Verstappen wins thrilling race at the Red Bull Ring

That was an epic Austrian Grand Prix as Max Verstappen takes victory from Charles Leclerc in an exciting race, scoring Honda its first win since returning to the sport.

Verstappen fell down to eighth on the opening lap but charged through the race order and caught Leclerc late on before winning a wheel-to-wheel battle to secure the victory.

However, his race-winning pass – which resulted in minor contact and pushed Leclerc to the run-off, denying Leclerc a first Formula 1 win – led to a post-race investigation from the stewards.

Leclerc finished second, with Valtteri Bottas third as Mercedes’ perfect win record at the start of 2019 has finally ended.

Leclerc led from pole position and despite being on a strategy his rivals felt was “risky” managed to keep the lead Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas at length throughout the Austrian Grand Prix.

He then held on to withstand a late assault from Verstappen, who fell from second to eighth on the opening lap but charged back to score Red Bull Racing’s best result of the season with Honda.

Leclerc maintained his pole advantage, aided by the anti-stall kicking in on Verstappen’s Red Bull and dropping the home favourite back to seventh at the first corner.

Verstappen then fell to eighth as teammate Pierre Gasly passed him around the outside at Turn 3, but he retook the position around the outside of the penultimate corner.

As Leclerc built a small lead over Bottas at the front, Sebastian Vettel and Verstappen worked their way up the order.

Vettel started ninth after an engine-related problem in qualifying but was up to fourth by lap six, and Verstappen had made it to fifth three laps later.

Despite being on harder tyres that Mercedes thought would be an advantage to Leclerc’s softs, Bottas was the first driver to pit on lap 21, with Vettel stopping the same lap.

Vettel lost a big amount of time because a radio problem for Ferrari’s mechanics meant they did not get the instruction he was pitting.

Leclerc covered Bottas’s stop one lap after his pursuer, releasing Lewis Hamilton into the race lead as the other Mercedes and Verstappen extended their opening stints.

Hamilton pitted on lap 30 after quickly losing a lot of time over the last couple of laps of his first stint thanks to front wing damage likely picked up when he ran wide over the sausage kerb at Turn 1 – now renamed as Lauda Kurve, in honour of Niki.

The time loss and lengthy stop to change his wing meant Hamilton rejoined eight seconds behind Vettel despite the Ferrari driver’s own slow stop, and when Verstappen pitted one lap later he rejoined ahead of Hamilton as well.

While Leclerc held a lead of around four seconds out front, Verstappen – 12.9 seconds off the lead in fourth after stopping – began his charge.

It took him 17 laps to chip away at Vettel’s deficit but once in DRS range he quickly mounted an attack.

Vettel repeatedly struggled to make the apex of the Turn 3 right-hander at the top of the hill and on lap 50 of 71 Verstappen took advantage with a good run out of the corner, and used DRS to get ahead into the braking zone and pass Vettel around the outside into Turn 4.

Once clear of the Ferrari, which immediately made a second stop for soft tyres and rejoined behind a muted Hamilton, Verstappen quickly caught Bottas.

Both Mercedes drivers’ pace was reduced because of temperature management, and Verstappen nailed Bottas for second on the run up to Turn 3 on lap 56 – having only just reported a brief loss of power.

That released him to try to catch Leclerc, six seconds up the road with 15 laps left.

By the time just five laps remained, Verstappen was on the Ferrari’s gearbox and attacked on the outside into Turn 3 and 4, but Leclerc just held on.

The next lap, Verstappen dived inside Leclerc with a brilliant move at Turn 3, but Leclerc just held on around the outside and was able to outdrag the Red Bull down to Turn 4.

With three laps ago Leclerc half covered the inside but Verstappen moved right to the edge of the track, forced Leclerc wide – and the two bumped wheels as Leclerc tried to hang on again on the outside.

Leclerc took to the run-off and complained over the radio, while Verstappen accused his rival of turning in on him.

Verstappen was told to get his head down and escape, which he did – crossing the finishing line almost three seconds clear.

