by H. Mayor – photo: f1.com
The outcome of the Montreal race was largely decided by what happened on the first lap. Verstappen, at his most aggressive, burst out at the drop of the flag and in his enthusiasm shaved off the front of Sebastian Vettel who shortly after needed a pit stop to repair the damage. Ahead of everyone else, Lewis Hamilton made the most of his historic pole position (in memory of his idol Senna and after matching his triumphs) and pulled off towards victory and an smooth and undisputed lead. The British driver reinforced his position and shifted an already thrilling championship to his favour. He is now 12 points from the leader.
Such a decisive start of the race frame Hamilton’s triumph but also give enormous credit to Vettel’s fourth position. Confined to boxes right after the start and left with no chances to compete against his great rival, the German pilot had to change his strategy on the go to adapt to the new circumstances and managed to scratch a fourth place for himself and avoid any major disaster. He was eighteenth at the fifth lap and ended up at just a couple of laps away of achieving the third step of the podium which was finally for Ricciardo.
At the top of the podium the two Mercedes’ drivers with their smiles back on their faces. Hamilton with his solid, comfortable and unrivalled triumph; Bottas after performing an efficient contention role, which he seems to have now accepted. Behind the scenes, the excellent work carried out by the scuderia over the last few weeks which has managed to dispel all the doubts over the W08 after showing off what it can do at a very demanding circuit.
One of the culprits of the initial row, Verstappen, had to drop out at the tenth lap after a fault. but there was yet more collateral damage at the start: Grosjean (who managed to carry on), Massa and Sáinz. The incidents left the door open for Force India who quietly took fourth place at the competition. Regarding the middle group, Hulkenberg and his Renault continue to scratch off points for the French. Carlos Sáinz also had to retire after colliding with Grosjean and Massa in yet another incident of this eventful start of the race. Big news for the Canadians was the first points for Lance Stroll.
The other Spaniard on the grid, Fernando Alonso, added yet another withdrawal to his exasperating streak. He again squeezed all the juice from his vehicle with its infamous Honda engine and for a moment it seemed that he could have won his first points of the year after the battery of withdrawals. But the usual happened: the engine broke down, this time at two laps from the finish line. McLaren cannot wake up from his nightmare.