Sebastian Vettel dethroned his rivals in Canada to take his 29th Grand Prix victory. The result helps him exceed his point lead in the drivers championship to 36 points. Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton completed the podium while Raikkonen was the big loser in the championship after mechanical issues meant that he could only finish in 9th place. As far as the race was concerned, drivers were able to push throughout without having the need to save their tyres. We analyse the important movements and results from the race.
Racing not Saving Tyres
While the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix didn't offer the same level of excitement as many had expected, at least it was not about saving tyres. Unlike the first six races of the season, drivers could push to the limits in Montreal for much of the race without bothering about their tyres. The Pirelli tyres, particularly the medium ones were durable enough and most drivers completed the race on a two stop strategy. Paul di Resta, whose Force India has been easy on tyres, completed a whopping 57 laps on one set of medium tyres, but he wasn't really saving tyres. For much of the stint, team allowed him to push as much as he can.
Vettel in League of his Own
Sebastian Vettel showed why he is a triple world championship after he took a dominant win from lights to flag in Canada. The win breaks his and Red Bull's duck in the North American country. The German appeared to be in league of his own as he maintained over a 10 second gap to his rivals for whole of the race. He used the same technique he's been using since years - qualify the car on pole, make a small gap at the front and control the race from there. His dominance can be seen from the fact that he lapped whole of the field bar the top 5 drivers. At one stage of the race he had a 20 second gap to second placed Lewis Hamilton - enough for a pit stop. But that gap decreased when he ran wide at the first corner of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and had to take the escape road. He also had a moment with the Wall of Champions but escaped with no damage to his car.
His 29th Grand Prix win takes him 36 points clear off Fernando Alonso in the drivers championship, while his team extended their lead in the constructors championship to 56 points. Red Bull will be particularly happy after the race as they had the fastest car in the race and didn't had to go by pace of the tyres but by pace of the car.
Alonso finishes Second after a Masterful Drive
Fernando Alonso showed why most consider him the best driver on the grid after a masterful drive to 2nd from 6th on the grid. During the opening lap of the race, Alonso passed the Williams of Valtteri Bottas and then started a charge on Red Bull's Mark Webber, who in turn was running behind Mercedes' Nico Rosberg. They both overtook the German on lap 29 before themselves indulging in a fight for final spot on the podium. Eventually, Alonso passed Webber and then chased the leading Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. The two drivers, who raced as teammate in 2007, banged wheels in the last few laps of the race, before Alonso passed Hamilton to take 2nd place.
Alonso was happy after the race to beat many of his opponents including Kimi Raikkonen but accepted defeat in the hands of Sebastian Vettel. He is now 36 points behind Vettel which is equal to one full victory. Last year, he was 42 points ahead of the German during the August break. This time, he might end up behind Vettel by the same margin.
Another important thing to note was that Ferrari were back in terms of race pace. At the last race in Monaco, Alonso didn't had the race pace of the frontrunners and had to let pass Sergio Perez, whose McLaren has been relegated to the midfield this season.
Mercedes - How far have they sorted out their tyre wear issues?
Mercedes by far have the best car on the grid when it comes to single lap pace. They have qualified on pole on more occasions than any other team but what has prevented Mercedes from converting strong good slots into good results is tyre wear. Mercedes have been struggling with their rear tyres since the start of the season. In Bahrain, Rosberg slipped to 9th position from pole while at the following race in Spain, Hamilton felled to 12th after starting the race from 2nd place.
However, in the last few races they've brought some updates that prevent tyre degradation. These updates aim at decreasing the tyre temperature and ensuring that tyres remain in their operating window. Mercedes are able to get temperature in their tyres quickly which helps them in qualifying, but this temperature soon surpasses the operating temperature, hurting them in the race. Arguably, the 'private test' also might have helped them in solving their on-going tyre wear problem.
