Records were matched and bro­ken, as Hamilton steered clear of trou­ble to serenely con­vert pole to vic­tory in an in­ci­dent-strewn Canadian Grand Prix



Af­ter the dis­ap­point­ment of Monaco, Lewis Hamilton made a re­turn to form in Canada, with an ut­terly dom­i­nant week­end. A bril­liant pole lap on Satur­day, equalling the 65 poles of his hero Ayr­ton Senna, was fol­lowed by a lights-to-flag vic­tory on Sun­day – his sixth win from ten starts at the Cir­cuit Gilles Vil­leneuve.

He com­fort­ably led all 70 laps, set the fastest lap of the race and fin­ished nearly 20 sec­onds ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Valt­teri Bot­tas, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo P3. And with Se­bas­tian Vet­tel run­ning into trou­ble, Lewis halved his deficit to the Fer­rari’s driver, re­duc­ing the gap from 25 to 12 points.


ALL EYES WERE on the rook­ies, but nei­ther the Wil­liams of lo­cal boy Lance Stroll nor McLaren’s Stof­fel Van­doorne could es­cape Q1. The lat­ter bruised the side of his McLaren when he swiped the con­crete wall on the exit of Turn 7. He was be­hind Stroll, then put in a lap to net 15th and de­mote Stroll to the drop zone.

Their fate was sealed when Pas­cal Wehrlein lost con­trol of his Sauber while brak­ing for Turn 1 and hit the bar­ri­ers back­wards. The re­sul­tant yel­low flags meant no one could im­prove their time and Stroll and Van­doorne were out of Q1.

The Toro Ros­sos made it into Q2, but suf­fered prob­lems in the next qual­i­fy­ing pe­riod. Car­los Sainz made the same mis­take as Wehrlein, spin­ning at Turn 1 when he put his right-rear wheel on the grass, while his team-mate Daniil Kvyat was less for­tu­nate, clat­ter­ing into the wall on the exit of Turn 9 and suf­fer­ing a right-rear punc­ture af­ter dam­ag­ing his wheel.

Vet­tel was the first to set a time in the fi­nal seg­ment of qual­i­fy­ing but, be­hind him, Hamilton was record­ing pur­ple sec­tors and cir­cu­lat­ing faster. As he stopped the clocks with a 1m 11.791s lap, the crowd roared with de­light.

Hamilton’s sec­ond run was even bet­ter than his first. It was one of those mag­i­cal laps that had ev­ery­one spell­bound. The 1m 11.459s lap was the fastest ever recorded here and wor­thy of equalling Ayr­ton Senna’s record of 65 poles.


FROM THE OFF, there was drama in the race and it all hap­pened be­hind Hamilton, who led from the start. Fifth-on-the-grid Max Ver­stap­pen launched his Red Bull be­tween Kimi Räikkö­nen’s Fer­rari and Bot­tas’s Mercedes and braked late on the out­side as the field be­gan to turn left for the first cor­ner. Vet­tel was aware that Bot­tas had locked up on his in­side, but he was pin­cered by Ver­stap­pen on his out­side. As Ver­stap­pen turned in, his left-rear wheel snapped off part of the front wing of Vet­tel’s Fer­rari.

As the field en­tered the right-left kink of Turns 3 and 4, Ro­main Gros­jean’s Haas tan­gled with Sainz, send­ing the Toro Rosso spin­ning and wip­ing out Felipe Massa who was just turn­ing into the cor­ner when he was struck from be­hind. The Wil­liams was out on the spot, while Sainz was buried in the tyre wall. Cue the Safety Car.

On the restart, Ver­stap­pen chal­lenged Hamilton into the fi­nal cor­ner, but was eas­ily re­pelled. It was the clos­est that any­one would get to Lewis for the rest of the af­ter­noon. On his 11th lap, Ver­stap­pen’s strong start came to noth­ing. He pulled off to the side when, ac­cord­ing to Red Bull team boss Chris­tian Horner, he suf­fered a “shut­down of all elec­tri­cal power”.

Bot­tas in­her­ited sec­ond, Ricciardo third and both ran to the flag when they made early stops to change to the soft tyre. Mean­while, Fer­rari de­cided to bring in both Räikkö­nen and Vet­tel for sec­ond stops in a bid to over­haul the Force In­dias run­ning ahead of them. “You think we will get them [the Force In­dias] at the end?” asked Vet­tel. “Yes,” re­sponded his en­gi­neer Ric­cardo Adami. “Eight laps from the end…”

Ser­gio Pérez, P4 be­hind Ricciardo, was on tyres 13 laps older than those of his frus­trated team-mate Este­ban Ocon, who was snap­ping at his heels. Ocon be­lieved he was bet­ter placed to at­tack and pass Ricciardo for P3. Force In­dia gave Pérez the hurry-up and threat­ened to swap po­si­tions, but he steadfastly held on: “Let us race, please,” he said over the team ra­dio.

As the end drew near, the faster Fer­raris hunted down the Force In­dias, and Vet­tel’s cause was helped on lap 59 when Räikkö­nen ran wide at the fi­nal chi­cane to hand him P6. Vet­tel pounced six laps from the end, pass­ing Ocon into Turn 1, then pass­ing Pérez with four laps to go. Ocon had one last at­tempt, on the fi­nal lap, to pass his team-mate Pérez for fourth, but to no avail. “This is not fair guys,” he said on the team ra­dio, adding: “We’ll dis­cuss this in the de­brief…”

Points were a just re­ward for Lance Stroll, the lo­cal boy who has had such a dif­fi­cult start to his grand prix ca­reer. He stayed out of trou­ble at his home cir­cuit to claim two points for ninth.

The Force In­dias fought hard be­hind Ricciardo, but lost out to Vet­tel’s Fer­rari

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