Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took a dominant lights-to-flag victory in Canada, the 4-time F1 World Champion securing a milestone 50th win – becoming just the fourth driver in history to do so.
And its historical significance wasn’t lost on the German, his victory there Ferrari’s first in Canada since Michael Schumacher in 2004…
… and – on the 40th anniversary of the event’s debut at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, named for the iconic Quebec racer who took his maiden win there, for Ferrari, in 1978.
“It means a lot to me,” he said. “A great weekend for us and 40 years after Gilles’ victory here to have Ferrari win again and for a long time since Michael. I would never have dreamt to be the first after him.”
But while Vettel’s win, his second in Canada and third for the 2018 season handed him the lead of the drivers’ standings by 1-point – it was a different story for teammate Kimi Räikkönen, who floundered.
The Finn’s chance at pole destroyed with a mistake in qualifying, locking up into Turn 1 on his final run – while in the race, he was passed by Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo at Turn 2 on Lap 1, dropping to sixth…
…and could have been on the podium had he upped the pace in the laps leading to his stop, as Vettel did before his.
Across the first seven races, Räikkönen has finished ahead of Vettel just twice and behind three times, with the biggest gap five places in Canada – which has always been a bogey track for the Finn.
… making for a 53-point gap between them – the largest teammate deficit in F1 this season, and only after seven rounds.
“In my view Kimi has reached the end of the road,” said Sky Sports’ F1 commentator Martin Brundle. “He still shows a flash of real speed from time to time but can't relentlessly deliver the required race pace any more.”
It’s a crucial time for the Finn, if he’s to stay on at the Scuderia into 2019 with Prancing Horse young gun Charles Leclerc delivering at Sauber, his 10th place in Montreal his third score in four races.
And with Ferrari sweating on challenging for both titles, it needs a strong second driver – delivering maximum points at every round.