Lewis Hamilton leads a Mercedes 1-2 at the 50th Canadian GP

11 June 2017

Lewis Hamilton leads a Mercedes 1-2 at the 50th Canadian GP and claims his sixth win at the circuit

At the Canadian GP at the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve circuit today, Lewis Hamilton claimed his sixth victory at the circuit on the anniversary of his maiden win in the sport ten years ago and the Circuit’s 50th GP ahead of his team mate Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo in a race that saw a lot of action from start to finish and saw local driver Lance Stroll claim his first ever points in the sport.

Before the start of the race, Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat did not get going from his grid slot. But after the pack had gone around getting ready for the official race start, Kvyat was able to get going but could not start from his qualifying position of eleventh place.

The start of the Canadian GP saw Lewis Hamilton leading into the first corner as Max Verstappen had a blinder of a start and is now in second place. Further down the grid, an incident between Turns 2 and 3 happened between Felipe Massa and Carlos Sainz Jr.

As Sainz Jr lost the rear of the car after making contact with the Haas of Romain Grosjean going into Turn 2. Sainz Jr then collected Massa in the process with both drivers having nowhere to go and having to retire from the race. This incident brought out the Safety Car as both drivers climbed safely out of their cars and both cars can be removed safely and as quickly as possible.

Racing resumed once again on Lap 4 with Sebastian Vettel’s front wing has come off the car following the restart (and pits at the end of Lap 5) as Kimi Raikkonen collects dust off the circuit and loses a place to Sergio Perez as Valtteri Bottas tried to make a move on Verstappen going into Turn 1 and further on down the grid; McLaren-Honda driver Stoffel Vandoorne passes his team mate Fernando Alonso for tenth place.

In the early stages of the GP, Hamilton continued to build a lead over Verstappen as the field settled into a rhythm while also pushing the limits to get the best result possible. Lap 11 saw Verstappen officially retiring from the race with an electrical issue with his battery within the hybrid system of his Red Bull. The Virtual Safety Car was then deployed in order to recover the car from the track safely.

With full racing resumed on Lap 14 with Hamilton leading Bottas by 6 seconds; with the stewards announcing that Kvyat has a drive through penalty for failing to take up his place after the formation lap before the first safety car line as Vandoorne loses two places in quick succession to Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg.

In the first half of the race, Magnussen, Stroll, Kvyat and Hulkenberg were closely racing each other for final points scoring positions; with Magnussen winning the fight, even though he received a five second time penalty for overtaking Stroll under the Virtual Safety Car when Verstappen retired from the race on Lap 11 and Hulkenberg eventually getting past the Danish driver on the final corner on Lap 30 and Kvyat the following lap.

With most of the field making their pitstops between Lap 18-24, the midfield changed rapidly with Ocon, Vettel and Alonso being the most drivers to gain from this (Ocon and Alonso had not get pitted) as Hamilton built up his lead to Ocon (who was being chased by Bottas) which was 26 seconds as he made his pit stop on Lap 32 (as did Ocon) and rejoined the race comfortably in the lead still.

The second half of the race saw Hamilton building up his lead over his team mate at the front of the grid as further down the grid; audiences were glued to how Ocon was quickly catching Raikkonen’s Ferrari and also his team mate while keeping Vettel behind him as well.

Lap 40 sees the stewards announce that Kvyat will be receiving yet another penalty. This time Kvyat received a ten second time penalty added to his race time for failing to get into position on the formation lap before the Safety Car line. This is the first time this has been seen in the sport and left many people wondering why this penalty wasn’t applied earlier in the race.

Raikkonen pitted on Lap 42 and rejoined the race track just before Alonso defensively kept Hulkenberg behind him (despite the fact that he hasn’t pitted yet). However Hulkenberg was able to pass him a lap later as Alonso pits for the first time in the race.

At this stage of the race, attentions shifted to how the Force India pairing of Perez and Ocon were catching Ricciardo (Perez) and Raikkonen (Ocon) as Stroll challenged the McLaren-Honda pairing of Alonso and Vandoorne to get himself into the fight for a possible championship point which was realised when Stroll passed Alonso on Lap 48.

By Lap 52, Hamilton led Bottas by just over 12 seconds and controlling the pace and his tyres at the front of the field. Meanwhile, Ocon at this stage of the race is faster than his team mate Perez and tells his team via the team radio that if he can get past his team mate, he feels he could challenge Ricciardo for the final podium position.

On Kvyat’s final pit stop on Lap 55, the Toro Rosso team brought out the wrong tyres that Kvyat needed for his final stint in the race and then if that wasn’t enough; there is a problem with the Renault engine which sees Kvyat falling right down the grid and into retirement on Lap 58; therefore pushing Alonso into the final point position at this point in the race.

