F1: Lewis Hamilton wins Canadian GP after penalty denies Vettel – live!
- Ferrari driver given crucial five-second penalty
- Email your thoughts to Ben here or tweet @benfisherJ
Another, slightly tamer, soundbite from the Ferrari camp. Charles Leclerc, who crossed the line third, said he had no idea of the chaos involving his team-mate that unfolded in front of him. “I was not told on the radio that Seb had a five-second penalty,” he says. “I just really wanted to try and push because I could see that I was faster than the guys in front.”
The Ferrari team principal, Mattia Binotto, has weighed in with his two-pennies’ worth. “We will calm down, everyone will calm down in a couple of hours,” he says, with a warming smile. “We won today. I think honestly we were the fastest on track today and that is important. Everyone I think believes that there was nothing Sebastian could have done. I don’t think he had any bad intentions at all. He stayed ahead the entire race, he went through the chequered flag, for us he is the winner.” And, rather pertinently, he adds: “The season is not over.”
“One more nail in the coffin of F1,” so-says Retro Duo, via Twitter. A damning statement indeed on the back of that lap 48 drama. Meanwhile, Karl Semkow adds: “IMO, the Formula 1 Stewards make the fairest, most impartial calls of any sports governing body I’ve seen.” A lively finish in Montreal!
Let’s hear from Lewis Hamilton, who looks drained, fed up of talking about the whole shabang. “I am a little bit deflated, really,” the Mercedes driver says. “My team worked so hard to fix the car. Saturday was a really great day, I got out there back on rhythm. Today we had an engine problem, it was like a kick in the nuts but they worked so hard to get the engine back together. Then I had a problem at the start and I wasn’t sure how I would get away. The Ferraris are really quick on the back straight so I knew I had to put him under pressure – and he made a mistake. Ultimately the rules say that when you go off [the track] you have to come on in a safe manner and I had to back out to avoid a collision, so I guess that is why they made a decision. I’m going to re-watch it but all I can say is that I didn’t do anything today – I didn’t do anything to deserve booing – I was just racing my heart out.”
What do we make of it all? “A very harsh penalty that looks bad for F1,” emails Keith Lewis. “Looks like a fix. It was a dangerous incident but Vettell had nowhere to go. Hamilton wisely decided to stay out of trouble. This was a racing incident. The race was stolen from Vettell. A bad day for F1.” Kevin Alway, also via email, adds: “Bad call officials.” An angered Paul Marin goes one step further: “Lewis doesn’t win anything today,” he says. “The stewards gave him the win, and he should be ashamed to accept the win on that way, because Vettel didn’t do anything wrong. Shame to Formula One staff as well as the Mercedes team.”
Sebastian Vettel gives his verdict and, rather damningly, suggests these kind of decisions are hugely damaging to F1. “It is not making our sport popular, is it?” he says. “People want to see us race and that was, I think, racing. I don’t know. I hope the people come back. That is the main thing. They are the reason why we are able to put this show on and build these incredible cars. It is just a shame when we have all these little funny decisions. I think we really deserved to win today, that is our opinion and I think the people’s opinion as well. It is a bit weird now to be honest, I don’t know what else to say.” What a mess, really.
Well, then. That rather bizarre win takes Hamilton 29 points clear at the top of the driver’s championship. Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team principal, admits the five-second penalty awarded to Vettel is a “controversial decision”. Wolff adds: “From a clear regulations point, they have just interpreted what is black and white. If you are a Ferrari fan or someone keen on hard racing, you might want to see more of a bumper-car mentality. The race stewards need to be supported. They have looked at the incident and that needs to be respected. We should not ignite it even more.”
A quick word from a thoroughly deflated Vettel. “The people should not boo Lewis, I don’t think there was any intention of his to be in harm’s way,” he says. “If anything, they should boo these funny decisions.” A sheepish Hamilton says: “All I can say is I did not make the decision.” A numb Vettel adds: “I really enjoyed the race, I enjoyed the crowd cheering me on, especially around the hairpin. With the rest, I think I have said enough, you should ask the people what they think.”
A smattering of boos as Lewis Hamilton uncomfortably lifts the trophy aloft! Vettel is quietly seething up on the podium. The Ferrari driver feels robbed. None of the drivers are too keen on spraying one another with champagne. What a truly odd finish to this 50th Canadian GP! Vettel finds time to congratulate Leclerc.
