As dull as the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix was too many who watched, the season is still unpredictable because no one team has a clear advantage. The speed and power advantage Mercedes has previously enjoyed is now track specific and dependent on whether the team can get the most out of the tires. The same goes for the Red Bull, were fast at Monaco, and for Ferrari who were the ones to beat in Canada.
Both Ferrari and Red Bull introduced engine upgrades, Mercedes had to delay their engine upgrade until the next race because of an unspecified ‘quality issue’. Such a delay would not have been a major issue in their previous championship winning campaigns.
This season it’s different, a power upgrade delay is a loss of momentum, a loss of points and prestige. That said Valtteri Bottas slotted into second during qualifying, a few tenths behind Sebastian Vettel. But a few tenths in F1 is often said to be equivalent to one second.
Hamilton struggled to match his teammate at the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix and the best he could muster during qualifying was fourth, behind Max Verstappen and ahead of the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen who should have been second on the grid but for a costly error.
Ricciardo was sixth, behind him was a gap of over a second to the other teams. So Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull are quite close to one another this year, so that should bode well for the race, right?
The start of the race was exciting but for all the wrong reasons, Brendon Hartley was sent crashing into the wall after he went for a gap that was closed off by Lance Stroll. The Canadian lost the rear end of his Williams and slid into Hartley’s path, the collision launched the Torro Rosso briefly into the air.
As the two slid off the track and into a runoff area and the safety car was deployed. An exciting race was anticipated, rolling re-starts very rarely deliver excitement.
Indeed, Sebastian Vettel strolled to victory without so much as raising a sweat, Bottas just didn’t have enough pace to challenge Vettel at a power track that has traditionally favored Mercedes for the past four years. Max Verstappen finished an uneventful 3rd, marking a significant turn around in form.
Hamilton was on the back foot early on with an overheating engine which forced him to slow down and allowed Ricciardo to secure 4th. Hamilton somehow managed to complete the race distance albeit 21 seconds behind the leader and several seconds ahead of Raikkonen.
Next up was Hulkenberg in the works Renault who was 1 lap down as were those behind him, highlighting the gulf between the top three teams in F1 right now.
Vettel celebrated his 50th Grand Prix victory at the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix and now leads the championship by 1 point thanks in part to Hamilton’s engine issues. It was damage limitation for Hamilton and Mercedes but it could have been a non-finish.
Under such circumstances, any points are better than no points because champions of the past have been won or lost by a single point.
2018 Canadian GrandPrix Race Results