Vettel strikes back! – Canadian GP 2018

Another sadly unexciting race in Canada. Despite a safety car on the first lap, the race didn’t see many overtakes. However, we did see change in the championship lead.

There was also a bizarre incident when the chequered flag was accidentally waved a lap early by Canadian model Winnie Harlow. FIA later took responsibility for having instructed her incorrectly.

The Top-10:

  1. Sebastian VettelFlawless drive from Seb. He overtook Hamilton in the championship by one point, proving that Ferrari is still very much in the fight.
  2. Valtteri Bottas – Though there was some talk that Bottas’s breaking and engine issues slowed his pace, this was a delightfully even performance from him. Bottas is still within striking distance of the two championship favourites. If Valtteri can finally show his teeth in the next few races, he might actually be a serious contender this year.
  3. Max Verstappen With his second podium, Verstappen can finally breathe a little easier. The abysmal start to the season has robbed him of any real chance of fighting for the championship, but if he can keep his head cool for the rest of the season, he might still fight for a position in the Top-5. Good job, Max!
  4. Daniel Ricciardo – Ricciardo stays on Bottas’s heels on the points. This was a little underwhelming to see after his Monaco domination – but I guess this is the best Red Bull can do on speedy circuits.
  5. Lewis Hamilton – A bit of shocker. Hamilton was experiencing some performance issues which was very rare for him (or Mercedes for that matter). It might be that the three-engine rule for this season is finally paying off, albeit, it would have been more fun to see Hamilton and Vettel fight for the race victory.
  6. Kimi Räikkönen – The Iceman continues his streak of invisible but mostly flawless races.
  7. Nico Hülkenberg – An okay result, Renault weren’t at their best in this race. Even their working at the pit was sluggish as both drivers suffered from slow uncoordinated pitstops.
  8. Carlos Sainz Jr. – Ditto for Sainz.
  9. Esteban Ocon – Ocon has stopped his hibernation and this is his second scoring finish in a row. Force India had a chance for a much better result but unfortunately, Ocon’s team-mate suffered from some rotten luck. Still, it’s nice to see the Pink Panthers are both ready to pick up the slack.
  10. Charles Leclerc – After a disappointing race at his home circuit, Leclerc kept a cool head this round and netted yet another championship point. Albeit, this was entirely due to the misfortune of other drivers, but for a rookie to show this type of consistency is what F1 teams like to see. So for him, this result was better than excellent.

Golden Pineapple Award: Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso

This race was an unmitigated disaster for Toro Rosso. For Gasly, there wasn’t much he could do starting from the second-to-last grid, but it’s still unfortunate he couldn’t catch up to the bottom half of the score-board. Better luck next time!

Drop-out Count: 3

Lance Stroll lost control of his car and crashed himself and Brendon Hartley into the circuit barrier. Stroll’s rotten luck might end up costly for Hartley who is under heavy scrutiny by Toro Rosso (who are seemingly looking to replace him now). I won’t fault either of the drivers for this incident but this really did happen at the worst possible time for Hartley. The crash also led to a safety car session which took the first four laps.

Fernando Alonso suffered his second retirement in a row when McLaren noticed problems with his exhaust mid-race.

Back of the Lot News:

Haas had another disappointing race. Romain Grosjean had to start from the final grid due to his car breaking down in the qualifying but there really is no defending for Kevin Magnussen’s paltry 13th place. Grosjean was 12th.

Perez was pushed off the circuit at one point by Carlos Sainz and wound up behind everyone so his poor result wasn’t a surprise.

Marcus Ericsson pitted during the first safety car and really accomplished nothing (as usual), finishing 15th.

Stoffel Vandoorne’s front-wing was damaged during the first lap and he spent a long time at the pits, falling way behind.

Dead Last: Sergey SirotkinSirotkin is beginning to challenge Hartley for the Dead Last position. It’s true to that Williams are struggling and that the Canadian circuit may not be the best for the team’s car – but if Leclerc is scoring semi-consistently on a car that really shouldn’t be able to do so, I’m beginning to wonder when Sirotkin will start taking his driving duties seriously.