However that incident between the two at Turn 3 is currently being investigated. Hopefully the race results will stand as this is motor racing.

Behind the top three, Vettel used his soft tyres to catch and overhaul Hamilton for fourth.

Championship leader Hamilton was limited to a muted fifth place, but only lost five points to teammate and title rival Bottas.

Lando Norris made up for his heartbreaking end to last week’s race in France by winning the best of the rest battle for McLaren in sixth.

He kept the second Red Bull of Pierre Gasly comfortably at bay to score the best result of his rookie season.

Carlos Sainz executed a long first stint to rise to eighth from the back of the grid, while Alfa Romeo duo Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi completed the point scorers – Giovinazzi finally banking his first Formula 1 point in the process.

Austrian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 71 1h22m01.822s
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 71 2.724s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 71 18.960s
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 71 19.610s
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 71 22.805s
6 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 70 1 Lap
7 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 70 1 Lap
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 70 1 Lap
9 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 70 1 Lap
10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 70 1 Lap
11 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 70 1 Lap
12 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 70 1 Lap
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 70 1 Lap
14 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 70 1 Lap
15 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 70 1 Lap
16 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 70 1 Lap
17 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 70 1 Lap
18 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 69 2 Laps
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 69 2 Laps
20 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 68 3 Laps

Drivers’ standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 197
2 Valtteri Bottas 166
3 Max Verstappen 126
4 Sebastian Vettel 123
5 Charles Leclerc 105
6 Pierre Gasly 43
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. 30
8 Lando Norris 22
9 Kimi Raikkonen 21
10 Daniel Ricciardo 16
11 Nico Hulkenberg 16
12 Kevin Magnussen 14
13 Sergio Perez 13
14 Daniil Kvyat 10
15 Alexander Albon 7
16 Lance Stroll 6
17 Romain Grosjean 2
18 Antonio Giovinazzi 1
19 George Russell 0
20 Robert Kubica 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 363
2 Ferrari 228
3 Red Bull-Honda 169
4 McLaren-Renault 52
5 Renault 32
6 Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 22
7 Racing Point-Mercedes 19
8 Toro Rosso-Honda 17
9 Haas-Ferrari 16
10 Williams-Mercedes 0

Leclerc scores pole position at the Red Bull Ring

Charles Leclerc achieved his second Formula 1 pole position at the Red Bull Ring for Ferrari, while teammate Sebastian Vettel was hit by a mechanical issue in Q3.

The rising Ferrari star was the class of the field throughout the Austrian Grand Prix qualifying, setting two laps significant enough for pole position in Q3.

Leclerc’s took provisional pole with a time of one minute, 03.208 seconds on his first run, then set the fastest times of all in the second and third sectors to improve to a one minute, 03.003 seconds.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who complained of not being strong enough on the straights, moved from fourth to second on his final lap – ending up 0.259 seconds slower.

Hamilton will also be investigated after the session for potentially impeding Kimi Raikkonen at Turn 3 during Q1.

If the race stewards do penalised the championship leader, then this will be a major set back for Hamilton.

Max Verstappen was third fastest, 0.436 seconds down, ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

Both Mercedes drivers and Verstappen will start the race on medium-compound Pirellis having used those tyres to set their Q2 times, with the rest of the top ten using softs.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner explained the decision to use mediums, which he believes will be the best race strategy for his team.

“That soft won’t have the range and that puts a lot of stress on that last [stint] tyre,” said Horner.

“Ferrari generate their lap time differently, they go slower round the corners and faster down the straights, so they might feel confident that they can make that work because they don’t put as much heat into the tyres in the corners.”

Kevin Magnussen, who made Q3 despite locking up and running into the gravel at Turn 4 on his final Q2 lap, was fifth quickest – three hundredths faster than the McLaren of Lando Norris.

But the Haas driver has a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, so will lose his third-row starting slot.

Alfa Romeo duo Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi were seventh and eighth, while Pierre Gasly was only ninth for Red Bull after failing to improve on his second Q3 run.

Vettel was unable to take to the track in Q3 thanks to what Ferrari called a problem with the air pressure line to the engine, meaning he ended up P10.

