Canadian GP: Lewis Hamilton's victory cuts Sebastian Vettel's title lead
Dominant Hamilton heads Mercedes one-two by 20 seconds; Vettel recovers to fourth; Alonso robbed of point by engine failure
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 12/06/17 7:20am
Lewis Hamilton has cut Sebastian Vettel's world championship lead to 12 points with a dominant victory in the Canadian GP.
Hamilton led from start to finish, delivering a masterclass of frontrunning to secure his sixth victory at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and finish almost 20 seconds clear of team-mate Valtteri Bottas and the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.
"There were no troubles today, it was a beautiful Sunday drive," said Hamilton. "It's always a great feeling to deliver and to have it all under control is always an amazing feeling."
But Hamilton's serenity was in sharp contrast to the drama which unfolded behind his Mercedes as Vettel finished fourth after bravely gaining three positions in the final five laps, capitalising on in-fighting at Force India and a brake failure for Kimi Raikkonen.
Lance Stroll scored his first points in F1 as the Canadian youngster claimed ninth for Williams at his home race while, once again, Fernando Alonso was let down by his Honda engine while running in the points before the Spaniard made new friends by jumping into the Montreal crowd.
Alonso's retirement means McLaren remain without a single point this term amid ongoing speculation they are on the verge of divorcing their struggling engine partners.
Drama from the start
All eyes were on the pole-sitting Hamilton and Vettel, starting alongside the Mercedes on the front row, at the start. But it was Max Verstappen who then stole the limelight as the Red Bull youngster dived up the inside of the Ferrari to leap from fifth to second. The two cars made contact as the Red Bull snuck ahead, Verstappen clipping the front-wing of Vettel's Ferrari and instantly destabilising the SF70-H.
The damage forced Vettel into an early stop and a two-stop strategy while Verstappen's surge would be cruelly curtailed by a battery failure that left the teenager banging his steering wheel in frustration.
The world championship leader re-emerged from the pits in just 18th and quickly set about climbing back through the field in his wounded car.
Ricciardo and the Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez were the initial beneficiaries of Ferrari's trouble but an inspired decision to pit Vettel with 20 laps remaining set the stage for a grandstand finish.
Raikkonen's brake issue spared the Scuderia an awkward call as Vettel closed in on a four-car train headed by Ricciardo. If Vettel had been unlucky at the start, his good luck was the ruinous intra-team squabbles of the Force Indias behind Ricciardo, with Ocon convinced he was faster than Perez and the Mexican utterly unwilling to yield his position.
The upshot had an air of inevitability as Vettel closed in and then pounced, launching a gutsy move into the first corner after Ocon had failed to make a move on his team-mate stick, slithering up the inside and forcing the startled French youngster off track.
Perez, unprotected and running on older tyres than Ocon, was a sitting duck to the charging Ferrari on the penultimate lap, capping a fine recovery drive by the world championship leader to limit his loss to the victorious Hamilton to just 13 points.
Hamilton makes it look easy
After the emotion of his Saturday pole position matching the record of his boyhood idol Ayrton Senna, race day found Hamilton cool, calm and collected. And utterly dominant.
The faultless Englishman didn't put a wheel off line throughout the race, running the ultrasofts for over 25 laps on his first stint and building up a comfortable ten-second lead by halfway. Such was his superiority that Hamilton was heard frequently asking for updates over team radio on Vettel's progress and admitted afterwards that his mind even drifted off into recollections of his maiden F1 victory in Montreal ten years ago.
For the world champions, it was the perfect tonic to their disappointing showing in Monaco two weeks ago and vindication of the subsequent around-the-clock work at Mercedes' Brackley base to fine-tune their difficult 'diva' W08. On this evidence, it's a car which is high maintenance but worth the aggravation.
"The team has been working 24/7 the last 10 days, we've had triple shifts in the simulator. Everywhere in the company you could come in in the middle of the night and there would be people working," said a Toto Wolff.
Hamilton, too, had proved his worth to propel Mercedes back in front of Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship.
"Hamilton? [He's worth] every cent," added the relieved Mercedes boss.
Canadian GP Race Result
1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:33.05.153
2. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, +19.783
3. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, +35.297
4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +35.907
5. Sergio Perez, Force India, +40.476
6. Esteban Ocon, Force India, +40.716
7. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +58.632
8. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, +60.374
9. Lance Stroll, Williams, +1 lap
10. Romain Grosjean, Haas, +1 lap
11. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, +1 lap
12. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, +1 lap
13. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, +1 lap
14. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, +1 lap
15. Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber, +2 laps
DNF Fernando Alonso, McLaren; DNF Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso; DNF Max Verstappen, Red Bull;DNF Felipe Massa, Williams; DNF Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso
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