Lewis Hamilton led from start to finish to claim an easy Canadian Grand Prix victory ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, as chaos unfolded behind the world champions.
A race which seemed poised to be a tense Mercedes-Ferrari battle never materialised, with Hamilton leading cleanly into Turn 1. Behind Max Verstappen lept from fifth to second in the short run down to the first corner, swiping a chunk of Vettel’s wing in the process and forcing the championship leader into an early pit stop. Verstappen’s punchy start would end with an early reliability problem, propelling Mercedes into a comfortable one-two it never relinquished.
The real drama occurred behind the lead pair, with Daniel Ricciardo claiming third with a faultless drive for Red Bull. Behind him, Force India had looked well-placed to challenge for a podium position, but the refusal to order Sergio Perez to release teammate Esteban Ocon — on much fresher tyres — to attack Ricciardo allowed Ferrari back into play and Vettel passed both late on to cap a remarkable comeback from last to fourth.
Kimi Raikkonen hit late trouble but held on to seventh position ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg. Lance Stroll recorded the first points of his young Formula One career in front of his home crowd with a spirited drive to ninth, while Romain Grosjean took the final point for Haas.
Fernando Alonso had been running 10th before retiring two laps from the end with what he said was an engine failure. The Spaniard, back in Formula One after his exploits at the Indy 500, made a trip to the grandstand to retire, throwing his gloves into the crowd before departing to the garage. For McLaren, it was a golden opportunity for the team’s first points of the season wasted.
Hamilton’s win and Vettel’s recovery means the German’s gap at the top of the championship is now down to 12 points. Mercedes has moved back in front of the constructors’ championship by eight points, with both championship fights looking poised to rage on all season.