Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

maanantai 11. kesäkuuta 2018

Canadian GP: Super Sebastian took his 50th career win!

After two rather boring and action-lacking races I looked forward to the Canadian GP with huge anticipation. The track of Ile Notre-Dame has been the venue of some great races in the previous years. The start of the race was definitely electrifying. Sebastian took a fantastic start from pole and held on to his lead. Verstappen, who started to the race on the pink-walled hyper-softs, did everything to challenge the Mercedes ace Bottas for the second place. However, the Finn had done his homework well. For a moment they were going side by side, and their wheels even touched a little. But Bottas was determined to keep his second place, so Max had no choice but to settle for third. On the other hand, Kimi's start left a lot to hope for. His drive into Turn 1 was everything but aggressive, and Red Bull's Ricciardo managed to make it past the Iceman, snatching P5 from the Finn. Further back in the pack Williams' Stroll lost control of his FW41, crashing into Toro Rosso's Hartley in high speed. Debris was flying all over, and both drivers were out of the race. Not a very convincing performance from Stroll in front of his home crowd! So safety car was deployed already on the opening lap.

The re-start took place on lap 4, and the order of the top six remained unchanged. Sebastian started to bang fastest lap times one after the other, increasing the gap to Bottas. On lap 11 the gap was already 3.5s. Verstappen, on the other hand, seemed unable to match Bottas' pace. The Dutchman was already over 5 seconds behind the Finn. Hamilton and Verstappen were the first top drivers to make their pit stop on lap 17. Both opted for the red-marked super-soft compound. Ricciardo pitted on the following lap, for a similar tyre choice. The Australian benefitted from the overcut and re-joined the track in P5, ahead of Hamilton. Hamilton had been struggling with his pace, having reported on the team radio that he was missing power. The team managed to improve the situation by making changes to the cooling system during the Briton's pit stop.

Kimi pitted not until on lap 33. The Iceman, too, opted for the hardest compound available for the weekend. Unfortunately Kimi re-joined the track in P6, right behind Hamilton. At this point the race leader Sebastian was already 6 seconds adrift from Bottas. The Finn pitted on lap 37, and Sebastian came in a lap later. No surprises in terms of the tyre choice; both re-joined the track on the super-soft Pirellis. Sebastian's gap to Bottas was still almost 5 seconds. Verstappen was third, Ricciardo fourth, Hamilton fifth and Kimi sixth.

There were no thrilling turns at the end of the race. There was a close call for Bottas on lap 56, when he was lapping Renault's Sainz. Bottas took it to the grass and lost a few seconds there, but Verstappen wasn't close enough to benefit from the Finn's mistake. Hamilton managed to close the gap to Ricciardo, making it into DRS distance from the Australian. But Hamilton's driving was a bit tame, definitely no party mode this time. Hamilton seemed utterly unable to attack the Red Bull ace. Towards the closing stages of the race, Verstappen also managed to get closer to Bottas, who had to save fuel. But not even Max's aggressive driving style helped him to try a move on the Finn.

There was a bizarre episode in terms of the chequered flag. The super model, who was in charge of waving the flag, waved it a lap too early! The race leader Sebastian pointed it out on the team radio as well. Due to waving the chequered flag too early, Ricciardo's fastest lap time, made on the final lap, was excluded, and the honour of the fastest lap time went to teammate Verstappen, who had set it on the second last lap. Although there hadn't been exciting or wheel-banging battles for positions in the Canadian GP, I didn't mind, as Sebastian was leading the race from the start to the chequered flag! It was absolutely fantastic to see Sebastian take the third win of the season, 50th of his career. And this was the first win in Canada taken by a Ferrari driver since 2004! So it was about time to see the Red Team win again! By winning the Canadian GP, Sebastian also snatched the lead in the drivers' championship standings! It was heart-warming to see Sebastian celebrating the victory after the race. It clearly meant a lot to him.

Bottas finished the runner-up, after driving a strong and impressive race. Verstappen completed the podium, which made me very happy as well. Max really deserved the podium finish after such a mistake-filled first third of the season. He drove a mature race and really delivered this time! Teammate Ricciardo finished fourth, ahead of Hamilton and Kimi. Renault duo of Hulkenberg and Sainz finished 7th and 8th respectively. Force India's Ocon and Sauber's Leclerc completed the top ten. This was definitely a strong performance from the Monegasque again!

The battle for the championship is getting heated. Sebastian's lead to Hamilton is now one point only! Thanks to his excellent P2, Bottas moved third in the championship standings, being 35 points down on Sebastian. Mercedes still have the lead in the constructors' standings. They have 206 points to Ferrari's 189. I'm so delighted, that the summer will be filled with Formula 1 action, as there will be 6 races in 8 weeks! Hopefully many more wins to come for Sebastian and Kimi!

P.S. It was funny to see, how Sebastian wanted to learn more about the Finnish language at the post-race press conference. The Finnish F1 journalist Heikki Kulta asked Bottas, if it was "eating the man" (which is a Finnish expression of feeling gutted) to finish 2nd for the fourth time this season instead of winning a race. Sebastian, who was sitting next to Valtteri, wanted to know what this expression "eating the man" meant. First Valtteri tried to explain it in other words but then he used the Finnish word "vituttaa" (which is a swearing word), which Sebastian immediately understood! :D It was quite a hilarious episode!

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