Romain Grosjean was P11 after lapping 0.024 seconds slower than Haas teammate Magnussen in Q2.

Grosjean set two lap times separated by just one thousandth of a second on his second run, but it wasn’t enough to overhaul Magnussen.

Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg failed to improve on his second run in Q2 and ended up P11 thanks to being in the queue of cars slower by Magnussen’s Turn 4 off.

Hulkenberg also has a five-place grid penalty.

Toro Rosso driver Alex Albon was P13, but has to serve a back-of-the-grid penalty thanks to taking the ‘Spec 3’ Honda power unit and latest turbo charger.

Daniel Ricciardo only had one run in Q2 and ended up P14, ahead of the McLaren of Carlos Sainz.

Sainz did not set a serious time in Q2 as he also has a back-of-the-grid penalty thanks to engine component changes caused by switching to the ‘spec B’ Renault power unit.

Sergio Perez was the fastest of those eliminated in Q1 after jumping Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll at the end of Q1.

Perez lapped 0.043 seconds faster than Stroll, with the Racing Point driver briefly lifting himself out of the drop zone in the final minutes of Q1 before being shuffled back as others improved.

Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat was P18, half-a-second slower than Stroll, after traffic ruined what should have been his best lap.

Kvyat turned into Turn 9 and encountered George Russell – who was slow ahead of starting a lap and behind a queue of cars that included Albon – forcing him to run very wide as he passed.

The stewards will investigate the incident after the session, with Kvyat saying “I almost killed someone” over the radio after having to avoid the queue of cars.

George Russell was fastest of the two Williams drivers, three tenths ahead of teammate Robert Kubica, although both will move off the back row thanks to penalties for Albon and Sainz.

So grid penalties can affect the line up of the Austrian Grand Prix but for the quickest driver Charles Leclerc, this was an impressive result for the Scuderia Ferrari. Hopefully Leclerc can achieve that maiden victory come race day.

Austrian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m03.003s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m03.262s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m03.439s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m03.537s
5 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m04.099s
6 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m04.166s
7 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m04.179s
8 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 1m04.199s
9 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari –
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m04.072s
11 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m04.490s
12 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m04.790s
13 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m04.789s
14 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m04.832s
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1m05.324s
16 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m05.904s
17 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m04.516s
18 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1m06.206s
19 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso/Honda 1m04.665s
20 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m13.601s

Hamilton and Mercedes masterclass in France

Defending Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton produced a masterclass performance at Circuit Paul Ricard, leading every lap and extending his championship advantage by 36 points.

Hamilton comfortably defeated his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas with Charles Leclerc completed the French Grand Prix podium for Ferrari, whose lead driver Sebastian Vettel is now 76 points behind Hamilton after finishing fifth position.

Vettel failed to make much progress from starting seventh on the grid, although a bonus point for fastest lap after making a late pitstop for fresh set of Pirelli provided one sign of hope.

Hamilton held the lead at the start and only edged clear by a small margin over the first half of the opening stint.

However, the longer the drivers eked out their medium tyres, the bigger Hamilton’s advantage became.

He was more than eight seconds clear when Bottas pitted first for the hard tyres on lap 23.

Hamilton stayed out an extra lap, Mercedes having extended their drivers’ stints to make sure they were far enough ahead of Vettel to rejoin ahead, as the Ferrari stayed out even longer.

After the pitstops, Hamilton stretched his advantage further and, after a brief back and forth battle with Bottas for fastest lap, the gap extended to 18 seconds by the chequered flag.

At least Bottas returned to the runner-up position for the first time in three races, although the damage is done by Hamilton’s fourth consecutive victory.

Behind the Silver Arrows, Leclerc hung onto Bottas’s tail in the first of the Ferraris.

Leclerc hounded Bottas to the flag, though always a few seconds adrift, as he scored his second podium finish in a row.

The Ferrari driver had to overcome a fierce first-lap challenge from Max Verstappen, after the two ran side-by-side down to Turn 3 for the first time.

