Sebastian Vettel’s 50th career victory in the Canadian Grand Prix Sunday saw him replace Lewis Hamilton at the top of the championship standings to cap an emotional day for the Ferrari team.
It was a dominant pole to checkered flag win on the Gilles Villeneuve circuit, named in memory of the former Ferrari legend, who claimed his first Grand Prix victory in Montreal 40 years ago to the day. He died in a crash in 1982.
“Unbelievable, I said how much this place means for Ferrari,” said Vettel, now a single point ahead of Mercedes ace Hamilton, who finished a disappointing fifth.
“We had Jacques driving his father’s car earlier which was very emotional.”
It was the famous team’s first win in Canada since 2004 and Vettel knows how much it means to their many followers.
“The Ferrari fans will have a blast tonight,” he added.
Valtteri Bottas took a distant second for Mercedes with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen completing the podium.
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The race was largely processional at the front, with few overtaking attempts, the only drama coming at the end as the checkered flag was waved a lap too early by Canadian model Winne Harlow.
“Tell them not to wave the flag when it’s not done,” said Vettel, who continued on for another lap at race pace to take it again.
Vettel and Hamilton will now turn their attention to the next round in France, with the Briton, who came into one of his favorite races with a 14-point lead, on the backfoot as they both bid for a fifth world championship title.
By contrast, Vettel, with his third victory of the season, has momentum.
“Perfect is a good way to describe this,” said the German, who won four world championships with his former team Red Bull.
Formula 1 returns to Europe in two weeks as the drivers and teams head for the French Grand Prix at Circuit Paul Ricard on June 22-24.