John Floyd
Motorsport columnist
2 minute read
12 Jun 2019
9:44 am

Canadian Grand Prix: Titanic battle turns sour

John Floyd

Last Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix saw an epic duel between Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes and the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, with victory for the reigning champion.

Charles Coates/Getty Images/AFP

The win had the media wires and social media platforms buzzing, stemming from an incident on lap 48. Hamilton pressured Vettel as they entered turn three and the German went off the track before regaining the tarmac in a move that led to Hamilton having to take evasive action.

Hamilton immediately said over his radio it was a dangerous move by Vettel. Vettel countered that he had nowhere to go and was battling to keep the car out of the barriers, with no idea where the Mercedes was.

It was the great battle all of us had been waiting for, a straight fight between the old rivals. But the stewards decided Vettel’s action was dangerous and applied a five-second time penalty, plus two points on his super licence. Effectively the race was over. So, despite crossing the line first, Vettel was demoted to second and he rather immaturely demonstrated his feelings.

Sadly some of the crowd booed Hamilton when he was speaking during the podium ceremony, which caused Vettel to interject, telling the crowd to desist, as what happened was a decision of the race stewards and had nothing to do with the Englishman.

Reports are that Ferrari will appeal the decision but normally such a penalty is not open to appeal. Whatever the outcome, Hamilton added another victory – one he did not relish, having said he does not like to win under such circumstances.

In my opinion, Hamilton won with Vettel second and Charles Leclerc third, showing a marked improvement in the SF90. Sadly the rules and regulations of Formula One have become so legalised that nothing is straightforward, with myriad penalties awaiting the unwary. On many occasions punishable infringements should just be racing incidents. So who was the loser? As far as I am concerned it was the fans and, critically, the sport itself.

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