Race Report: Vettel penalty gives Hamilton Canadian GP win

As Formula 1 entered the Canadian Grand Prix weekend in Montreal, there was a theme to the 2019 season already and apart from Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas fans, you might find that the storyline for the year so far was a bit oppressive. Mercedes has dominated every race so far this season with a 1, 2 finish with little hope of Ferrari taking the fight to them or anyone else for that matter.

It has been this way since the regulations changed in 2014 with five titles on the trot and the season looks all but sewn up entering the 7th race of the year. You can imagine the F1 fanbase stirring from their comas slightly when Ferrari took pole position for the race on one of the few tracks that may give them the ability to run with Mercedes.

Could Ferrari manage to convert Sebastian Vettel’s pole lap into a win and hold off the Mercedes duo? The answer is yes but in doing so, Vettel ran wide at turn three as he was following lapped traffic, lost the rear and glided through the small run-off area made of grass. As he slid through the grass area and back on to the track, he barely managed to keep control of the car and in doing so, squeezed Hamilton wide but retained the lead.

For that action, the FIA stewards handed Vettel a 5s penalty which reduced him to second place and also created some anger in the German in the process that required a very circuitous route to parc fermé prior to standing on the podium.


A win for Ferrari who managed to perform at the one track their car had a slight advantage at. The long straights meant their straight-line speed was going to be difficult for Mercedes to cover and it proved to be for most of the race. Vettel drove a good race weekend with pole and then trying to manage overheating brakes, fuel and pace. He was in a conservation race against a speed and power competitor and that’s not easy to manage.

A big win for Daniel Ricciardo and Renault for reasserting themselves in the best-of-the-rest hunt by finishing in 6th place with a spirited and determined race from the Aussie. His teammate, Nico Hulkenberg had a great run to finish 7th even though he was having gearbox issues for most of the race. Renault brought upgrades and Ricciardo said they were legit, will they be for the balance of the season and are Renault back in the hunt?

A win for hometown hero Lance Stroll who managed to bring his Racing Point car home in 9th with good strategy but also a good drive and passing to secure points for his dad’s team.

A win for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who started the race on the back foot but managed to claim 5th and also for junior team, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat who took the final point in 10th.

A win for Mercedes who had a damaged car on Friday, after Lewis hit the wall, and then a serious hydraulic issue with his car just ahead fo the race as well as a brake line bleeding event on the grid just minutes before the start. Great teamwork.


A big fail for the FIA and Formula 1. The penalty was nonsensical and even some of the most ardent Hamilton fans I know were a bit sheepish about this win. Lewis said it isn’t how he wanted to win and it wasn’t his decision but he was quick on the radio to ask the team to check with race control regarding the incident. To be fair, if you are Lewis or Mercedes, that’s what you do in situations like this but that is where the FIA stewards need to have perspective. The penalty ruined the first competitive race of the entire season and the crowd in Canada could be heard with their displeasure.

Armchair drivers in social media had it all sussed out as to how Vettel could have turned slighty here and there and lifted this much…not one of them, in the same situation, would be able to keep it out of the wall and Seb did. He re-entered the track with opposite lock still on trying to collect the car and keep it going. There’s no shortage of Lewis Hamilton fans on the Sky Sports F1 crew and all of them agreed that it was the wrong call.

A fail for Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly who started toward the front but finished in 8th well behind his teammate. He was in a position to pick up the mantle due to Verstappen’s poor qualifying but didn’t.

A fail for McLaren who looked poised to be best-of-the-rest this weekend but both drivers sank out of the points.


A WTH for Lando Norris’s brakes system that seemed to catch fire and destroy his right-rear suspension after running very well early on.

A WTH for Haas F1 with the radio message from Kevin Magnussen saying it was the worst car he has ever driven and some back and forth with the tired team who stayed up all night trying to fix his car after he crashed it in qualifying. Perspective, Kevin.

Canadian GP results

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes701h29m07.084s
2Sebastian VettelFerrari703.658s
3Charles LeclercFerrari704.696s
4Valtteri BottasMercedes7051.043s
5Max VerstappenRed Bull/Honda7057.655s
6Daniel RicciardoRenault691 Lap
7Nico HulkenbergRenault691 Lap
8Pierre GaslyRed Bull/Honda691 Lap
9Lance StrollRacing Point/Mercedes691 Lap
10Daniil KvyatToro Rosso/Honda691 Lap
11Carlos Sainz Jr.McLaren/Renault691 Lap
12Sergio PerezRacing Point/Mercedes691 Lap
13Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo/Ferrari691 Lap
14Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari691 Lap
15Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo/Ferrari691 Lap
16George RussellWilliams/Mercedes682 Laps
17Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari682 Laps
18Robert KubicaWilliams/Mercedes673 Laps
Alexander AlbonToro Rosso/Honda59Retirement
Lando NorrisMcLaren/Renault8Brakes

Driver’s Championship

1Lewis Hamilton162
2Valtteri Bottas133
3Sebastian Vettel100
4Max Verstappen88
5Charles Leclerc72
6Pierre Gasly36
7Carlos Sainz Jr.18
8Daniel Ricciardo16
9Kevin Magnussen14
10Sergio Perez13
11Kimi Raikkonen13
12Lando Norris12
13Nico Hulkenberg12
14Daniil Kvyat10
15Alexander Albon7
16Lance Stroll6
17Romain Grosjean2
18Antonio Giovinazzi0
19George Russell0
20Robert Kubica0

Constructor’s Championship

3Red Bull/Honda124
6Racing Point/Mercedes19
7Toro Rosso/Honda17
9Alfa Romeo/Ferrari13
Overall Race
race-report-vettel-penalty-gives-hamilton-canadian-gp-winAn unfortunate way to impact what was turning out to be a great battle for the win.
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Peter makes some great points



Stay on the race track then you don’t need to worry about these specific regulations

Heath Newland

Maybe some people at the Chicago F1 experience ( just stupid for the regular Fan) won a steward for the day job.


