Starting from pole, Vettel led away at the start of the Canadian Grand Prix and was never headed as he controlled the race from lights to flag. He finished over seven seconds clear of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas. It was Ferrari’s first win in Montreal since 2004 and a win that helped Sebastian snatch the lead in the 2018 driver standings.
Max Verstappen topped all three practice sessions on Friday and Saturday but only managed to qualify third behind Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas. Vettel claimed the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve’s outright track record with a drive that landed him pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix. Meanwhile title rival Lewis Hamilton, who many had tipped as favorite for pole, had to content himself with fourth.
The German had a perfect start on race day; he maintained the lead in a chaotic opening lap that saw the race getting neutralized. Lance Stroll felt he had a puncture and lost control of his car. He and Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley collided spectacularly, sparking a safety car period. Vettel had no trouble fending off Bottas and Verstappen as he quickly proceeded to pull out a gap.
PU issues troubled reigning world champion, Lewis Hamilton, who was forced to pit early to apply a fix to what transpired to be a problem with cooling. It worked but it but the Briton in a strategic disadvantage; he lost out on P4 when Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who had beaten Kimi Raikkonen to P5, made his stop.
The closing stages of the race saw Bottas’ challenge for the lead fizzle out after a mistake at Turn 1. He then had to focus on keeping the fast Verstappen at bay. Meanwhile, Hamilton attacked Ricciardo until the chequered flag, but he didn’t deal with traffic as well as Ricciardo and ultimately had to settle for fifth.
Sebastian Vettel took the chequered flag, turned a 14-point deficit to Hamilton into a one-point lead, and helped Ferrari regain the momentum in the championship battle as they closed the gap to leaders Mercedes to 17 points heading to the next race in France.