The Canadian Grand Prix was one of four current Formula One races that Sebastian Vettel had not won. The Red Bull Racing driver laid that ghost to rest in emphatic style, completely dominating in Montreal from lights-out to chequered flag.
He finished over 14 seconds clear of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari, who rose from sixth on the grid to second, having deposed Lewis Hamilton in the last ten laps. Having started second, Hamilton had to settle for third, his third such finish for Mercedes this season.
Starting from pole, Vettel comfortably held off Hamilton into Turn One, and instantly set about building a lead. By lap 17, when he made his first pit stop, he was seven seconds clear of the field. But it was in the second stint he really pushed on: by lap 30 he had 19 seconds in hand and was cruising.
In fact, the greatest danger to Vettel seemed to be lapses of concentration. He first brushed a wall and then, on lap 52, lost control at the first chicane and was forced to cut the corner. Both times he escaped unharmed and thereafter looked entirely untroubled.
“I was able to build a gap and then kept that gap basically the whole race. At some stages we had a full pitstop on hand and it’s a little bit easier then to control the race,” he said afterwards. “I had a very good start, which was important, and then I was able to really go with the car. I was able to build a gap and then kept that gap through the race. A very important race for us to win. Finally we get it off the list. Very proud of that.”
The victory in Montreal now leaves Vettel lacking only wins at his home race in Germany, at the Hungaroring and in Austin.
For Alonso, the race was rather less sedate. He moved up from sixth to fifth on the first lap, passing the free-falling Williams of Valtteri Bottas. After that it was a gritty race as he attacked Mark Webber’s Red Bull and the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. Webber and Alonso both passed Rosberg and, mid-race, Webber reeled off a string of fast laps and looked set to challenge Hamilton ahead. Instead he was hit by the Caterham of backmarker Giedo van der Garde, damaging his front wing. He lost sufficient pace for Alonso to close in and take the position.
The Spaniard then hunted down Hamilton. The Mercedes driver defended stoutly for half a dozen laps but eventually succumbed on lap 63 to the quicker Ferrari.
“At the end I think the second place has a victory taste because we scored some good points after a very difficult weekend,” said Alonso.
Behind the top four, Nico Rosberg drove a subdued race to fifth for Mercedes, the last car not to be lapped by the leader. Jean-Eric Vergne circulated on his own for most of the race, bringing his Toro Rosso home a career-best sixth.
Paul di Resta was busy: having started 17th, Force India ran him on a one-stop strategy, which paid off handsomely with seventh position. He was chased over the line by Felipe Massa, who had started 16th for Ferrari. Kimi Räikkönen took ninth for Lotus, equaling Michael Schumacher’s record of 24 consecutive points finishes, and the final point went to Adrian Sutil, who would have finished higher but for a late drive-through penalty, incurred for ignoring blue flags.
Vettel moves on to 132 points in the Drivers’ Championship, with Alonso now his closest rival on 96 points. In the Constructors’ table, Red Bull likewise strengthened their position, going 56 points clear of Ferrari with 201.
2013 Canadian Grand Prix
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 25pts
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari +14.4 secs 18 pts
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +15.9 secs 15 pts
4 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing +25.7 secs 12 pts
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes +69.7 secs 10 pts
6 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso +1 Lap 8 pts
7 Paul di Resta Force India +1 Lap 6 pts
8 Felipe Massa Ferrari +1 Lap 4 pts
9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus +1 Lap 2 pts
10 Adrian Sutil Force India +1 Lap 1 pts
11 Sergio Pérez McLaren +1 Lap
12 Jenson Button McLaren +1 Lap
13 Romain Grosjean Lotus +1 Lap
14 Valtteri Bottas Williams +1 Lap
15 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso +2 Laps
16 Pastor Maldonado Williams +2 Laps
17 Jules Bianchi Marussia +2 Laps
18 Charles Pic Caterham +3 Laps
19 Max Chilton Marussia +3 Laps
20 Esteban Gutiérrez Sauber +7 Laps
Ret Nico Hülkenberg Sauber +25 Laps
Ret Giedo van der Garde Caterham +27 Laps