A few years ago I was on course to win a Formula Ford race at Watkins Glen. However, I lost control of the car in turn 10 on the 3rd to final lap, came back onto the track in a way that could be argued as “unsafe”, and I was immediately black flagged. Like Vettel, everyone had A LOT of sympathy for me……right up until I came back into the pits and threw my toys out of my pram and acted like a stupid child. I’m sorry Seb, I feel the pain mate, but you cannot act like that.

Mark Lobo

For me the point is fairly simple, if Vettel had not left the track, he would have perhaps won. LH44 was putting him under pressure and perhaps that pressure caused him to run off. It is by keeping your opponent under pressure, that you can sometimes win. Still, you know more about this than I do.


Here is the thing: Seb was indeed in violation of the rule…..people are upset though because it’s a silly rule. It is a silly rule because it is a rule that hampers entertaining racing (you could also argue hybrid engines do that, but we won’t go there). My point is though, Sebs behavior after killed any sympathy I had for him.


In club racing, you do not need to let a car back on track after it has gone 4 wheels off the course. If competitor ahead goes 4 wheels off I will do what I can to not let them back on the track, even if I have to go off of the normal racing line. A quick cut back in front by a competitor coming back on track would most likely result in contact of my choosing.


Niki Lauda would say “Dats total Bewlchit”.


Niki Lauda would have said stay on the race track


I’m going to be the minority and think the stewards made decision in the right direction, but mostly that they were correct to put a blame on Vettel. I think the main question we should ask is whether or not Hamilton had the pace to get right past Vettel after Vettel made the mistake. If he did, then it means that Vettel hampered the pass by means which are generally disallowed. Either by intentionally going a bit wide after returning to the track, or by not being able to respect the rules due to his own mistake to allow a… Read more »

Fast Freddy

Lewis was really putting the pressure on Vettel and I’m sure he would have made a move before the end of the race. Then the penalty and it seemed he kind of gave up. He smartly took the prudent way to the win depriving us of a desperate dive for the lead and the resulting pass or a horrible crash. Either way a more exciting finish for the fans.


The reason why what happened today is so gutting is it highlights the biggest threat to F1: they have backed themselves into so many corners they cant get out. The FIA can’t sit there and have a “let them race, and bugger the consequences” attitude and then on the other hand say “safety is EVERYTHING!!!”. It is no different than F1 trying to be “green” and environmentally friendly, and yet still go racing all over the world. It doesn’t work. And now they are backing themselves into corners where you can’t let the drivers race, you can’t let them have… Read more »


The penalty is good news. Controversy is perhaps the only thing enticing BORED fans from switching off. F1 is regulated to death and only BS calls can spark interest now.

Tim C.

Question 1 – Did Seb break a rule written in the rule book? According to the stewards the answer is yes. I honestly don’t know since I’ve not read or seen the rule book. Question 2 – If the answer to Question 1 is yes, then what options did the stewards have available with regard to the penalty? Was the 5 second penalty all they had available for the punishment? We’re there other options available to them? Question 3 – Did the penalty fit the crime? That question may be debated for days/months to come. As I understand it, the… Read more »


Forcing LH into the wall is a “flagrantly unsafe action”


I’m sorry Seb made a mistake and violated the rule, as bad as that rule may be… I feel he has done a fabulous job of diverting attention to everyone else other than himself for robbing the fans of what was a good race from going to the very end. I honestly have to blame him for putting the decision in the hands of the stewards, and then doing his very best to garner Symathy from the Canadian Tifosi when he did not get the outcome he wanted. He left the track with his competitor at or near the DRS… Read more »


BTW, Monaco, perhaps just assign the teams Shifter Karts and tell them to leave their behemoth cars in the Shop. Also leave half the crew at home to leave more room for sponsor Big Wigs. What a tremendous cost savings and how much better racing would the fans get!!!


I was at this race, sitting on the hairpin. One thing I noticed was that Sainz actually had the energy-harvesting lights come on in his turn 10 exit in the late-middle of the race. That’s the very worst place on the whole track to harvest energy during the race, and it happened right as his 5-second lead on Stroll started to evaporate. McLaren must have somehow put him in totally the wrong engine mode at that point and I suspect that’s where things went wrong. He also very meekly let Kvyat past right after he lost the position to Stroll.


LH earned the win.

SV is distracting his audience from the fact he made a mistake under pressure from LH. Mistakes are the actual cause of SV problems NOT the penalties.


Find an interesting analysis covering 1. Mistake 2. Unsafe return to track 3. Intentional crowding of LH by SV