Leclerc was boxed in by Bottas into Turn 2, which gave Verstappen momentum around the outside before Leclerc edged clear as they approached the next corner.

After that point, Verstappen gradually slipped back from Leclerc and his attentions turned to keep Vettel at bay.

Vettel closed to just three seconds behind in the first stint but after pitting several laps later than the Red Bull he rejoined 5.9 seconds adrift and drop away.

That gave Verstappen, who struggled with some lag on the throttle early on, some breathing space and meant Vettel had too much time to make up when he started to close in again in the final few laps.

Ferrari therefore pitted Vettel with two laps to the finish, getting a fresh set of soft tyres and released him to chase the fastest lap.

Vettel pumped in a one minute, 32.740 seconds on the final lap to steal the bonus point from Hamilton by just 0.024 seconds – after Hamilton had set a new fastest lap on the final lap as well.

Behind the Ferrari, McLaren won the best-of-the-rest battle with Carlos Sainz in sixth position.

Sainz jumped teammate Lando Norris on the opening lap when Norris found himself with nowhere to go at Turn 1 and had to back out, handing Sainz momentum and the position.

Norris did well to even finish after battling a hydraulics problem that got worse as the race progressed and presented braking and steering problems.

Lando ran seventh until the very last lap, when his problems became too much to overcome and he slipped behind Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault, the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg.

Ricciardo attacked the ailing Norris on the outside at the chicane but ran deep, so Norris squirted the throttle and tried to re-pass him through the second part of the corner but went too wide after Ricciardo squeezed him, and took to the run-off.

That triggered multiple cars running side-by-side as Raikkonen and Hulkenberg got in on the battle, with Ricciardo claiming seventh ahead of Raikkonen, Hulkenberg and the defeated Norris.

This was a late race drama in an otherwise dull French Grand Prix. The lack of action was a real issue but the performance by Mercedes must be applauded with this brilliant race result. Congratulations Lewis Hamilton in winning at Circuit Paul Ricard.

French Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 53 1h24m31.198s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 53 18.056s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 53 18.985s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 53 34.905s
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 53 1m02.796s
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 53 1m35.462s
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 52 1 Lap
8 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 52 1 Lap
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 52 1 Lap
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 52 1 Lap
11 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 52 1 Lap
12 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 52 1 Lap
13 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 52 1 Lap
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 52 1 Lap
15 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 52 1 Lap
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 52 1 Lap
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 52 1 Lap
18 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 51 2 Laps
19 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 51 2 Laps
– Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 44 Retirement

Drivers’ championship:
1 Lewis Hamilton 187
2 Valtteri Bottas 151
3 Sebastian Vettel 111
4 Max Verstappen 100
5 Charles Leclerc 87
6 Pierre Gasly 36
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. 26
8 Daniel Ricciardo 22
9 Kimi Raikkonen 17
10 Kevin Magnussen 14
11 Nico Hulkenberg 14
12 Lando Norris 13
13 Sergio Perez 13
14 Daniil Kvyat 10
15 Alexander Albon 7
16 Lance Stroll 6
17 Romain Grosjean 2
18 Antonio Giovinazzi 0
19 George Russell 0
20 Robert Kubica 0

Constructors’ championship:
1 Mercedes 338
2 Ferrari 198
3 Red Bull-Honda 136
4 McLaren-Renault 39
5 Renault 36
6 Racing Point-Mercedes 19
7 Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 17
8 Toro Rosso-Honda 17
9 Haas-Ferrari 16
10 Williams-Mercedes 0

Hamilton scores 86th career pole in France

Defending Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton achieved his 86th career pole position in the sport with a fine qualifying result at Circuit Paul Ricard.

Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas had the edge initially after setting the timesheets in both Q1 and Q2, but Hamilton stepped up a gear with a run to the top spot on the first runs in Q3 with a lap of one minute, 28.448 seconds.

Hamilton then improved to a one minute, 28.319 seconds on his second lap to secure pole position, and set the fastest times of all in each of the three sectors across his two laps.

Bottas had a scruffy lap and was unable to improve on his first run pace, meaning he ended up 0.286 seconds behind Hamilton.