This is superb stuff, almost slapstick entertainment. Vettel picks up the the No 2 board from where his car should be in parc fermé and puts it in front of Lewis Hamilton’s car, and hoists the No 1 in front of an empty space besides the paddock, where his car should be. The Canadian crowd applaud his humour. They feel aggrieved for their man. At long last, Vettel was persuaded to make his way back towards the podium from the Ferrari compound. The German’s head is bowed, but he is getting a huge ovation from the crowd in Montreal. “Where was I supposed to go?” Vettel sternly asks Hamilton, as they meet in the podium waiting room. A smarting Hamilton just shrugs his shoulders.
Lewis Hamilton is all smiles, despite winning the race in truly bizarre fashion. “That is absolutely not the way I wanted to win but I forced him into an error,” he says of the incident on the exit of turn four. “We nearly collided, it was unfortunate – but that is racing. I took the corner normally but when you come back on the track you are not supposed to go straight back on to the racing line. It was so hot here, the Canadian weather is so hard-core.” Meanwhile, a raging Sebastien Vettel has gone straight into the FIA garage. He is slamming doors, huffing and puffing, and he clearly is desperate to get some answers about what has just happened.
But it is Sebastian Vettel that crosses the line and passes the chequered flag first. A bizarre finish, with the Ferrari slapped with a five-second penalty for “forcing another driver off the track”. A cruel twist in the tail for Vettel, who has effectively led from start to finish after blowing Hamilton away in qualifying. Toto Wolff puffs out his cheeks, Hamilton punches the air – but it is a gutting end for Vettel, who ends up finishing third, behind his Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc. To be clear, Vettel crosses the line first – but that penalty means Hamilton takes victory ahead of him, with Leclerc jumping from third into second on the podium. “That is not the way I wanted to win, I wanted to go past him – but thank you for your confidence,” says Hamilton. As for Vettel, the German, it is fair to say, is fuming. “Seriously, you need to be an absolute blind man to think that you can go from the grass and then control your car – I was lucky I did not hit the wall. Where the hell am I supposed to go? This is unfair. Great crowd, great race. Grazie.”
Lap 69/70: The penultimate lap, then!
Lap 68/70: “Push now,” Vettel is told by Ferrari, but the stewards’ decision to hand him a five-second penalty has killed his chances of victory. Vettel is set to finish the race in first place – but Hamilton will surely take the win.
Lap 67/70: A quick glance at things:
2 Hamilton + 0.8sec
Lap 66/70: Vettel leads Hamilton by 0.6 sec.
Lap 65/70: Vettel leads Hamilton by 0.7sec – but the Ferrari will have to serve a whopping five-second penalty. The Mercedes is in dreamland. Leclerc, on youthful tyres, is 3.4sec behind Hamilton.
Lap 64/70: Vettel’s lead has been cut to a slender 0.9sec. That is not going to be anywhere near enough to win. To make matters worse, Leclerc is whizzing round. He has just set a new fastest lap of 1.14. Vettel could finish third at this rate.
Lap 62/70: The fight at the front of the grid was brewing beautifully – but that five-second penalty might deprive us of any late drama. Vettel is struggling to build the kind of lead he needs to. The Ferrari is two seconds in front of Hamilton, 10sec in front of Leclerc.
Lap 60/70: “Where the hell was I supposed to go?” asks Vettel. “They are stealing the race from us.” The Ferrari driver is absolutely livid. “Stay focused, confident,” is the message back at him down the team radio. Ferrari are powerless to even appeal that five-second penalty, which will be added on to Vettel’s time as soon as he passes through the chequered flag. That penalty seems harsh on Vettel – but Hamilton called for it straightaway. Räikkönen, meanwhile, makes a second stop.
Lap 59/70: “Stay on his gearbox,” is the message from Mercedes to Hamilton. Providing he stays on the tail of Vettel, the Briton has a healthy chance of picking up victory. Hamilton wants more power from his car, but the news that Vettel has been penalised for that collision on lap 48 is the perfect fillip.
Lap 58/70: Well, well, well … Sebastien Vettel has been slapped with a five-second time penalty by the FIA for “unsafe re-entry and forcing another driver off the track”. Hamilton did have to jam his brakes on out of turn four. That is music to the ears of Mercedes, particularly Hamilton. Suddenly Vettel needs to put his foot down and more than triple his lead. “I had nowhere to go, seriously,” Vettel says. The Ferrari is absolutely raging in the cockpit.
Lap 57/70: Vettel leads Hamilton by 1.7sec.
