been expecting more candidates to appear in his mirrors. And it's not like the Red Bull came at him out of a low cloudbase, this was the long run to the Casino hairpin. Without a fully working front wing Mark could only rely on short-term measures to keep Alonso at bay and had to bow to the inevitable.

Nico Rosberg. Mercedes, 5th
After he lost third place to Webber and fourth to Alonso, Rosberg either threw in the towel or was saving fuel and tyres just in case there was a Safety Car to close up the chasm of a gap that opened between himself and fourth place. Then he flat-spotted a tyre and Mercedes used the equally big space behind him to make a precautionary stop. The gaps around Rosberg were reminiscent of old school F1 where you could come in for a pit-stop in fifth place and leave in fifth place. Even before half distance.

Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, 6th
A fantastic and earned result for "Jev" who inherited no places from incidents, accidents and retirements. The Frenchman qualified well, raced strongly and scored his best result in F1.

Paul Di Resta, Force India, 7th
What is it with us Brits right now? We've got moany Jenson, 'mellow' Lewis and whiney Paul. Di Resta had another startling go at his team on Saturday for stranding him in Q1 for the second time. On Sunday he put that all behind him and drove the most phenomenal race for P7. When Mark Webber set the fastest lap (so far) on Lap 32, a 1:18.375 (on his second set of tyres), Di Resta was putting in a 1:19.9 on 32-lap-old tyres and made them last till Lap 56. Pirelli really should make them a bit more degradable.

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 8th
Felipe lost it in qualifying with another driver error, but atoned with an adventurous afternoon making some big moves, none of which involved the barriers. His first lap dice with Maldonado almost ended in grief and it would have been interesting to see a cardiogram of his engineer Rob Smedley linked up to the onboard camera. Few people have worked harder for an 8th place.

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, 9th
The Lotus team suffered from the reduced dry running before the race. Kimi lacked brakes in Canada and in Montreal that's what you need. However he did manage to equal Michael Schumacher's record of 24 grands prix in the points, a thought that will no doubt thrill him on the long flight home.

Adrian Sutil, Force India, 10th
Sutil had a blast at the blue flag system after losing 8th place courtesy of his drive-through penalty for holding up Hamilton. There was so much of it going on that you wonder why there weren't more. It was an afternoon that had promised so much, but could have ended up with a lot less. The sudden disappearance of that 'wobbly' rear wing, struck by Maldonado on Lap 6, might have taken him to new places had it taken leave of the car on the long back straight or into the casino hairpin.

Losers
McLaren, 11th and 12th
Around Tuesday after each GP I get the chirpy post-race e.mail from the Mclaren team putting some gloss on the positives that they took from the race weekend. This time round it's going to be a challenge finding any - after 5th place in the constructors' table moved further away and 7th place moved closer. They lost their run of consecutive points finishes and made poor strategy choices throughout. All in front of Checo's North American fanclub.

Giedo van der Garde
Although guilty of the massive Webber blunder, the incident that ended his race was an odd one. The accident with Hulkenberg into the final chicane had shades of Hamilton vs Kobayashi at Spa going up the hill into Les Combes, when Lewis passed Kobayashi and then moved over to take the racing line only to find the Japanese driver had stuck his front wing there (for what purpose no-one knows). The difference here presumably was that van der Garde was being lapped and should have done more to get out of the way.

Safety Car
With F1's usual 20/20 hindsight there will be questions asked of Race Director Charlie Whiting as to why he didn't deploy the Safety Car to recover Gutierrez's Sauber. The speed at which the marshals were required to recover the car is likely to have contributed to the fatal accident (detailed elsewhere on PF1). There have now been three marshals killed since 2000 - while there have been no driver fatalities in F1. It's a stark reminder that when the double waved yellows come out that drivers do really need to pay serious attention.

Andrew Davies

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