Charles Leclerc was the lead Ferrari, 0.646 seconds off the pace in third and yet well ahead of fourth-placed Max Verstappen.

The Red Bull driver struggled during qualifying, ending up more than four tenths slower than Leclerc and only 0.009 seconds quicker than the McLaren of Lando Norris.

Carlos Sainz Jr was sixth fastest, just over a tenth slower than his teammate, to signal McLaren’s strong performance throughout practice and qualifying.

This was a fine qualifying performance for McLaren. Two drivers in the top 6. Kudos to Norris and Sainz with this excellent result.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was only seventh, 1.480 seconds off the pace, having abandoned his first qualifying run.

Vettel reported a missed upshift gear change, and also had a moment at Turn 1 and a later off-track excursion on his first run, then was not able to string together a strong lap on his second set of soft tyres.

This was a disappointing result for the four-time champion. Seems Vettel is not in the right frame of mind considering the controversial moment in Canada and the constant media pressure.

Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo was eighth, just over a tenth slower than Vettel and ahead of Pierre Gasly.

Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi was P10, although his one attempt in Q3 did not go well after his late lap in Q2 allowed him to make the final stage of qualifying.

Eight of the top ten will start the race on mediums having used that tyre to set their Q2 times, the exceptions being Giovinazzi and Gasly – who both used softs.

Toro Rosso driver Alex Albon was bumped down to P11 at the end of Q2 by Gasly, who nicked the final Q3 slot by just four-hundredths of a second.

Kimi Raikkonen was unable to match teammate Giovinazzi’s late-session pace and ended up P12, just ahead of Nico Hulkenberg – who attempted to make it through to the top ten shootout using mediums on his second run.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez was P14, seven-tenths faster than the Haas of Kevin Magnussen.

Daniil Kvyat, who must start at the back thanks to grid penalties for taking Honda’s ‘Spec 3’ turbocharger and V6 – on top of other engine component offences – was fastest of those eliminated in Q1.

Kvyat was bumped in the final moments of the session by Toro Rosso teammate Albon, who is not running the latest-spec components.

Haas driver Romain Grosjean was knocked into the dropzone by improvements from Perez and Ricciardo, with his attempt to escape by the rear stepping out in the chicane and spitting him off track.

Lance Stroll continued this season’s run of Q1 eliminations in P18 place having jumped back ahead of the Williams of George Russell on his final attempt.

Russell is carrying two 10-place grid penalties after the Williams team was forced to change his Mercedes control electronics and energy store following an electrical power loss that restricted him to four laps in final practice.

He qualified P19 after moving onto his third control electronics and energy store of the season, having already changed both following his bizarre drain strike during Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice.

Russell outpaced team-mate Robert Kubica by 0.416 seconds in the battle for P19, but Kubica is set to start P18 thanks to penalties for others.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton with the French Grand Prix qualifying result. Another Mercedes front row with Valtteri Bottas joining his Silver Arrows colleague at the front. Going to be fascinating race in terms of the championship.

French Grand Prix qualifying results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m28.319s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m28.605s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m28.965s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m29.409s
5 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m29.418s
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m29.522s
7 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m29.799s
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m29.918s
9 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 1m30.184s
10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m33.420s
11 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 1m30.461s
12 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m30.533s
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m30.544s
14 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m30.738s
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m31.440s
16 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m31.626s
17 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m31.726s
18 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m32.789s
19 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1m33.205s
20 Daniil Kvyat Toro RossopHonda 1m31.564s

Hamilton takes controversial victory following Vettel penalty

Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari were denied a first victory of the 2019 Formula 1 season following a five-second time penalty for forcing a driver off track. This handed the Canadian Grand Prix victory to rival Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel led the majority of the race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve but was demoted to second position by a penalty picked up after running wide at the first chicane and almost colliding with Hamilton as he rejoined.

That handed Hamilton his fifth win of the season and maintained Mercedes’ perfect winning record after seven races.

Vettel had a big enough advantage to hold on to second position, as Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc completed the podium.

