Montreal (AFP) – Sebastian Vettel claimed the 50th win of his career and reclaimed the lead of this year’s world championship on Sunday when he ended Lewis Hamilton’s run of supremacy at the Canadian Grand Prix.
The four-time champion German drove his Ferrari with near flawless aplomb to convert his 54th pole position into a triumphant afternoon ahead of Finn Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes and determined Dutchman Max Verstappen, who was third for Red Bull.
Vettel’s third victory this season lifted him to 121 points ahead of Hamilton on 120 after seven races, ending the defending four-time champion’s hopes of a record-equalling seventh win at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve where he won from pole for the last three years.
It was Ferrari’s first win in Canada since 2004 and came from their first pole there in 17 years. It was also Vettel’s second win in Canada where he won in 2013 for Red Bull.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who clocked the fastest lap at the end, managed to resist a late charge from Hamilton in the closing laps and retain fourth place ahead of the Englishman who extended his record points-scoring run to 32 races.
Finn Kimi Raikkonen finished sixth in the second Ferrari.
German Nico Hulkenberg came home seventh ahead of his Renault team-mate Spaniard Carlos Sainz, Frenchman Esteban Ocon of Force India and Monegasque Charles Leclerc of Sauber.
“Perfect is a good way to describe this,” said a delighted Vettel.
“I said yesterday that this place means a lot to Ferrari and to have a race like this is unbelievable.
“After a long stretch here without a Ferrari win, I looked around and the people are so very happy. It means a lot. There’s a long way to go in the season so I am not bothered about the title now, but it’s a good side affect for me.”
He said the win was special because it came 40 years after Canadian Gilles Villeneuve had won his first race for Ferrari.