The Canadian Grand Prix was not the most memorable of motor races, to say the least, but its implications could be profound.
At a track that Lewis Hamilton has effectively owned from the start of his Formula 1 career, taking six wins in the previous 10 races, Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari put in the sort of performance to give the Mercedes driver nightmares. It also meant he returned to the championship lead.
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff described it as a “major wake-up call” for his team but the reality, as Hamilton pointed out after the race, is that Ferrari have had the fastest car pretty much all year – even if only by a sniff. So the lead of the points race is exactly where Vettel ought to be at the one-third mark of the season.
Chequered Flag podcast – Canadian GP review
The margin of the win was not huge – seven seconds after 70 laps. Or 68, after the results were readjusted by two laps as regulations dictate after model Winnie Harlow, a friend of Hamilton, waved the chequered flag a lap too early.
That computes to 0.1secs a lap, pretty much exactly the margin by which Vettel took the pole position that was the foundation for the win. But that belies the almost total control Vettel had over the race.
It would be wildly exaggerating to say the German now has the same over the championship, but this race has certainly made Mercedes sit up and take notice.