The best way to describe the 2018 Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix is forgettable, with the main talking point of the race being the premature waving of the chequered flag by Winnie Harlow, causing the race result to be classified on lap 68 instead of the scheduled 70, due to an obscure FIA sporting rule. Luckily, despite the flag mishap, it had no effect on the result, other than Daniel Ricciardo losing his fastest lap.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen made the start somewhat exciting, getting alongside Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas going into the left-hander at turn 1, and despite hanging on around the outside of turn 2, ultimately lost out, having to settle for third. Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo also made a good start, getting ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen at turn 1 into 2, meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel disappeared into the distance.
A few moments later, Toro Rosso’s Brendan Hartley was attempting an overtake of Williams’ Lance Stroll on the outside of turn 5 into 6, when stroll had an oversteer moment forcing Hartley into the wall at turn 5, which caused both driver’s races to end just 30 seconds into the race at the runoff area of turn 6.
Predictably, being Canada, this prompted the safety car to neutralize the race while the two cars were recovered. The race restarted on lap five and a big nothing happened, everyone maintained their position, with the exception of Force India’s Sergio Perez, who tangled with Renault’s Carlos Sainz going into turn 1, with the former losing half dozen positions as a result, much to the chagrin of the Mexican.
During the first round of pitstops, Daniel Ricciardo leapfrogged Lewis Hamilton for 4th place, Hamilton was down on power, according to Mercedes after their planned engine change for Montreal was scrapped due to reliability issues with the new power unit. Speaking of reliability issues, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso suffered another retirement with a broken exhaust causing engine overheating issues.
That’s about all she wrote for the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix, next to no on-track overtaking, a few crashes and a procession at the front after the first round of stops. Race winner, Vettel never looked challenged in his lights to flag (twice) victory, there was some potential drama in the closing stages of the race with Hamilton seemingly closing on Ricciardo for 4th, but it fizzled out with Ricciardo faster out of the hairpin.
This Canadian Grand Prix has really highlighted the issues with the current F1 regulations, with drivers lifting and coasting to preserve fuel and running at a slower ultimate pace to save tires. Even with 3 DRS zones, overtaking was a virtual no-go, I’m not sure how many, if any overtakes were made, I don’t remember a single on-track overtake during the entire Canadian GP, making for an extremely dull race.
If nothing else, the Canadian GP has set up the European leg of the season nicely with Vettel taking a 1 point lead over Hamilton in the world drivers championship with Mercedes seemingly on the back foot. I believe that 2018 could be Ferrari’s championship to lose with Mercedes nowhere near their ultimate performance, but, like last season, Ferrari could be their own worst enemy with unforced blunders.
Canadian Grand Prix 2018 Results
|1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:28:31.377
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +7.376
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +8.360
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +20.892
5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +21.559
|6. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +27.184
7. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) +1 LAP
8. Carlos Sainz (Renault) +1 LAP
9. Esteban Ocon (Force India) +1 LAP
10. Charles Leclerc (Sauber) +1 LAP