Formula 1 News

Sebastian Vettel's victory overshadowed by tragedy at F1 Canadian Grand Prix

Victory overshadowed by tragedy at Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix

World Champion Sebastian Vettel drove a textbook race in Montreal, adding the Canadian Grand Prix to his burgeoning CV. The North American event has previously eluded the German, with his 2011 defeat in the rain at the hands of McLaren’s Jenson Button all too raw a memory. His win was overshadowed with the tragic news that a trackside marshal was killed in a post-race accident.

After starting from pole, Vettel set about making some more positive memories of the circuit by obliterating his main rivals, including Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, the latter battling his way past Hamilton with less than 10 laps remaining after inexorably clawing his way up the order.

Despite a successful weekend of work for the top three finishers, there was frustration for many other drivers including Mark Webber, who survived several brushes with back markers to cross the line in fourth place. The Australian suffered contact with the Caterham of Giedo Van Der Garde when the Dutchman inexplicably moved across on the Red Bull at the hairpin and shattered the left-hand front wing endplate, earning himself a drive-through penalty before retiring with damage.

Valtteri Bottas had started an excellent third but quickly fell backwards, his race being run frustratingly slower than those around him with his Williams car lacking dry weather pace. Kimi Raikkonen was another to struggle, although the Finn’s ninth place after a low-key race ensured his run of points-scoring finishes dating back to China last April remains unbroken; his teammate Romain Grosjean avoided incident unlike his action-filled Monaco race but only progressed from 22nd on the grid to 13th.

McLaren missed out on points for the first time since Abu Dhabi 2009 with a lackluster performance ending with 11th and 12th places for Sergio Perez and Jenson Button respectively.

Paul Di Resta, on the other hand, enjoyed a meteoric rise through the field from 17th to seventh, running an astonishing 56 laps of the 70 lap race on his set of medium Pirelli tyres to make up for his disastrous qualifying session yesterday. Teammate Adrian Sutil had a more event-filled race, surviving an early spin at the notorious turn 3 only to suffer contact with a late-breaking Pastor Maldonado at the hairpin just two laps later. The Venezuelan was handed a drive-through penalty for his mistake, while Sutil struggled on with rear-wing damage to be struck with a (somewhat harsh) penalty of his own for appearing to be slow to obey blue flags — his day ended with a solitary point for 10th.

The Sauber team was left empty-handed after a double DNF, a rare occurrence in modern Formula One. Nico Hulkenberg retired with suspension damage after contact with the errant Van Der Garde, while Esteban Gutierrez lost control of his car exiting the pits with a mere six laps remaining on the board and speared into the turn 2 tyre wall.

An honorable mention must go to Frenchman Jean Eric Vergne, who hauled his Toro Rosso through the race consistently running competitive laptimes — he finished sixth to take his team’s best result since Vettel won the 2008 Italian Grand Prix in a Toro Rosso.

"I was pushing very hard, especially at the beginning of the race — I had a moment when I hit the wall, but I didn’t feel it; I was trying to get away from the field, as you don’t know what will happen towards the end. It turned out that we could control things in the later stages, but you don’t know that, so I was just trying to push all the time and stay in the rhythm," said Vettel.

"It was good to see that we were quick in all conditions this weekend and had speed in the race. We had average tyre wear, which hasn’t always been the case for us, so we have made a step forward there. It’s nice to win here, as it’s a very special race."

Vettel continues to lead the World Championship points table by a healthy margin with 132 points, while Alonso's podium vaulted him ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and up to second place. Despite a poor showing for the Finn, ninth place finish was enough to secure him the record of the longest unbroken points-scoring streak in F1 history, dating back to last April's Chinese Grand Prix.

Red Bull comfortably leads the battle for laurels in the Constructor's World Championship, ahead of Ferrari and Mercedes.