Lap 55/70: Kevin Magnussen, it is fair to say, is moping his way round Montreal. “This is the worst experience I have ever had, in any race car,” says the Haas driver. “It is not a nice experience. Enough means enough.” Hardly a glowing endorsement. Magnussen, who crashed in Q2, meaning his car required a total facelift, is way down in 18th. He is having a torrid time.
Lap 54/70: Vettel has found an extra big of zip from somewhere, extending his lead over Hamilton to 1.5sec. Meanwhile, Bottas sets a new fastest lap.
Lap 53/70: Verstappen is up into fifth, ahead of Ricciardo.
Lap 52/70: Vettel leads Hamilton by 0.8sec.
Lap 51/70: Relentless driving out in front! A tantalising bit of racing between Vettel and Hamilton – and you sense there is still plenty to come yet. These are the kind of fights Hamilton says he relishes.
Lap 49/70: Vettel laps the Toro Rosso of Alex Albon, with Hamilton still in close company. Things are beginning to heat up in Montreal.
Lap 48/70: Vettel goes wide – but the Ferrari gets away with it! A huge error goes unpunished and the German – just about – manages to preserve his lead. The rear wheels did not stick and Hamilton thought he could dive in to steal the lead but Vettel held his nerve. Hamilton argues that the manner in which Vettel rejoined the track – effectively shoving the Mercedes up on the ropes, against the wall at turn four – was dangerous. The stewards are having a nosy at it. It would seem harsh.
Lap 47/70: Stroll comes back out of the pits and stays among the points, ahead of Kvyat to take 10th. Vettel’s lead has been cut to 0.7sec …
Lap 46/70: Hamilton is closing again on Vettel, who has just called in to Ferrari with a moan about something. That is all the initiative Hamilton needs at the moment. The Mercedes is right on the tail of the race leader. Meanwhile Lance Stroll finally pits. On go the medium tyres, having already run the hard tyres.
Lap 45/70: Bottas sets a fastest lap of 1.14.933.
Lap 43/70: “Brake pedal almost on the floor,” shouts Verstappen down the Red Bull team radio. Unfortunately for him, there is a long, long way to go. Just ask Vettel, who has another 27 laps of slogging it out with Hamilton. A gentle reminder that Verstappen and Lance Stroll are the only two drivers yet to stop.
Lap 41/70: That is the second time Hamilton has made a mess of coming out of the hairpin. And Vettel breathes an inaudible sigh of relief. The Ferrari is determined to stretch his legs once more.
Lap 40/70: For the first time, Vettel is feeling the heat. But Hamilton goes wide into turn 10. That was clumsy, locking up a little bit. The Mercedes swiftly undoes some of – but not all of – that hard work. The gap is simply one second.
Lap 39/70: Bottas zooms beyond Ricciardo, and makes the move stick. Bottas is not hanging around. Next up? Closing the gap on Verstappen. Hamilton is really beginning to gain on Vettel, who made a meal of lapping Räikkönen. The Mercedes trails by 0.8sec …
Lap 37/70: Mercedes politely ask Bottas to up the ante. He is closing on the Renault of Ricciardo, too. Vettel is 1.8sec ahead of Hamilton.
Lap 36/70: Vettel leads Hamilton by 2.5secs, with over half the race gone. Leclerc is third, 1.5sec ahead of Verstappen. All to play for!
Lap 34/70: Hamilton sets a lightning fastest lap of 1.15.2. Ricciardo and Bottas, meanwhile, tussle wheel-to-wheel for fifth, but the former clings on to stand his ground. The Mercedes is hungry. Down the grid, Antonio Giovinazzi pits, presumably for a breather as much as anything after a wild couple of laps.
Lap 33/70: In comes Charles Leclerc, allowing Sebastien Vettel to re-gain the lead. Hamilton will jump into second. Leclerc is in and out, but arrives back on the track a little out of touch. Leclerc is fourth, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.
Lap 32/70: Hülkenberg remains seventh but continues to have gearbox issues. He jinks off the track before regaining his position. And Grosjean loses out to Sergio Pérez. Grosjean is not happy about it, asking for race control intervention.
Lap 31/70: Bottas is told to box, and he will jet into the pits. “Are we going long, trying to keep this pace?” asks Leclerc down the team radio. Meanwhile the Alfa Romeo Antonio Giovinazzi veers off the track at turn 1, losing ground in 11th.
Lap 30/70: Vettel sets a new fastest lap of 1.15.333, as Hamilton races out of the pits just in front of his team-mate Bottas. Leclerc, who is yet to pit, is out in front, around 11sec ahead of Vettel. Things are looking rosy for Ferrari.
