Sebastian Vettel stormed to a dominant win at the 2013 Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon. The German claimed his first ever win at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in emphatic style, finishing 14.4s ahead of the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso. Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton finished third, 1.5s behind Alonso, to complete the podium line-up.
Vettel's team mate, Mark Webber, fought long and hard with Alonso and Webber but eventually managed only fourth. It was, nevertheless, an excellent result for the Milton Keynes outfit. Monaco Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg brought his Mercedes home in fifth, with Jean-Eric Vergne and Paul di Resta driving superb races for Toro Rosso and Force India, respectively, to finish ahead of the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa. Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen and di Resta's team mate, Adrian Sutil, rounded out the top ten, in a Canadian Grand Prix that stayed dry and sunny all the way through.
For the full race results and timesheets click here.
The win takes Vettel to 132 points in the race for the drivers' title. Alonso moves past Raikkonen into second but is still a daunting 36 points behind his rival. The Finn, a former world champion with Ferrari, has 88 points. Hamilton's strong finish moves him closer to the top three; the British driver is now only 11 points behind Raikkonen. Webber, Rosberg and Massa are fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.
In the race for the constructor's title, Red Bull's 1-4 finish moves them to 201 points. Alonso's brilliant second place means Ferrari retain second despite being outscored by Mercedes in this race. Lotus-Renault, Force India and McLaren retain their fourth, fifth and sixth places.
2013 Canadian Grand Prix
Cold weather and persistent rainfall characterised the first two days of this race weekend, with practice sessions on Friday and Saturday designated "wet" at times by the race organisers. Fortunately though, the race itself was run in perfect conditions - blue skies and lots of sunshine.
Vettel made an excellent start from pole position, moving smoothly into a lead he would only relinquish during pit stops... and that too only for very brief periods. All eyes, though, were on Williams' Valtteri Bottas. The Finn took full advantage of rain, a damp track and changing weather conditions during qualifying on Saturday to place himself third on the starting grid. However, would the Williams manage to keep the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull behind it on a dry track? One suspected not... and so it proved to be.
Bottas was swiftly dropped by Rosberg, Webber and Alonso into sixth place and the race began in earnest. At the front of the race Vettel was pulling out nearly six-tenths of a second per lap over Hamilton; by lap five the German's lead was 3.8s.
Meanwhile, down the grid Bottas was proving to be a problem for several of the drivers. The Williams clearly had no real dry race pace and it was being picked off by a train of cars, one of whom Force India's Adrian Sutil. Unfortunately, the British driver spun trying to find a way past and although he (miraculously) avoided collision, he dropped to 13th, losing a place to Massa in the process.
The second Ferrari had started in 16th after a disastrous qualifying that saw the Brazilian slam the car into the barriers on the outside of the third corner, bringing a temporary red flag out. On Sunday though, Massa was in inspired form. He was nigh unstoppable coming up from the bottom of the grid and his eighth place finish was no more than he deserved.
By Lap 16 Vettel was in the pits, switching to the medium Pirelli tyres. Alonso came in the next lap; Rosberg and Webber had pitted one lap earlier. All the leading drivers, with the exception of Rosberg and Massa, were now on the prime compounds. Hamilton had temporary race lead but he too came into the pits for fresh medium tyres on Lap 20... and Vettel was back in front.
On Lap 24 Vettel had a 13.7s lead over Hamilton and by this time the race was really only for second place and beyond. Webber, Rosberg and Alonso were engaged in an enthralling battle for third and the Red Bull and the Ferrari finally managed to muscle their way past. That prompted the German to dive into the pits for new tyres - the medium compound this time.
Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen, who started the race second in the championship standings, saw an already bad day become much worse, when he was lapped by leader and championship rival Vettel on Lap 34. A short while later Alonso took Webber for third and set off in pursuit of Hamilton.
Alonso came into the pits on Lap 48 to take on his final set of medium tyres. Hamilton came in a lap later, as did Vettel. And after they came out it was a straight fight between Alonso and Hamilton for second place. The Spaniard was flying by this point and on Lap 54 he set a new fastest lap of the race to close to within 3.4s.
Hamilton had earlier informed his team that he'd lost the DRS in both zones, meaning he was vulnerable to an overtaking move down the long back straight. On Lap 63, Alonso made a pass down the outside of the hairpin but Hamilton defended. The former stayed as close as possible down the straight and across the final chicane, to use the DRS down into the first corner and he was away. There was a brief moment the following lap, when a previous mistake by Alonso allowed Hamilton the chance to re-take second. Fortunately for Ferrari fans, the door remained shut.
And while all this was happening, out in front Vettel was running away with the win. There was a brief moment a few laps earlier when he ran wide at the first chicane. A lack of concentration, maybe? His race engineer was quickly on the radio with a wake-up call though. There were to be no final lap fumbles from the race leader though, with Vettel completing the win as expected to take his third win of the season.
The 2013 Formula 1 world championship will next travel to Silverstone, for the British Grand Prix on 30 June.
For the complete points standings for the drivers' championship, click here.
For the complete points standings for the constructors' championship, click here.