Currently reading: F1 2018: Sebastian Vettel regains points lead in Canadian GP
Despite confusion after the chequered flag was waved early, Vettel regained F1 points lead with dominant victory in Montreal

Sebastian Vettel regained the Formula 1 points lead with a dominant victory in a Canadian Grand Prix that ended in confusion when the chequered flag was waved early.

The Ferrari driver led every lap of the race on the Montreal street circuit. The only real drama he encountered was when model Winnie Harlow waved the chequered flag too early. Although Vettel realised the error and completed the full 70 laps, race officials elected to declare the race early, with the result announced after 68 laps.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas finished second, having trailed Vettel throughout, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen third.

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Vettel’s title rival Lewis Hamilton could only finish fifth in his Mercedes after a tough race and now trails Vettel by a point in the title race.

Here’s what else we learned in the Canadian GP.

You can’t fool Vettel

Despite seeing the chequered flag waved early, Vettel was quick enough to realise he hadn’t completed the race distance — and kept on pushing. Noting that he had a lap count on his steering wheel and on his pit board, he said: “After I saw the flag, I told the team ‘I think the race isn’t over yet’ and they said ‘No, keep pushing’. Some of the marshals were already celebrating — I think they peaked a bit early. Most of them are men, so it might happen.”

Wake up call for Mercedes

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said his squad needed to “wake up” after a poor showing in Montreal.

Bottas was unable to match Vettel, while Hamilton only qualified fourth and dropped a place in the race when an engine cooling issue forced him to pit early.

After the race, Wolff told Austrian TV: “It’s a strong track for us, but all weekend we made little mistakes. This is a track where we should have maximised points. It was not about performing damage limitation.”

Stroll’s home woes

Canadian Lance Stroll had a tough time in his home race, with the Williams driver involved in a first lap clash with Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley.

New Zealander Hartley had been trying to pass Stroll on the opening lap when the latter had a brief wobble, causing the two to clash. Hartley was pitched into the air, with both cars hitting the barriers.

The two drivers were taken to the medical centre for checks, with Hartley moved to hospital for evaluation. He was later released.


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Stewards ruled the clash as a racing incident.

Groundhog slay

While Hartley was uninjured, not every animal was so lucky. A stray groundhog made a brief appearance on the track in one of the pre-race practice sessions and was struck by Hass's Romain Grosjean.

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James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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Scoobman 11 June 2018

Another Boring Race

This was the second boring race running. I really did fall asleep while watching it, and concluded that the sleep was a better use of my time when I awoke to find that nothing of interest had happened.

Actually, this season has been short on good races, so maybe I should view the highlights, as Peter suggests.

john2219 11 June 2018

Watched the edited highlights on youtube....

I Watched the edited highlights on youtube, they had trouble finding 5 minutes of excitment to fill the slot. 

Daniel Joseph 11 June 2018


That's another two hours of my life I'll never get back...