Race: Hamilton wins as stewards ‘steal’ P1 from Vettel

Michelle Foster

Lewis Hamilton wins as stewards 'steal' P1 from Sebastian Vettel

Lewis Hamilton secured his fifth win of 2019, and his record-equalling seventh in Canada, as the stewards hit Sebastian Vettel with a 5s penalty for his antics in their battle.

There was drama in the build-up to the Montreal race as Mercedes discovered a hydraulic leak on Hamilton’s W10 and spent two hours before having to leave for the grid fixing the car. That, though, did little to slow the Brit.

As one of the warmest Canadian GPs to date got underway, the track temperature up to 51’C, pole sitter Vettel made a flying start while the Mercedes driver slotted into second.

It was Vettel, switched to “Plan B” by Ferrari, who held the advantage for much of the race with it looking – at least from laps 1 to lap 40 – that he would race to the victory ahead of the championship leader.

Hamilton and Mercedes, though, were by no means done.

The Brit had the better pace on the hard tyres and came back from a somewhat perplexing decision not to pit him immediately after Vettel, allowing the gap to grow to almost five second, to reducing it to a second with 25 laps to go.

With the gap less than a second and DRS in play, Hamilton dogged Vettel before making a move on the German. Vettel made a mistake and ran off the track before pushing Hamilton rather close to the wall. The stewards announced they would investigate.

With DRS not longer in effect, Hamilton began to fall back from Vettel but the story still had another chapter as Vettel was hit with a five-second penalty for unsafe rejoining.

Told about the penalty, Vettel responded to Ferrari: “I had nowhere to go. Seriously, I had nowhere to go. They are stealing the race from us.”

Vettel took the chequered flag ahead of Hamilton but only by 1.2s meaning the Brit claimed the race win and extended his lead in the Drivers’ Championship.

Charles Leclerc had a rather lonely afternoon in third place. It never once looked as if he would challenge for the win despite at one stage being five seconds behind Vettel. However, the last of the top three to pit, he lost ground and had to settle for P3.

Behind him Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen fought over fourth place. The duo, who started P6 and 9 respectively, both had to battle traffic with Verstappen having an early tussle with Lando Norris.

That saw Verstappen pass Norris, Norris pass Verstappen, Verstappen pass Norris. Laps later Norris was out of the game the McLaren rookie’s MCL34 suffered a melted suspension forcing him to retire. He pulled off into the pit lane exit with his right rear at an angle and flames coming from the brakes.

Verstappen was the last of the top 10 to pit, relinquishing any hope of taking fourth off Bottas as he dropped to seventh and had to fight his way past the Renaults to finish P5.

Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg were sixth and seventh ahead of Pierre Gasly. Although Gasly started fifth, Red Bull’s call to pit him early meant he spent almost 20 laps trailing the late-stopping Lance Stroll, costing him time and positions.

Stroll was P9 ahead of Daniil Kvyat, who made a late move on Carlos Sainz to take the final point.

Kvyat’s team-mate Alexander Albon was the last retirement of the race. He was initially the meat in the sandwich in the only lap 1 drama when he was squeezed between a SportPesa Racing Point and an Alfa Romeo and required a new front wing. His first wing met Romain Grosjean’s Halo! He would later retire.

As the chequered flag fell…
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1.342s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 6.038s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 51.043s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 58.764s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1 LAP
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1 LAP
8 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 1 LAP
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1 LAP
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1 LAP
11 Carlos Sainz McLaren 1 LAP
12 Sergio Perez Racing Point 1 LAP
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 1 LAP
14 Romain Grosjean Haas 1 LAP
15 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1 LAP
16 George Russell Williams 2 LAPS
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas 2 LAPS
18 Robert Kubica Williams 3 LAPS
Did not finish
Alexander Albon Toro Rosso
Lando Norris McLaren brakes

And after the penalty…
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 3.658s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 4.696s

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