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Vettel puts pedal to metal in Montreal

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Canadian Grand Prix champion Sebastian Vettel celebrates with a pair of Mounties Sunday.

GRAHAM HUGHES / THE CANADIAN PRESS Enlarge Image

Canadian Grand Prix champion Sebastian Vettel celebrates with a pair of Mounties Sunday.

MONTREAL -- Triple world champion Sebastian Vettel coasted to victory from pole position at the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon.

The Red Bull driver finished the 70-lap race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve 14.4 seconds ahead of second-place Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.

Vettel lapped every other car in the field except for the top five finishers. He posted an average speed of 123.503 miles per hour.

"I was pushing hard in the beginning to open a gap," Vettel said. "It's Canada. You usually go close to the walls. Sometimes I was closer than I wanted but fortunately I didn't crash. I was trying to open as much of a gap as I could. I had a lot of pace early in the race."

Alonso bumped defending champion Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes to third place with a pass heading into the 63rd lap after a long battle.

"It was nice to race with such talented drivers, such intelligent drivers," Alsonso said. "You fight at 300 kph and you feel safe. you're racing and competing. It can go your way or the other way but this is real racing."

The second Red Bull driven by Mark Webber was fourth with Nico Rosberg's Mercedes in fifth and a season-best sixth place for Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rossi. Paul Di Resta of Force India was seventh.

Kimi Raikkonen tied Michael Schumacher's record of 24 consecutive races in the points with a ninth-place finish.

Vettel won the Canadian race for the first time, after finishing second in 2011 and fourth two other times. He was heard to yell over his radio to his pit crew: "we won Canada, thanks boys."

The city's contract with F1 expires after the 2014 race. Quebec Premier Pauline Marois says she hopes to reach a new agreement, but talks have reportedly been slowed because the federal government is hesitant to increase its portion of the $15-million annual contribution

"To me, this race belongs 100 per cent on the calendar because us drivers really appreciate seeing grandstands sold out, all of the people enthusiastic, the whole town living the Grand Prix," Vettel said.

The German is on pace for a fourth straight Formula One title. It was his third win in seven races this season. He was never threatened on a warm and -- importantly -- dry day at the track.

A rainy qualifying session left quick and slower cars scattered through the starting grid, including rookie Valtteri Bottas in third position for Williams. There was high anticipation of what would happen at the start, particularly as cars crowd together through the first chicane.

Bottas dropped a few places and held on for several laps before falling back.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 10, 2013 C6

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