Lewis Hamilton has won the Canadian Grand Prix for Mercedes in controversial fashion after Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel crossed the finish line first but was given a five-second penalty.
Vettel, who started from pole, took the chequered flag ahead of Hamilton on Sunday but there was no celebration in the Ferrari garage as the furious German was demoted to second after being slapped with the penalty for a dangerous re-entry after running off the track.
Under pressure from Hamilton, Vettel threw away the race on lap 48 when he went too hard into the turn-three chicane and ran on to the grass, returning to the circuit just ahead of the Briton who was forced to brake sharply or face being pushed into the wall.
The race continued with the incident under investigation and a few laps later when Vettel was told of the decision the four-time world champion exploded, venting his anger over the team radio.
“I had nowhere to go. Seriously, I had nowhere to go,” fumed Vettel.
“They are stealing the race from us.
“No, no, no, no, no, no,” continued Vettel.
“Seriously, you need to be an absolute blind man to let him pass and not control your car — where am I supposed to go?
“This is a wrong world, this is not fair.”
At the same time, Mercedes were telling Hamilton to just “stay in Vettel’s gearbox” and take a gifted victory.
“Not the way I wanted to win,” said Hamilton, after collecting his fifth win of the season and equalling Michael Schumacher’s Canadian record of seven victories on the island circuit.
With the exception of Mercedes, few in the huge crowd seemed happy with the outcome, loudly booing Hamilton during the winners’ ceremony which seemed to catch the Briton off-guard.
The decision to penalise Vettel allowed Mercedes to extend their season-long domination, making it seven wins in seven races, including five in one-two formation.
Hamilton’s Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas finished fourth.
Unhappy Ferrari took the other two places on the podium, Vettel in second and Charles Leclerc third.
Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo finished the race in sixth place; his best result so far this season.
After the race Vettel jumped out of his car and briefly disappeared. When he reappeared, glumly marching to the podium ceremony, he stopped to remove the number one marker in front of Hamilton’s Mercedes and replace it with the number two.
Vettel made it clear that he was not directing his anger at Hamilton but reserved all his venom for the stewards.
“People shouldn’t boo at Lewis because you saw what was going on; I don’t think there was any intention to be in harm’s way,” said Vettel.
“I had trouble to stay on track but the people shouldn’t boo at Lewis; if anything they should boo these funny decisions.”
More trouble could be heading the German’s way with fines and penalties for missing the post-race weigh-in and parc ferme.