Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dominant Performance for Vettel's First Canadian GP Win

Photo Credit: Pirelli Photo Service

Competing in his sixth full season in Formula 1, Germany's Sebastian Vettel has claimed three championships and 28 race wins heading into the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix event weekend. However, with all of the success Vettel has enjoyed in a career that has recently crossed 100 starts, he was denied victory at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. That was until this year's running of the Grand Prix of Canada.

From the pole, the 2013 edition of the race was dominated by the German Red Bull Racing driver. Sebastian Vettel utilized dry racing conditions and a solid start over the Mercedes AMG car of Lewis Hamilton to sail into an immediate lead. The #1 Red Bull-Renault conceded the lead of the race for only two pit stops quickly replacing himself at the top of the field on both occasions.

Photo credit: Pirelli Photo Service

While the polesitter of the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix circulated precisely with no immediate pressure, the top-five was very much active. After mustering a hard-fought third-fastest time in the Q3 time trial session, Valtteri Bottas found it difficult to keep his Williams-Renault at the front during race conditions. Tire degradation and a drive-through penalty for an incident with Force India's Adrian Sutil had Bottas settling for 14th place. The second Williams-Renault driven by Pastor Maldonado also suffered from a lack of grip on softer tires. Unable to find the speed of other teams, Maldonado was relegated to a 16th place finish. The Williams F1 Team still lacks a 2013 constructor point after seven completed races.

Lewis Hamilton handily operated in the second place position in the Mercedes AMG car. Though unable to catch Vettel, Hamilton would have the challenge of Fernando Alonso's Ferrari as the race progressed.

The second Red Bull Racing entry of Mark Webber had podium contending speed for much of the Canadian Grand Prix. Itching to be at least on the podium with teammate Sebastian Vettel, Webber's efforts were impeded during the midpoint of the 70-lap race. A minor collision in the infamous Circuit Gilles Villeneuve hairpin with the Caterham-Renault of Giedo van der Garde damaged the front wing of Mark Webber's Red Bull-Renault. The incident resulted in a penalty against van der Garde (who later retired from the grand prix) and Webber's car being hindered. Able to survive the race without needing to make an emergency stop to repair the damage to his race car, Mark Webber carried on to finish a distant fourth place. In a surreal development for the tough and challenging race track, only three cars would be classified as out of the Canadian Grand Prix.

After 70 laps, the checkered flag for the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix flew for the Red Bull-Renault of Sebastian Vettel. Despite finishing 14.4 seconds in the lead without a major foe forcing him to defend his position, Vettel's win was not mistake-free effort. In lap 10 and lap 52, the German make minor bobbles requiring him to hold on tightly to his Red Bull-Renault. Nonetheless, Sebastian Vettel was not to be denied his 29th career Formula 1 race win. Claiming his first career Canadian Grand Prix victory, Vettel has won 18 distinct grand prix events.

Photo Credit: Pirelli Photo Service

For second place, a fierce fight between Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso decided the order of the remaining two spots on the race's podium. Near the end, Alonso's Ferrari was fast enough to close a 10-second gap. On the late laps, it was Fernando Alonso who triumphed over the Mercedes driver. A valuable second-place honour for the Spaniard, Alonso takes second spot in the Formula 1 drivers' standings from Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen. However, with the leader of the points standing winning the Canadian Grand Prix, the deficient over Vettel grows by seven points. After the Montreal race, Sebastian Vettel at a 36-point advantage.

Despite losing second place, Hamilton was content with the third-place effort. "It would have been nice to have kept second place of course but Fernando was very quick today and it was difficult to keep him behind. I got close to taking the place back but he was just that little bit too fast." said Hamilton in post-race comments. Lewis Hamilton's finish in addition to a fifth-place result for Nico Rosberg gave the Mercedes GP team a solid third place in the constructers' points standing closing to within 11 points to Ferrari.

Photo Credit: Pirelli Photo Service

While rookie Bottas suffered a massive backslide through the course of the Canadian Grand Prix, the veterans were able to thrust their way into the top-10 finishers. Having topped the leaderboard in a wet practice session on Friday, the Force India-Mercedes of Paul di Resta climbed from a lackluster qualifying effort of 17th place. Netting a seventh result, the effort for di Resta and Force India was aided greatly by a one-pit stop strategy after starting on medium compound tires. Starting 16th, the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa sealed a double-point race for the Italian team. While Red Bull Racing is pulling away in the constructors' points, Alonso and Massa scoring points minimized Ferrari's loss to five markers.   

It was a disappointing outing for the McLaren-Mercedes race cars. The winning team of the previous three Canadian Grand Prix events, McLaren's Sergio Perez and Jenson Button was no where near the race contender of earlier years. In fact, with an 11th place finish for Perez and a 12th place result for Button, the McLaren-Mercedes cars were unable to score a single point. Heading to Silverstone, McLaren will want to greatly remove their fortunes in front of what is considered a hometown crowd for the 50-year old motorsport organization.

Set for June 30th, the British Grand Prix comes with a brief recovery period for drivers and a window for car development for teams.

2013 Formula 1
Canadian Grand Prix
Race Results

Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine

1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault
2 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari
3 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
4 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Renault
5 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
6 18 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari
7 14 Paul di Resta Force India Mercedes-Benz
8 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari Ferrari
9 7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Renault
10 15 Adrian Sutil Force India Mercedes-Benz
11 6 Sergio Perez McLaren Mercedes-Benz
12 5 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes-Benz
13 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault
14 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams F1 Renault
15 19 Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari
16 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams F1 Renault
17 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia Cosworth
18 20 Charles Pic Caterham Renault
19 23 Max Chilton Marussia Cosworth
20 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber Ferrari
21 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber Ferrari
22 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham Renault

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