Formula 1 | 5 Things We Learned from the Canadian GP 2017

 

By James Malleson

  • Lewis Hamilton comfortably wins Canada Grand Prix
  • Sebastian Vettel fights back to finish in 4th position
MONTREAL, CANADA – The 7th race of the season finished with Mercedes dominating from start to finish, and Lewis Hamilton‘s Championship dreams are back on as he slashed Sebastian Vettel‘s lead.

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Lewis Hamilton Back to Winning Ways

Lewis Hamilton was back to his imperious best as he fended off his rivals to claim his sixth win in Canada. From the start, the Brit dominated as he raced into the lead from pole position. His lead was helped by the fact that Sebastian Vettel was left in trouble at the start. Hamilton’s closest rival after the completion of one lap was Max Verstappen. By lap nine, Hamilton was 3.1 seconds ahead of Verstappen who was in turn 1.92 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas. A lap later and the Brit continued his impressive pace, leading Verstappen by four seconds.

However, an unfortunate retirement by the Dutch driver meant Hamilton was left on his own out in front with a clear 6.6 seconds between himself and closest challenger – Bottas. With a clear advantage, it was Hamilton’s turn to pit which occurred on lap 25, where a change from ultra soft to soft tyres ensued.

The three-time world champion improved on his time and by lap 52 was 12 seconds ahead of Bottas. It was now evident if it wasn’t already that no one was going to spoil his party. He eventually crossed the line by a comfortable 20 seconds from his nearest threat.

While this was a day of trouble for others, Hamilton thrived and with it took the top step of the podium in a place where only one outcome was ever going to happen – a win for the Brit. This was much needed and boosts his overall title chances heading into the rest of the campaign.

 

Sebastian Vettel Struggles at the Start but Fights Back

Whilst the day belonged to Hamilton, Vettel managed to recover from a rocky start to finish in an impressive fourth place. He started the race from pole position but was overtaken at the start by a number of cars. By lap 4 the damage had already been done. Damage to his car and damage to his championship title hopes. The front wing was clipped by Verstappen early on meaning by lap 5 the German had no option but to pit to replace the crucial element.

Vettel emerged down in 13th place but here he would not settle for he is a four-time world champion and by lap 22 had worked his way up to eighth place after overtaking the impressive Lance Stroll. He continued to overtake and by lap 35 had moved up to seventh place. With Kimi Raikkonen pitting on lap 42, Vettel took this opportunity and moved up to 6th. By lap 48 Vettel passed Esteban Ocon to move to fifth and then moved ahead of Sergio Perez.

The chequered flag arrived for the German as he crossed the line in a very impressive fourth place, considering his poor start. This result allowed Hamilton to battle back and exert more pressure on Vettel’s championship hopes.

 

Force India: A Force to be Reckoned With

Perez and Ocon did extremely well and certainly did their reputation no harm at all, with a fifth and sixth place finish respectively. Perez started on the grid from eighth position and Ocon from ninth place and as they moved through the gears the kept the pressure on the cars around them. By lap 21 Ocon was into third place albeit with a pit stop less than his surroundings.

By lap 32 the impressive Ocon pitted for a change of tyres, which would later aid him in the race. As lap 40 arrived with just over half the race left Ocon was still standing in a comfortable 6th place and Perez in an even better fourth. The two Force India cars managed to hold off both Ferraris for a good portion of the latter stages, but alas it did not last as Vettel managed to pass Ocon on lap 67 and then Perez shortly after.

While Ocon and Perez are not aiming for the championship title, they achieved a brilliant result here and nothing should be taken away from them.

 

Disappointment for Max Verstappen

Verstappen had high hopes coming into the race but the young driver, unfortunately, failed to finish. The Dutchman started the grid in fifth place and got off to a scintillating start, moving through the pack and successfully navigating his way through Raikkonen and Bottas and around the outside of Vettel to take him into second place.

He continued to stay in second by the fourth lap, as the safety car was deployed. But sadly his race ended prematurely, as his car stopped on the track by lap 11. Verstappen retired from the race due to an electrical fault, after a very promising start. It was a bitter pill to swallow for Verstappen, but I am sure he will pick himself up and compete well again in the next race.

 

How Did the Rest Fare?

There were five retirements in the race as chaos ensued at the start. Carlos Sainz collided with Romain Grosjean on the straight between Turns Two and Three meaning Fernando Alonso had no option but to drive on the grass to avoid the situation. This brought the deployment of the first safety car.

Bottas had a good race as he benefited from Verstappen’s early retirement. He swept home in a comfortable second place. Daniel Ricciardo also had a good race finishing in 3rd quite comfortably too in the end. Stroll picked up some impressive points through some brilliant driving for Canada in Canada. He managed to hold off the late threat of Alonso in the closing stages of the race who would have been disappointed himself as he had to retire with two laps remaining.

 

Driver of the Day

Lewis Hamilton

 

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix takes place between 23-25 June.

 

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