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Vettel wins in Canada

NEWS STORY
09/06/2013

Mat Coch writes:

A controlled lights-to-flag victory for Sebastian Vettel saw the German not only break Red Bull’s Canada duck but also extend his lead at the top of the championship to 36 points. On a weekend when Kimi Raikkonen floundered it was an important result, as was Jean-Eric Vergne’s sixth place.

The rain which had punctuated the opening two days of the Grand Prix had disappeared as the teams ventured in to the unknown; they'd had comparatively little dry running and none since Friday. It meant all drivers had free choice of tyres, most opting for the supersoft to start with, and plenty of new Pirelli's to last them the race.

With a number of drivers out of position, most notably Kimi Raikkonen in tenth place, and two powerful DRS zones, the 70 lap race promised to be a dramatic departure from the procession that was Monaco; the short run down to the first turn often a scene of opening lap incidents.

Away from the lights, a slow start from Valtteri Bottas meant the Finn was immediately on the defensive as Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber streaked past the Williams, leaving Fernando Alonso harrying the youngster before finally edging by as the field poured in to the final chicane for the first time. Bottas had defended valiantly into the first corner, Webber rounding him on the left as Rosberg squeezed by on the right under braking.

Out front Sebastian Vettel had transformed his pole position in to an early advantage, extending a two-second lead after the first lap, which grew to 2.8 seconds by the end of the second. The biggest mover at the start was Caterham's Giedo van der Garde who'd moved up four places to seventeenth, while Esteban Gutierrez and Bottas lost three apiece.

Bottas was the cork in the bottle, the Williams falling down the order rapidly as Jean-Eric Vergne and Adrian Sutil attacked. While Vergne scampered through Sutil was too optimistic heading around Turn 3, Bottas squeezing him on the apex leaving the German spinning in front of the pack which forced a number of drivers to take to the grass on the inside to avoid him.

Just half a lap later Sutil was again in amongst the action as Pastor Maldonado slid in to the rear of the Force India under braking for the final hairpin, the Williams driver damaging his front wing.

A DRS problem for Paul Di Resta was hurting his progress, the team advising its driver how to override the system via the steering wheel.

There were also issues for Raikkonen, the Finn suffering from an apparent brake issue, the team telling its man to move the brake balance as far forward as possible.

Vettel, with an almost seven second lead, was still pushing hard – so hard he brushed the wall with his rear wheel on the exit of Turn 3.
Raikkonen appeared to be struggling with his supersoft tyres early in the race; after just ten laps his tyres looked to be graining as Massa began attacking the Lotus. Encouraged by the attacking Massa, Raikkonen made a move on Daniel Ricciardo for eighth place as they began lap twelve, moving around the outside of the Toro Rosso before the Australian headed to the pits at the end of the lap.

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