Ferrari was in contention to end its winless start to the season after Vettel kept Hamilton at bay through the opening stint, then came under increasing pressure in the second half of the race.

Hamilton dropped to almost five seconds behind Vettel of extending his first stint by a couple of laps, but had stronger pace on the hard tyres and quickly caught the Ferrari.

In nine laps he reduced Vettel’s lead and moved within DRS range, then briefly fell out of it again after a lock-up at the hairpin.

But the two started lap 48 of the 70 Hamilton was closer to Vettel again, and Vettel took to the grass at the first chicane after briefly losing the rear of his car on corner entry.

Vettel took a trip over the grass and rejoined just as Hamilton tried to move into the gap between the scrambling Ferrari and the wall on the exit of the corner.

Hamilton backed out to avoid a collision and Vettel maintained his lead, but was punished after a lengthy investigation by the race stewards.

Vettel never came close to building a big enough gap to cancel out the penalty and complained over the race that the officials were “stealing the race” from Ferrari.

Hamilton finished 1.4 seconds behind at the flag, which became a 3.6 seconds winning margin and extended his points lead to 29 points – after a pre-race scare when his team rushed to replace his car’s hydraulics system.

Leclerc ended up one second behind Vettel in the final race results, with Ferrari’s first double podium finish of the season scant consolation for the Italian team.

Valtteri Bottas was left a distant fourth place as a Mercedes driver finished off the podium for the first time in 2019.

Bottas only qualified sixth and fell behind the second Renault of Nico Hulkenberg on lap one, then struggled to make progress on medium tyres with his immediate rivals on softs.

He eventually worked his way through to fourth and picked up a bonus point for fastest lap after building up a big enough gap for a free second pitstop near the end.

Max Verstappen recovered to fifth place after starting ninth, running a long first stint on hard tyres before passing the Renaults of Daniel Ricciardo and Hulkenberg after switching to mediums at the end.

Ricciardo withstood a late assault from Hulkenberg to finish sixth, with Pierre Gasly only eighth for Red Bull despite starting fifth – having lost ground in traffic after an early pitstop.

Lance Stroll fought through to ninth and banked two points in his home grand prix, despite his Racing Point being fitted with an older-spec engine after a fiery failure in final practice.

Daniil Kvyat completed the point scorers for Toro Rosso.

Despite an ultra-hot day that prompted major braking and temperature problems for the teams, there were only two retirements.

Lando Norris was first to stop, suffering a peculiar failure after eight laps that left his McLaren on three wheels, while Alex Albon – who picked up wing damage at the start – retired 11 laps from the finish.

So a controversial Canadian Grand Prix, with the deserved winner was denied race victory. Sebastian Vettel feels angry with the race stewards’ decision and just heartbroken that the sport of racing has been ruined.

As for Lewis Hamilton, congratulations in winning the race for the seventh time. The Mercedes driver is now the most successful Canadian Grand Prix winner.

Canadian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 70 1h29m07.084s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 70 3.658s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 70 4.696s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 70 51.043s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 70 57.655s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 69 1 Lap
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 69 1 Lap
8 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 69 1 Lap
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 69 1 Lap
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 69 1 Lap
11 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 69 1 Lap
12 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 69 1 Lap
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 69 1 Lap
14 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 69 1 Lap
15 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 69 1 Lap
16 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 68 2 Laps
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 68 2 Laps
18 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 67 3 Laps
– Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 59 Retirement
– Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 8 Brakes

Drivers’ standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 162
2 Valtteri Bottas 133
3 Sebastian Vettel 100
4 Max Verstappen 88
5 Charles Leclerc 72
6 Pierre Gasly 36
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. 18
8 Daniel Ricciardo 16
9 Kevin Magnussen 14
10 Sergio Perez 13
11 Kimi Raikkonen 13
12 Lando Norris 12
13 Nico Hulkenberg 12
14 Daniil Kvyat 10
15 Alexander Albon 7
16 Lance Stroll 6
17 Romain Grosjean 2
18 Antonio Giovinazzi 0
19 George Russell 0
20 Robert Kubica 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 295
2 Ferrari 172
3 Red Bull-Honda 124
4 McLaren-Renault 30
5 Renault 28
6 Racing Point-Mercedes 19
7 Toro Rosso-Honda 17
8 Haas-Ferrari 16
9 Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 13
10 Williams-Mercedes 0

Vettel scores his first pole of 2019 in Canada

Sebastian Vettel achieved his first pole position of the 2019 Formula 1 season in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix by snatching the top spot in the final moments of Q3.

