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F1: Vettel, Ferrari roll to victory in Canada

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Sebastian Vettel blitzed the field in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, taking off into the lead after starting on the pole, and leading all 70 laps to take an assertive victory on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The victory, Vettel’s third of the 2018 Formula 1 season, is his second triumph in Canada, and sees him retake the lead of the driver’s world championship over Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who finished fourth.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas tailed Vettel the entire way after fighting off Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen off the start, but Bottas never got nearly close enough to mount a challenge, though he did come home a solid second.

Verstappen completed a resurgent weekend for him, running a trouble-free race to round out the podium in third. Teammate Daniel Ricciardo overtook Hamilton during a sequence of pit stops to finish fourth, relegating Hamilton to a lowly fifth, the Briton having battled a power unit issue during the race.

Kimi Raikkonen finished sixth, followed by the Renault teammates of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. in seventh and eighth. Force India’s Esteban Ocon finished ninth, while Sauber’s Charles Leclerc completed yet another solid race to finish in 10th, his third points finish of the season.

Of note: the race was interrupted by a Safety Car for a scary Lap 1 crash involving Williams’ Lance Stroll and Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley. The two ran side-by-side on the run up to the second chicane, but Stroll broke loose and, upon correcting his FW41 chassis, drifted right into Hartley.

The two then clouted the outside wall together, with Hartley briefly getting airborne and going onto his side before coming back down right-side up. Both drivers climbed out unhurt, but their days were over on the spot.

Vettel now leads Hamilton by one point in the driver’s championship – Vettel with 121 points, and Hamilton with 120. Bottas also overtook Ricciardo for third in the championship, with 86 points to Ricciardo’s 84.

Full results can be viewed here. Formula 1 next heads to the Circuit Paul Ricard in two weeks for the return of the French Grand Prix on June 24.

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Dean Wilson’s life as a privateer reconnects the rider to his roots

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One of the added benefits of subscribing to NBC Sports Gold is the in-depth interviews from each Saturday’s action. Last week between the first and second rounds of qualification for the Glendale Supercross race, a relaxed and confident Dean Wilson joined Race Day Live’s Daniel Blair and Jim Holley to review his fourth-place finish in the season opener and his mindset moving forward.

Losing factory support from Rockstar / Husqvarna at the end of 2018 was not exactly what Wilson had in mind, but after getting off to a great start in the first two races this season, it may well have been a blessing in disguise.

The life of a privateer is not exactly relaxed, but it affords a rider the opportunity to call his own shots. For Wilson, it is also a way to reconnect with the grassroots feel that attracted him to Supercross in the first place.

“I think that’s what I like,” Wilson said on Race Day Live. “I think that’s the environment and atmosphere I like – it’s just more low key. At Anaheim I, you would think I was local racing at Glen Helen. I had a Sprinter and I had another trailer just to chill in, do my spins. It was so cold I had a little propane heater to warm me up. But I like that. That’s what works for me.”

MORE: Dean Wilson’s Cinderella story at Anaheim 

The program Wilson was able to put together during the offseason produced back-to back top 10s – a much better start to the 2019 season than he experienced last year.

In 2018, Wilson did not score a top 10 until his fourth feature at San Diego. His first top five would not come until late March in Indianapolis.

This year Wilson got the hole shot and led 14 laps at Anaheim in the opener before finishing fourth. Last week in Glendale, he finished eighth.

“What was going through my head was ‘it’s about time; it’s about five years too late to lead some laps here,’ ” Wilson described his emotion as he led at Anaheim. “It was nice because I did a lot of work in the off-season and my starts were really good. The thing is I haven’t over-analyzed my starts and practice.”

At Anaheim I, Wilson struggled with visibility as his goggles began to get fouled by mud. A once comfortable lead was eroded by Justin Barcia. With pressure from behind, Wilson made a minor mistake that was then compounded by lapped traffic.

“I was leading my laps; I was just trying to hit my marks. I was doing really well until I made a couple of mistakes. I couldn’t hit that middle double, double … the rut was getting real chewed out, but I was already on the right side where you couldn’t double the middle part so you had to go roll, roll, roll – and Barcia was already on me.”

Wilson’s pair of top 10s was enough to keep him fifth in the standings, three points behind Glendale’s winner Blake Baggett.

For more, watch the video above.

Next Race: Anaheim II Jan. 19, 11 p.m., NBCSN

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