Sebastian Vettel wins Canadian Grand Prix for 50th career victory

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Before the race, 1997 champion Jacques Villeneuve drove the No. 12 Ferrari his late father Gilles used to win the 1978 Canadian GP in the parade lap.

The third and only other retirement was a gutted Ferdinand Alonso when the McLaren driver had to take his auto back to the box in his 300th grand prix race after racing so very well.

Vettel also took the lead in drivers standings by a single point over Mercedes ace Lewis Hamilton, who struggled early with engine overheating problems but rallied to finish fifth.

In a tight and intriguing contest between the three leading teams, Vettel clocked a best lap in a record one minute, 10.764 seconds to secure his 54th pole position and outpace nearest rival Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes and Dutchman Max Verstappen.

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Vettel replied when told the year of Ferrari's last pole position in Canada.

But Bottas and Hamilton may have been set back by the team's inability to get an updated engine ready in time for the race, while Ferrari and Red Bull both had new parts. We knew in Q3 it would be a bit harder for us but to be still so close was good.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has hinted that Red Bull Racing is ready to take a gamble on Honda power units for the 2019 Formula 1 season, with a decision set to be made before the Austrian Grand.

"It was a good day", Verstappen said.

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The semi-permanent track combines long straights with tight chicanes and each team sets up their auto to maximize straight line speed, although the cars also need to deliver a good ride over the relatively tall curbs. "In the race, it all calms down a bit so that's why I think we're always a bit more competitive in the race".

It meant Hamilton lost a place to Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo at his stop, and the Briton had a nervy moment when Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen emerged alongside him after his much later stop.

Vettel sees another chance to honour the memory of Gilles Villeneuve, who died in a crash at the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix, with a Ferrari win. On a track like this when you have to attack kerbs so much it's important you feel at home and have confidence to play around and I think then you can extract a bit more from the auto.

"It's still a long way, so I'm not too bothered to be honest", he said of reclaiming the points lead.

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