Sebastian Vettel capped an emotional weekend for Ferrari with a clinical pole-to-flag win at the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday to retake the lead in the Formula One world championship from Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton by a single point.
The victory was the 50th of the German’s career and left him on 121 points to Hamilton’s 120 after seven races, with the Briton coming home fifth.
In a bizarre ending to the race, and to Vettel’s consternation, the chequered flag was waved a lap early by model Winnie Harlow.
“Tell them not to wave the flag when it’s not done,” the Ferrari driver said over the radio.
The victory put Ferrari back on top in Canada for the first time since seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher claimed the last of his record seven wins on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2004.
Putting Ferrari on pole in Montreal for the first time since 2001 with a track record time, Vettel had powered into the lead and was never challenged as he charged home seven seconds clear of Mercedes’s Valtteri Bottas.
It was the German’s third win of the season and second in Canada, the first coming in 2013 with Red Bull.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who dominated much of practice, turned in a mature, error-free effort to take third place and quiet the storm of criticism swirling around him following a string of errors and crashes.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fourth for Red Bull, and denied the fastest lap by the early flag waving, which meant that did not count.
The timing of Vettel’s win could not have been better, coming on the 40th anniversary of the late Gilles Villeneuve’s victory for the Italian team in 1978 at his home Grand Prix.
“Perfect is probably a good way to describe it. It’s unbelievable. I said yesterday how much this place means to Ferrari and to have a race like we had today is unbelievable,” said Vettel.
“It’s 50 for me but after a long stretch that Ferrari didn’t win here, I saw the people around and they were super happy.” – Reuters