In this race, Mercedes drivers finished only one slot behind where they started, which is certainly not bad considering how they've performed in the previous races. Mercedes themselves admit that they haven't got over their tyre issues, but they certainly have made some major steps, even though Montreal is not the toughest track on tyres. Silverstone Circuit in UK will tell how far have they've solved their tyre issues.
Vergne - A Result enough to Save his Race Seat ?
Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso has been following a rather cruel policy with their drivers. They give their drivers two years to show they are worthy to win races and be the future of the main team. At the end of 2011, Red Bull sacked Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastian Buemi after they failed to prove themselves, at least that's what Red Bull believed. Now in 2013, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne are in their second season with Toro Rosso and it's their last opportunity to prove that they are worthy to win races and replace Mark Webber in near future. Vergne, has been in pressure as his performances has been outlooked by that of Ricciardo. Ricciardo has been the faster of the two in qualifying while Vergne has proved better during the races. But with a strong 7 place finish in China, and a 6th place grid slot during last year's Bahrain Grand Prix, Ricciardo has been rumoured to join Red Bull in 2014 if Webber decides to leave the team.
But at the Canadian Grand Prix, Vergne proved his worth by outqualifying his teammate for 7th place at the start of the race. He moved up one position during the Grand Prix to finish in a career best 6th place. He would be hoping the result is enough for him to stay at Toro Rosso or potentially move to Red Bull in few years time.
Di Resta Proves why he is Rated so High
There have been speculations against Paul di Resta after he was comprehensively beaten by his teammate Nico Hulkenberg during the second half of 2012. The Scottish driver is been rated very highly in the paddock but failed to justify the hype last season. However, in 2013 he upped his level and produced a great drive yesterday from 17th place.
On Saturday, Di Resta was furious with the team after mechanical problems relegated him to 17th place on the grid. This meant that for two consecutive races, Paul di Resta failed to make into Q2 with no fault of his own. However, in the race he and the team put on a brilliant strategy as Di Resta gained 10 places to finish in 7th place. His strategy was to do a long first stint on medium tyres, and then do a small stint on super softs during end of the race. During his first stint, he did a whopping 57 laps on a set of prime tyres on his way to 7th place in the race. And during much of this stint, he was able to push to the limit, showing how easy Force India is on its tyres. We'll be putting an in-depth analysis on Di Resta's performance tomorrow to tell you where he would have finished had he started the race from the top 10. But for now, it's clear that Di Resta had proved his worth to critics and the fans alike.
McLaren - A Race to Forget
Canada 2013 was a race to forget for McLaren with both the drivers finishing outside of top 10. The result also ended McLaren's 64 race points scoring streak.
Both the drivers were disappointed with the race and Button went on to say that he has never been relieved this much to come out of his car after the end of a race. The British driver didn't had the pace to match the frontrunners and argued that it would have been had he started the race on medium tyres on his way to a one stop strategy. Perez couldn't do wonders either with MP4-28's lack of pace after finishing in 11th place, one lap behind race winner Sebastian Vettel.
McLaren needs to bring major updates to their car if they are to return to top of the field. In comparison, Ferrari had already made their way back to top by this time last year after a poor start to their campaign. While the comparison isn't fair as McLaren and Ferrari had different problems, but this year McLaren need to bring updates even quicker as there is an urge to switch to 2014 car.
Raikkonen - Losing Out in the Championship
While Kimi Raikkonen did match Schumacher's 25 race point winning streak in Canada, he was disappointed after finishing in 9th place and seeing his main rivals on the podium. The Finn encountered brake problems that prevented him from maximising out of his car. A slow stop and need to save fuel didn't help his case either. This result comes at a track where Lotus would have been hoping for a podium. However, such hopes took a backstep when Raikkonen and Grosjean could only start the race from 10th and 24th spot on the grid.
In a broad sense, Raikkonen has lost lot in terms of the championships. He has only managed to score three points in two races and is now 44 and 8 points behind Vettel and Alonso respectively. Raikkonen will need stronger results in next fews races if he's to win his second title this season. He will also need the help of his team who need to keep in par with Ferrari and Red Bull in the in-season development race.