• Canadian Grand Prix - The Final Stint

The champion conquers Canada

Laurence Edmondson and Chris Medland
June 9, 2013

A round-up of the good, the bad and the downright ugly from the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel didn't receive the warmest welcome on the podium © Sutton Images
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Boo to you, Seb
Sebastian Vettel delivered a textbook display from pole position to take the most dominant victory we've seen by any driver so far this year. The final winning margin of 14.4s was even greater at one stage and he never looked in danger from the moment he pulled out a lead of over two seconds at the end of the first lap. However, just to prove that success can make you unpopular Vettel found himself quite heavily booed when he started to speak on the podium after the race. His response - "I didn't think it was THAT bad a race for us" - showed some quick wit but it was not the reaction to his first Canadian success that he would have expected, nor deserved. It may have been a pro-Alonso crowd but a bit of grace (like that shown by Alonso when he congratulated Vettel on a "dominant race" after the chequered flag) wouldn't have gone amiss.

Alonso's mindset
While Sebastian Vettel continues to insist the championship is not at the forefront of his mind, it's clear that it is for Fernando Alonso. For Alonso you sense 2013 is just a continuation of 2012 as he's constantly focusing on the results of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, and it explained his delight at second place this weekend. Alonso won't be satisfied with second, but he knows that having started sixth it was the best he was ever going to get today as Vettel disappeared in to the distance, so to overhaul Lewis Hamilton late on and leapfrog Raikkonen in the drivers' championship was a job well done. Alonso's race pace was very impressive, but Ferrari really needs to improve over one lap in qualifying to challenge Vettel on every circuit if it wants to start eating in to the now 36-point championship deficit.

The Story of the Weekend

© Sutton Images
  • Shock: Valtteri Bottas - Changeable conditions were a great leveller in qualifying and Bottas showed why Sir Frank Williams rates him so highly
  • Shocker:Giedo van der Garde - Hit Webber at the hairpin and then Hulkenberg at the final chicane - on both occasions while being lapped - to end his race and lose five places on the British GP grid
  • Best overtake: Jean-Eric Vergne - Went round the outside of Bottas at Turn 1 and with Sutil spinning two corners later it left him a clear run to P6
  • Best lap: Sebastian Vettel - He stamped his authority on the race from the first lap, opening up a two second lead which he never looked like losing
  • Worst lap:Adrian Sutil - On lap 6 he spun attacking Bottas at Turn 3 and then had Maldonado run in to the back of him at the hairpin
  • Drive of the day: Paul di Resta - P17 to P7 with an opening stint of 57 laps was a hugely impressive way to recover from Saturday's disappointment

Return of the in-season test
In-season testing has long been a contentious subject in Formula One but it looks set for a return in 2014. The introduction of a new engine formula and Pirelli's tyre struggles - not to mention its controversial Mercedes test - appear to have swayed the teams to agree to a return next year. The main counter argument has always been cost, but plans to limit straight-line testing, wind tunnel time and filming days should act as a trade off. The tests will also be held after race weekends at the same circuit, meaning the all the infrastructure is in place for the teams and organisers. The teams with the tightest budgets are not necessarily opposed to the idea as they will be able to rent their cars out to pay drivers, but with costs on the up it is vital that F1 strikes the right balance. It will also mean more work for mechanics and engineers at a time when the calendar could hit 21 races with the expected introduction of Russia and New Jersey next season.

Tired of tyre test talk
The Mercedes tyre test remained the talk of the paddock when the team reconvened in Montreal this weekend after the FIA confirmed it was taking the matter to the International Tribunal. As such, little more will happen between now and the hearing - expected to be June 20 - but the focus remained on what the team may have learnt from the test. With Lewis Hamilton finishing third after a competitive race and Nico Rosberg finishing fifth, it could be argued that the team has made significant progress since Barcelona. But that would overlook the fact that this circuit really did not induce much tyre degradation as a number of drivers one-stopped. Paul di Resta was even able to complete 57 laps on a set of medium tyres before making his one and only stop - highlighting the lack of degradation - and proving that we're still unable to judge what Mercedes might have learned.

Valtteri Bottas' arrival in Formula One was met with more anticipation than any other rookie at the start of the year. But in the Williams FW35 he has not had a car capable of showcasing his talent, and up until this weekend the Finn has blurred into the back of the grid along with the other new boys at Marussia, Caterham and Sauber. However, rain during the qualifying hour on Saturday gave him a chance to prove a point and he grabbed it by outperformed his machinery throughout all three sessions to take third on the grid. That he dropped 11 places in Sunday's race is a reflection of the pace of the car rather than the driver and underlines just what a remarkable lap he managed in Q3. Unfortunately the current Williams is not likely to deliver Bottas his first points any time soon, but more performances like his one on Saturday should cement his place in the sport going forward.

McLaren pointless, for once
On a weekend when McLaren was hoping new parts would move it forward on the grid, it suffered its worst race of 2013. Both drivers failed to make Q3 in qualifying and then finished outside the points in the race. The result brought to an end a run of 64 consecutive finishes in the points, but of greater concern will be the lack of pace on a circuit that has previously been a happy hunting ground for McLaren. It goes to show that there are still fundamental issues with the MP4-28, such as its poor ride over bumps, which the team has not been able to resolve. After the race Jenson Button said he had "never been so pleased to get out of a car" and worst of all it sounded like he meant it. A return to a high-speed track at Silverstone in three weeks should ease McLaren's woes but it is looking less and less likely that it will return to winning ways before 2014. Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen equalled Michael Schumacher's record for the most consecutive points finishes for a driver with 24, but after losing 23 points to Sebastian Vettel he will be in no mood to celebrate (if he is even aware of the record).