The Canadian campaign is over and the votes are in. There were quite a few contenders, but after a recount, Badger’s Top Dog for Montreal is duly elected by the slimmest of margins.
Everyone loves a good old-fashioned recovery drive. That’s exactly what we got from Seb – and highly entertaining it was too. He was forced into recovery mode from the get go after Max Verstappen’s electrifying pass around the outside of Turn 1. The Dutchman clipped the Ferrari front wing as he muscled by, but unfortunately for Seb, the extent of the damage did not become clear until after an early Safety Car.
When the championship leader eventually pitted on lap five, he rejoined the race dead last. This enforced early stop meant he would have to stop again. With his main rival (and fellow Top Dog nominee) Lewis Hamilton having a perfect weekend up front, Vettel had it all to do if he was to keep a healthy points lead. And boy, did he deliver!
Yes, he has a very fast car, possibly the fastest on the grid. And, yes, Montreal is a track where you can actually overtake. But you still have to execute the moves with care and precision. Our Top Dog did just that, picking off driver after driver using his superior speed, perfectly timed pounces and yes, our dear old chum DRS!
Things got very tasty when he caught up with the feisty Force Indias eight laps from the chequered flag. With the whiff of a podium in the air, Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were squabbling with each in hot pursuit of Ricciardo ahead. Seb had to keep his wits about him or risk more bits of his car parting company from the chassis.
The last half dozen laps saw Seb at his very best. He finally dispensed with Ocon on Lap 66 after some heart stopping side-by-side action. After veering off at the hairpin, he then hustled past the other Force India. Seb probably fancied his chances of having a go at third-placed man Daniel Ricciardo too, but alas, he ran out of laps.
The gap to Hamilton in the drivers’ championship is now down to 12 points. Vettel should be very happy with his damage limiting display, not to mention his thoroughly deserved Top Dog award.
There were several candidates for this week’s Top Dog so some special mentions are in order. Esteban Ocon was a star. He quite rightly harangued the team to let him pass Perez, believing he had the better crack at getting on the podium. Badger is liking his style. Alas, Perez was non-compliant, leaving Ocon distinctly unchuffed.
Lewis Hamilton had the perfect weekend adding yet more milestones to his stellar 10-year career. He achieved the race grand slam, matched his hero Ayrton Senna in the pole position stakes and racked up his sixth victory at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Heck, he even got his face on a Canadian stamp! I’m sure that is some consolation for just missing out on Top Dog.
Next up, Baku. Join Badger for all the thrills and spills and Top Dog excitement. See you there.