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Vettel sets record straight

Wins in Canada for the first time,extends stranglehold over championship; Alonso finishes second

Three straight Formula One championships have done more than a little to ease Sebastian Vettel’s disappointment over his previous failures to win the Canadian Grand Prix.

“I wasn’t desperate to win here,’’ he said after cruising to his third victory of the year and his first at the 2.71-mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. “We’ve had strong results in the past and I wasn’t ashamed coming here having not won this race. So I wasn’t desperate when I got up this morning and thought,‘I have to win. I have to win.’’’

Starting from the pole in Montreal for the third year in a row,Vettel finally converted it into a win on Sunday. The Red Bull driver survived an early brush with a wall and late trouble in Turn 1 to finish 14.4 seconds ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari.

Vettel picked up 25 points to extend his lead in the championship standings to 36 points over Alonso,who picked up 18 points to jump past Lotus’ Kimo Raikkonen and into second place. Raikkonen finished ninth for two points and now trails the leader by 44 points.

“Obviously you don’t have to be a genius to know that you get more points than anybody else for that result … but the championship is still long,’’ Vettel said,noting that there are five months and 12 races remaining on the Formula One calendar. “I’m happy to stand on the grid and focus on the race,trying to win. And the rest we will see later on if we are still in a strong position.’’

Two years ago,Vettel came in second here after a slight skid in the rain on the final backstretch allowed Jenson Button to pass him and take the checkered flag. He also has two fourth-place finishes at the race. But this time he led for 67 of the 70 laps,giving up the pace only when he made an early pit stop.

After the practice and qualifying were slowed by rain,the sun came out Sunday. That gave Vettel a clear path to the checkered flag in 1 hour,32 minutes,9.143 seconds. “We’ve had good races here before,but it didn’t come together to win,’’ Vettel said on the victory podium. “It made up for that today. Great feeling. Great car by the team and we were really able to pull away from the rest of the field.’’

Alonso passed Lewis Hamilton,the 2012 winner,at the start-finish line in the 62th lap and held on for second place. Vettel’s teammate,Mark Webber,was fourth after running the fastest lap of the day,1:16.182,on the penultimate lap. Monaco winner Nico Rosberg was fifth.

“We just weren’t quite on the pace of Seb and Fernando,’’ Hamilton said. ”It would have been nice to have kept second place,of course,but Fernando was very quick today and it was difficult to keep him behind. I got close to taking the place back but he was just that little bit too fast.’’

By the end,the Red Bull car had lapped every other in the field except for the top five finishers. The dry track was good for Vettel but not for rookie Valtteri Bottas,who made the second row for the first time in his career. He said after qualifying that his car would not be able to compete on a dry track — and he was right,quickly falling out of the top 10 before stabilising his position and eventually finishing 14th. With his ninth-place finish,Raikkonen tied Michael Schumacher’s record of recording a point in 24 consecutive finishes.

Force India’s double

Sahara Force India celebrated its 100th race in style,scoring seven points with Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil finishing in seventh and 10th places respectively at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Starting 17th on the grid,Di Resta drove a magnificent race and climbed to seventh position which he managed to maintain to pocket six points at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.

Marshal dies after freak accident

A marshal at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal was killed on Sunday when he was run over by a mobile crane at the end of the Formula One race,the sport’s governing body said. The International Automobile Federation (FIA) released a statement saying the marshal,a member of the Notre Dame Automobile Club,had died in a Montreal hospital from the injuries he sustained.

The marshal died while removing the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez,who crashed out on lap 63.

The FIA did not identify the marshal. “The worker was helping to recover a car which had stopped during the race,” said the statement.

“The recovery vehicle had lifted the car to return it to the pits and while doing this the worker dropped his radio and attempted to pick it up. As he did this,he stumbled and was hit and run over by the recovery vehicle.”

The FIA said the worker was transferred by helicopter to the Sacre-Coeur hospital in Montreal for treatment but his injuries were too severe and he died.

The worker was the first marshal killed at a Formula One race in over 12 years. The last was Graham Beveridge,who was killed at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix when he was struck by a tyre that flew through a gap in the safety fencing after Jacques Villeneuve and Ralf Schumacher had collided.

His death had come just six months after another marshal was killed at the 2000 Italian Grand Prix,prompting a review of safety at race tracks.

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