Canada this year marked 40 years since the first F1 Grand Prix held at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the track dedicated to the Quebec racer after his 1978 maiden victory there for Ferrari.
Four decades on, it was another historic result for the Prancing Horse with Sebastian Vettel securing his milestone 50th Grand Prix win, and the Scuderia’s first in Montreal since Michael Schumacher in 2004.
At lights out, Vettel got a great start from pole position, to take the lead into Turn 1 – while Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas fended off an attack from Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, on the softer hypersofts, to retain second.
Behind them, it was Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, and then Daniel Ricciardo, who passed Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen into Turn 2 for fifth. Before Williams’ Lance Stroll had a tankslapper at Turn 5, which forced Toro Rosso rookie Brendon Hartley into the wall dramatically, bringing out the safety car.
At the restart on Lap 5, Vettel stormed out front – setting a string of fastest laps, while Force India’s Sergio Pérez dropped three places to 13th going sideways into Turn 1, after being clipped by Renault’s Carlos Sainz.
On Lap 16, Verstappen and Hamilton pitted for the supersofts – releasing Ricciardo, who set two fastest sectors before stopping on the next lap to jump Hamilton for fifth place.
Up-front, Vettel was stretching his legs for a 4-second lead over Bottas by Lap 31. Räikkönen pitted from P3 a lap later - but exited behind Hamilton in P6, the Brit upping his pace to get ahead.
Bottas stopped on Lap 36, for the supersofts - Vettel pitting the next lap for his one-and-only pit stop, retaining the lead on exit.
On Lap 42, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso retired from his 300th Grand Prix appearance with a broken charge air cooler pipe, losing boost pressure.
From Lap 54, there was a late charge – with Verstappen trying to close on Bottas for second, Hamilton pushing Ricciardo for fourth. Neither got past.
But no one could challenge Vettel out front, the German in a league of his own in Canada – 7.3 seconds ahead of Bottas at the flag.