Lap 29/70: Hamilton fumes down the team radio, slagging off his flailing tyres. He is going to pit ..
Lap 28/70: Hammer time for Hamilton, the new race leader. Leclerc is 2.3sec behind the Mercedes, with Vettel slotting into third. “We are going to extend as much as we can,” Hamilton is told down the team radio. Bottas is fourth.
Lap 27/70: Vettel pits! On go the hard tyres. A 2.7sec stop.
Lap 26/70: Hamilton sounds breathless down the team radio. It is almost 50C out on the track. Whoever takes victory will have to work for it.
Lap 25/70: Who will blink first? Vettel leads Hamilton by 1.6sec. “Push now, push now” Ferrari tell the race leader down the team radio. Lovely stuff.
Lap 24/70: Lance Stroll is having a good time. He started in 17th but is up to eighth. Saying that, he is yet to pit. Meanwhile, trouble in paradise for Hülkenberg? He is having a moan down the team radio. It does not sound good.
Lap 23/70: Hamilton eats into Vettel’s lead, cutting the gap down to 1.7sec. The front three are all operating at a similar, punchy pace. No let-up yet. Bottas has work to do, 16 seconds behind third-placed Leclerc, who is really beginning to motor.
Lap 22/70: A moment ago, the Wall of Champions called Antonio Giovinazzi’s name – but he just got away with shaving his way down a nugget of the chicane. Meanwhile Leclerc has picked up his pace, presumably asked to apply the heat to Hamilton and take the pressure off his Ferrari team-mate Vettel.
Lap 21/70: Verstappen locks up going into the hairpin. He is getting frustrated. Leclerc shouts the words “Plan B” down the team radio. Only he knows what that means.
Lap 19/70: Hamilton locks up in turn 10 and damages his own slow progress. The Mercedes trails Vettel by more than two seconds.
Lap 18/70: Vettel leads Hamilton by 2.052sec. Leclerc, the Ferrari who remains third, has just set a new fastest lap of 1.16.533.
Lap 17/70: The Renault of Nico Hülkenberg is the latest to pit. He comes out behind Ricciardo after a nippy stop. Good work.
Lap 16/70: Fresh from the pits, Ricciardo is determined to get amongst it. The Australian, working with a one-stop strategy, trails his former Red Bull team-mate Verstappen by almost 13secs. But Verstappen is yet to stop. Vettel and Hamilton are on mediums.
Lap 15/70: A quick glance at how things are shaping up:
Lap 14/70: Green flag! Back to full throttle we go.
Lap 12/70: Sebastien Vettel laps back marker Robert Kubica. Norris’s stricken McLaren has been left to rot away from the racing line, off the track. Hamilton is 2.4sec behind the Ferrari race leader.
Lap 10/70: Lando Norris’s race is run! The McLaren youngster drifts into the run-off area, with his rear brakes igniting, setting fire to his rear suspension, effectively melting his hopes of a points finish. A second retirement in three races. The back of his car is sizzling, he jumps out and runs off towards safety. Out come the yellow flags.
Lap 9/70: And Daniel Ricciardo follows suit. On go the hard tyres.
Lap 8/70: Gasly pits, as Red Bull make their first stop of the afternoon. The hard compound tyre goes on. They are seemingly in it for the long haul. A one-stop race surely beckons.
Lap 7/70: Verstappen gets his own back on Lando Norris, with the Red Bull hitting back after a frustrating start. And now Verstappen has Bottas in his sights. Back in the paddock, the Red Bull engineers applaud the 21-year-old’s manoeuvre.
Lap 6/70: Hamilton is getting a little frustrated over the team radio, acutely aware Vettel is already getting away from him. The Ferrari is stretching his legs, 2.076sec to the good.
Lap 5/70: Leclerc sets a new fastest lap. No mucking around.
Lap 4/70: Carlos Sainz flies into the pits, in and out in 3.9secs to switch on to the hard tyres. A premature stop. A replay shows it was Sergio Pérez and Giovinazzi that clattered Alexander Albon a couple of corners in, forcing him into the pits.
Lap 3/70: Hamilton trails Vettel, who has just set a new fastest lap, by almost 2sec. Leclerc is chasing the Mercedes in third, followed by Ricciardo in fourth.
Lap 2/70: Vettel leads Hamilton by 1.2secs. Norris zooms beyond Verstappen down the chicane as two young pretenders go head-to-head after the hairpin bend. A poor start for Red Bull. Albon is down in the pits early on, the meat in the sandwich and the Toro Rosso is relegated to last after losing his front wing.