In the latter stages of the race, both Force India drivers are negotiating over the team radio as to which driver has the best chance of getting past Ricciardo for a podium position as they catch the traffic; both of the Ferrari drivers were slowly creeping their way back into contention into the final stages of the Canadian GP into this fight.

But there was twist in the tale and didn’t come from the Force India drivers as everyone expected. It was surprisingly from Raikkonen who made a critical error on Lap 61 into the final corner and handed sixth place to his team mate who then carried on in pursuit of Ocon and Perez.

And if fate wasn’t shining down on Raikkonen, he then was losing his brakes on his Ferrari and asking his engineer for advice on what to do about the situation while trying to keep going and keeping a catching Hulkenberg behind him. In contrast to Raikkonen’s problems, Vettel has now caught the Force India’s of Ocon and Perez with just five laps of the race remaining and trying everything to get past them.

Vettel picked his moment on Lap 66; with the slipstream of Ocon and the DRS system at his disposal managed not to hit Ocon going into the first corner but then a couple of corners later, Vettel carried on into the corner but was able to maintain fifth place.

With two laps to go, Fernando Alonso officially retires from the race with an engine blow out as Vettel in a brilliant move until the final corner passes Perez for fourth place while Perez just about keeps his team mate at bay until the finishing line to finish in fifth place.

But it was Lewis Hamilton who claimed a controlled victory at the Canadian GP, his sixth victory at the circuit and on the tenth anniversary of his maiden win in Formula One. He has now reduced the championship lead to Vettel to just 12 points going into the Baku GP.

Hamilton finished ahead of his team mate Valtteri Bottas in second place who was 19.783 seconds behind him and achieved their first 1-2 finish of the season and ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in a brilliant third place who was 35.297 seconds behind Hamilton.

Sebastian Vettel finished the race in a brilliant fourth place ahead of Sergio Perez in fifth place, Esteban Ocon in sixth place, Kimi Raikkonen in seventh place, Nico Hulkenberg in eighth place, local driver Lance Stroll in a stunning ninth place (and becomes the first Canadian driver who has scored points at the event since Jacques Villeneuve) and Romain Grosjean who rounded off the top ten finishers.

Jolyon Palmer finished the race in eleventh place ahead of Kevin Magnussen in twelfth place, Marcus Ericsson in thirteenth place, Stoffel Vandoorne in fourteenth place and Pascal Wehrlein in fifteenth place.

Fernando Alonso, Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen, Felipe Massa and Carlos Sainz Jr did not finish the race

The classification of the Canadian GP is as follows:-

1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1.33:05.154
2. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 19.783s
3. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull-TAG Heuer, 35.297s
4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 35.907s
5. Sergio Perez, Force India-Mercedes, 40.476s
6. Esteban Ocon, Force India-Mercedes, 58.632s
7. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1 lap
8. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1 lap
9. Lance Stroll, Williams-Mercedes, 1 lap
10. Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, 1 lap
11. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 22.737s
12. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, 1 lap
13. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber-Ferrari, 1 lap
14. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren-Honda, 1 lap
15. Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber-Ferrari, 2 laps
16. Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Honda, 4 laps
17. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Not Classified
18. Max Verstappen, Red-Bull-TAG Heuer, Not Classified
19. Felipe Massa, Williams-Mercedes, Not Classified
20. Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, Not Classified

Sebastian Vettel leads the 2017 Formula One Drivers Championship with 141 points, Lewis Hamilton is in second place with 129 points, Valtteri Bottas is third with 93 points, Kimi Raikkonen is fourth with 73 points, Daniel Ricciardo is fifth with 67 points, Max Verstappen is sixth with 45 points, Sergio Perez is seventh with 44 points, Esteban Ocon is eighth with 27 points, Carlos Sainz Jr is ninth with 25 points, Felipe Massa is tenth with 20 points, Nico Hulkenberg is eleventh with 18 points, Romain Grosjean is twelfth with 10 points, Kevin Magnussen is thirteenth with 5 points, Pascal Wehrlein is fourteenth with 4 points, Daniil Kvyat is fifteenth with 4 points and Lance Stroll is sixteenth with 2 points.

Mercedes leads the Constructors Championship with 222 points, Ferrari are second with 214 points, Red Bull is third with 112 points, Force India are fourth with 71 points, Toro Rosso are fifth with 29 points, Williams are sixth with 22 points, Renault are seventh with 18 points, Haas are eighth with 15 points and Sauber are eighth with 4 points.

Sarah Jones- @jonesy_laaa