Wednesday 21 March 2018 / 12:34 AM


The demanding Circuit Gilles Villeneuve hosted the seventh round of the Formula 1 season. The track has some challenging turns and high speed sections, producing a challenge for drivers to manage brake temperatures and fuel loads as well as tyre degradation.

The first practice session saw the rarely used track coated in a layer of dust which saw several drivers lose control under braking while some others had some handling issues when exiting turns. As the track cleared, performances improved. Only the McLaren of Fernando Alonso and Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz suffered reliability issues, however these were rectified in time for FP2. Lewis Hamilton had the fastest time in FP1. In the second practice sessions, both Red Bull cars broke down, which cut short their sessions. Plenty of drivers still struggled with grip with more spins, while others were brushing the barriers. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen set the pace for FP2, going around in under 73 seconds.

Free Practice 3 on day 2 saw all cars complete plenty of laps with no mechanical issues or crashes. Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were steady after repairs had been made on their cars overnight, while both Ferrari’s showed good speed, with Sebastian Vettel lapping quickest.

A game of cat and mouse unfolded in Qualifying, with Mercedes and Ferrari both refusing to show the full capabilities of their cars in the first two sessions. Mercedes Valtteri Bottas topped Q1 while the Red Bulls joined the Silver Arrows and Ferrari’s in Q2 as the only cars to go around in under 73 seconds. Lewis Hamilton then set a stunning time three quarters of a second faster than his Q2 time. Vettel then came within 0.004 seconds of Hamilton. Lewis then improved further on his time which Ferrari could not match. The Red Bulls locked out the third row ahead of Williams’ Felipe Massa, both Force India’s and the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen made an amazing start, moving from 5th on the grid and into second place by the exit of the first turn, while his team mate Ricciardo managed to get past Raikkonen. Vettel’s front wing was clipped by Verstappen in the first turn which saw the Ferrari pitted on Lap 5 and Vettel resuming in last place. Carlos Sainz tried to move ahead of Romain Grosjean but clipped the Haas car, losing control of his Toro Rosso which went backwards through the next turn at pace and taking out an unsuspecting Felipe Massa, ending the race for both drivers. Verstappen looked to settle into his race in second place when the battery in his car failed and his car lost all power and was forced to retire. This saw Force India’s Esteban Ocon move into second place behind Hamilton, with Bottas moving into third and Ricciardo fourth.

Ocon remained in second place almost until the halfway mark when he finally pitted, He rejoined in sixth place, but on fresher tyres than his team mate Sergio Perez, who was running fifth. Vettel contemplated going to the end on his tyres, but instead opted to pit with 20 laps remaining so as to make a push for a podium place. Only 3 seconds separated third placed Ricciardo and sixth placed Raikkonen, with both Force India’s between them. A battle between Perez, Ocon and team orders took place. Perez refused to let his team mate past to try and pass Ricciardo. With 9 laps remaining and Vettel pushing hard, Raikkonen overshoots a turn which allows Vettel to slip past. A few laps later, Raikkonen’s car loses power and he falls out of the battle for a podium. Vettel catches the squabbling Force India’s and after watching Ocon pass Perez, Vettel opted to strike. Perez reclaimed his position as Ocon ran wide and was passed by Vettel. With two laps remaining, Alono’s troublesome McLaren fails him again and retires. Vettel passed Perez on the penultimate lap but couldn’t catch Ricciardo, while Lewis Hamilton waltzed to victory.

Final Standings (Top 10)
1 – Hamilton (Mercedes)
2 – Bottas (Mercedes)
3 – Ricciardo (Red Bull)
4 – Vettel (Ferrari)
5 – Perez (Force India)
6 – Ocon (Force India)
7 – Raikkonen (Ferrari)
8 – Hulkenberg (Renault)
9 – Stroll (Williams)
10 – Grosjean (Haas)

Drivers Championship (Top 10)
1 – Vettel – 141
2 – Hamilton – 129
3 – Bottas – 93
4 – Raikkonen – 73
5 – Ricciardo – 67
6 – Verstappen – 45
7 – Perez – 44
8 – Ocon – 27
9 – Sainz – 25
10 – Massa – 20

Constructors Championship
1 – Mercedes – 222
2 – Ferrari – 214
3 – Red Bull – 112
4 – Force India – 71
5 – Toro Rosso – 29
6 – Williams – 22
7 – Renault – 18
8 – Haas – 15
9 – Sauber – 4
10 – McLaren – 0

[YouTube – F1ToDay]

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About the author

Andrew Ferguson

A rugby league historian and stats buff – most notably as the brains behind the phenomenal Rugby League Project resource – Melbourne-based Andrew has written extensively for Rugby League Review and the Men of League magazine, and is a valued addition to CBS’s rugby league stable.

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