The Scuderia Ferrari driver was second fastest after the first runs in Q3, but put in a superb lap to jump ahead of title rival Lewis Hamilton and take pole by 0.206 seconds.

Hamilton did improve on his second run, but only by 0.047 seconds, which was more than enough to ensure he retained a front-row starting position.

As for Charles Leclerc, he had a slow run in the final sector on his final lap and ended up almost four tenths slower than Hamilton in third position.

The Ferrari driver faces an investigation after the session for rejoining the track at Turn 8/9 after driving on the wrong side of the marker bollard earlier in qualifying.

All of the top three will start on medium-compound Pirellis having used that tyre spec in Q2, as will Valtteri Bottas.

Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo claimed an impressive fourth on the grid, beating Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly by just 0.008 seconds.

Bottas abandoned his first run in Q3 after spinning exiting Turn 2 and had a difficult lap on his second set of tyres. The Mercedes driver suffered several lock-ups and ended up down in sixth, 0.861 seconds off the pace.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was seventh ahead of the McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz.

Sainz was 2.1 seconds slower than Norris after aborting his final lap having had to run on a used set of softs to set his time on the first run.

Sainz will be investigated after the qualifying session for impeding Toro Rosso driver Alex Albon in Turn 2 during Q1.

Kevin Magnussen was tenth but was unable to take part in Q3 following a crash on the exit of the final corner on his final push lap in Q2 and bringing a premature end to the session.

The Haas driver lost the rear out of the final part of the chicane and tagged the wall before spinning heavily into the pitwall on the inside of the track.

Magnussen’s crash led to the elimination of Red Bull driver Max Verstappen in Q2 in P11, as he was on a lap on soft Pirellis at the time that would have got him comfortably into the top ten shootout.

Verstappen had used mediums for his first run in Q2 in the hope of being able to start on the more durable tyre, but didn’t hook up a strong enough lap and complained about traffic, forcing him to go again.

Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat only had one set of fresh softs for Q2, putting in a lap good enough for P12 and beating Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi.

Alex Albon was P14 fastest ahead of the Haas of Romain Grosjean and suggested his tyre preparation was compromised by having to rush out at the start of his final run after being delayed by the weighbridge.

Grosjean did not set a time in Q2 thanks to only having one set of fresh softs and then being caught out by Magnussen’s crash ahead of him on his quick lap.

Racing Point driver Sergio Perez didn’t improve by enough as he took the chequered flag in Q1 to escape the drop zone.

He jumped up to P16, 0.033 seconds faster than Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen – who had been bumped by teammate Antonio Giovinazzi a few seconds earlier.

Lance Stroll continued his run of Q1 exits in P18, although he switched to his early-season engine after suffering a failure of his new ‘Phase 2’ Mercedes in Saturday’s practice session and lapped just 0.069 seconds slower than teammate Perez.

As usual, the Williams drivers battled it out for last place with George Russell P19 and 1.351 seconds behind Stroll.

While the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix winner Robert Kubica will start last after lapping 0.776 seconds slower than his teammate.

So a fantastic pole position for Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari. This is what Formula 1 needed after the dominance of Mercedes. Fingers crossed the fight back by the Scuderia begins, for the sake of the championship.

Canadian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m10.240s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m10.446s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m10.920s
4 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m11.071s
5 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 1m11.079s
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m11.101s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m11.324s
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m11.863s
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m13.981s
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari –
11 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m11.800s
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1m11.921s
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m12.136s
14 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 1m12.193s
15 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari –
16 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m12.197s
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m12.230s
18 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m12.266s
19 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m13.617s
20 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1m14.393s