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David Tremayne: Red Bull thrashes the opposition
11 June 2013
In his first exclusive feature on
, David Tremayne - three time Guild of Motoring Writers Journalist of the Year Award winner and multi-award winning F1 author - takes a look back over the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, where defending champion Sebastian Vettel stormed to a dominant win for Red Bull
By reputation, the low downforce Circuit Gilles Villeneuve isn't supposed to be a Red Bull track because it downplays the team's greatest advantage – aerodynamic download.
But they forgot to tell either Sebastian Vettel or Adrian Newey that, and the Milton Keynes served up one of its most crushing displays on the Ile Notre Dame.
Vettel blended the RB9's shattering speed with pole position and an almost perfect race performance in which crucially at the start he was able to exploit the car's ability to switch on its tyres, and was even able to swipe a wall on the tenth lap and go off the road in Turn One on the 52nd without even breaking into a sweat, let alone being challenged by anybody.
Perhaps had Alonso been able to qualify higher and not had to find the way past Nico Rosberg's Mercedes and Mark Webber's Red Bull he might have been able to deal sooner with Lewis Hamilton's Silver Arrow before Vettel got the 14.4s up the road that he was when the chequered flag fell, but that's long been the story at Ferrari.
On race pace the red cars looked very good, frighteningly good if you were Mercedes, Lotus or McLaren, and threatening if you were Red Bull, but this weekend the Milton Keynes team had everything going its way on another track where tyre degradation had much less effect than it did in Bahrain or Spain.
If Ferrari hadn't put Felipe Massa on two sets of supersoft Pirellis and had instead used one followed by two sets of mediums, it would have garnered better than second and eighth, but otherwise it was a great weekend for the Scuderia that was much-needed after Monaco.
It was good and bad for Mercedes; Hamilton was back on form, aided a little by slightly better feel from his Carbon Industrie brakes, but Rosberg suffered problems with them for the first time and also had poor tyre degradation which left him 54s adrift of the man he's overshadowed of late.
Lotus had another poor race which, coming so soon after Monaco, has dented their title challenge and dropped it behind Mercedes. Raikkonen suffered a soft brake pedal all through the race, but the major problem was insufficient grip in the prevailing 23 degree ambient temperature.
Force India continued its remarkable consistency, thanks to a brilliant drive by Paul di Resta who made a set of mediums last a whopping 56 laps after starting 17th, then ran to seventh on supersofts. It should have been seventh and eighth, despite an early spin for Adrian Sutil then an assault by Maldonado, but failure to use his mirrors earned him the drive through that dropped him to tenth. Nevertheless, that was enough to move the Silverstone team ahead of McLaren, who had another terrible race.
The Woking giant fell to sixth overall and, with Sergio Perez two-stopping to eleventh place and Jenson Button one-stopping to twelfth, lost its record of 64 consecutive world championship-scoring points finishes which goes back to the start of the 2010 season. Perez lacked grip, while Button blamed poor tyre strategy as the team misjudged the durability of the mediums and could have pushed harder. Even that would only have reaped a possible eighth place finish.
Toro Rosso also deserves mention, after an excellent drive by Jean-Eric Vergne saw him finish a strong sixth purely on merit.
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