Hamilton was sluggish away in the formation lap but makes a steady start once the green flag is waved. Hamilton could feel Leclerc up the inside but kept his own racing line. Vettel leads the Canadian GP. Seventy laps to go!
It is absolutely roasting in Montreal, around 30C. We are just a formation lap away from the get go in this 50th Canadian GP. Hamilton could do with it going smoothly. A gentle reminder that Kevin Magnussen starts from the pit lane after a hefty crash in Q2.
Pirelli dish out some race-strategy advice. Just in the nick of time, too. “A one-stopper is fastest for the 70-lap race,” they say, “but there are different options. The quickest way is to start on the medium tyre and then switch to hard after 35-40 laps. The alternative strategy – which is a bit slower – is to start on the soft tyre and then go to the hard after five to eight laps. This obviously commits to an early stop though. A two-stopper is definitely slowest on paper. The optimal two-stopper would be to start on the soft tyre, switch to medium after five laps, do 32 laps on those, then take another set of mediums to the end.”
The screeching Canadian national anthem has been and gone, and Max Verstappen is having a chat down on the grid. “Of course I would prefer to start on the front but this is also a challenge,” he says. “We are still lacking a little bit but the whole team are trying to make improvements.” Verstappen begins in ninth.
Down on the grid, Mercedes are busy bleeding the brakes on Hamilton’s car after ripping it to pieces to solve that hydraulic leak. They are confident it will all be alright on the night. Lando Norris, the McLaren who begins from eighth, says “temperatures are up from normal and it is never good when the Pirellis get hot. It is going to be a challenge but I’m excited.” Norris is one of several umbrella-wielding drivers donning a cooling vest and desperately trying to hide in the shade. There is a track temperature comfortably in excess of 50 degrees. It is extremely sunny out.
Some appetising pre-race Hamilton soundbites. “I hate losing – but you cannot sulk, you have got to move on and be tough,” he says, wearing a Mr T chain necklace. “I hate losing, it doesn’t matter if it’s playing ping pong, the PlayStation, in my races, playing cards – I don’t like losing.” Less than 30 minutes until lights out.
Only Michael Schumacher has a better record in Montreal than Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver is on the hunt for a seventh victory at the Canadian GP, but will have to navigate a way past Vettel, who won this race last season, to do so. “The race is very long, probably a one stop so looking after the tyres is going to be really key. It’s very hard to follow here, even though there’s mainly straights, they are very quick on the straights. But I just hope that we are able to be close and have a real race throughout the race.”
Sebastien Vettel reveals his low-key celebrations after earning his first pole since last July. “I went for dinner, nothing too crazy, in bed early. It is good knowing that nobody is front of you but you just hope that it stays that way. On paper I still have to be aware of the fact that Mercedes are very quick. But we looked strong yesterday for a reason, the car felt good and I believe we can fight.”
Panic over for Lewis Hamilton and co in the paddock: Mercedes discovered his car had a hydraulic leak after qualifying but they diagnosed the source after it left Parc Fermé and have since reassembled all the relevant bits and pieces. It was quite a destruction job by the engineers and mechanics, as they removed the engine and the floor. There is no penalty for Hamilton, though. He will still start from P2. His team-mate Bottas begins in sixth.
1 Vettel 2 Hamilton
3 Leclerc 4 Ricciardo
5 Gasly 6 Bottas
7 Hülkenberg 8 Norris
9 Verstappen 10 Kvyat
11 Sainz Jr 12 Giovinazzi
13 Albon 14 Grosjean
15 Pérez 16 Räikkönen
17 Stroll 18 Russell
19 Kubica 20 Magnussen
It had been a long time coming – almost 12 months, in fact – but Sebastian Vettel is finally back on pole. The German did not just oust Lewis Hamilton into second spot on the grid, he demolished his lap time, earning advantage of 0.206sec – a hefty gap at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, one of the shortest tracks on the calendar. It was only the second time in seven races Mercedes have been beaten to pole – the other by Vettel’s team-mate Charles Leclerc in Bahrain in March. “We have been criticised many times this year – sometimes right, sometimes not right – but that’s how it goes,” Vettel said of the flak Ferrari have taken. “Good result, but we want to confirm it.” In other words, Vettel wants to get the job done before basking too hard, with Mercedes determined to pounce. “I have to stay on his toes, keep the pressure on him, try to push him to make his tyres drop off faster than ours,” said Hamilton, who leads Valtteri Bottas by 17 points in the driver’s championship.
Lights out: 7.10pm (BST)
Source: Formula 1