Hamilton sweats for victory in Canada
Lewis Hamilton has won the Canadian Grand Prix in emphatic style overnight after mounting a late challenge for the lead at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Hamilton ran a two-stop strategy – countering the one-stop plans carried out by his fellow podium-sitters – to become the season’s seventh winner in seven races.
The three-time Canadian Grand Prix took the lead of the race on after the first round of pit stops on lap 20, but found himself in third after neither Alonso or Vettel opted to change tyres, running a one-stop race.
Hamilton was then forced to pass them on the track in the final eight laps to win the race, and take the lead of the World Championship standings.
‘Congratulations to the team, who never seem to give up,’ started Hamilton. ‘I knew this would be a tough race, but I loved every single minute of it.’
‘I never had a doubt in my ind that were was a possibility to win.
‘It’s still sinking in. It’s been five years since I won [my first race] here, but it feels just as good.’
Hamilton also thanked his fans for their patience over the first seven rounds of the season.
‘I want to dedicate this one to all the fans out there who always been so positive and supportive all year.’
Romain Grosjean stood on the second step of the podium after finding astonishing pace in his tyres despite running the soft tyre for almost fifty laps to the end of the race.
The Frenchman managed to unlock the pace of his Lotus-not-Lotus in the warm Canadian sunshine, which brought track temperatures well above 30 degrees.
Grosjean picked off Vettel and Alonso in the race’s closing stages despite running on the soft tyre for almost fifty laps to the end of the race.
‘We knew, with the heat, the car would be better today,’ explained Grosjean. ‘It felt pretty good, so i was trying to go for a one stop.’
‘It was a crazy end of race, the team did a fantastic job.’
Sergio Perez filled the final step on the podium, also finding himself in the box seat as he approached the ailing Vettel and Alonso.
Perez, who finished second in Malaysia earlier in the year, put his messy performances in recent Grands Prix behind him with a solid drive from P15 on the grid.
‘To be honest, we started fifteenth, the last thing we thought about was to end up on the podium,’ said Perez. ‘[But] I saw degradation was not so hard for me, and I managed my pace well.’
‘After such a bad day yesterday, today is just great. It’s a great boost for the team.
‘Hopefully we keep this way. It’s great to come back and do a podium for the team’
Vettel finished in P4 after a tyre change on lap 63 – when it became evident his tyres had expired after succumbing to Hamilton’s late charge. It was a disappointing result for the pole-sitter, who led up to the first pit stop window.
Fernando Alonso slipped from first to fifth in a matter of eight laps, as Ferrari mismanaged his tyres in an attempt to stop just once during the race, and lost control of the Championship as a result.
Nico Rosberg was Mercedes’ best finished after a hairy race that saw his position fluctuate – including a botched overtaking move on Felipe Massa. The German skipped the final chicane and had to hand the position back, and was then taken advantage of by Sergio Perez, and lost a place.
Mark Webber had an unsatisfying weekend, failing to find the sweet spot in his RBR-8. He qualified in fifth, and finished seventh.
Kimi Raikkonen overcame differential issues that left him outside the top ten in qualifying to finish eighth, the Fin being shown up by his younger teammate.
Kamui Kobayashi came home in ninth, while Felipe Massa rounded out the top ten. Massa had opportunities to move up the field, showing decent pace for much of the Grand Prix, but a series of mistakes throughout the race – including a spin at turn one on lap six – compromised his performance.
Outside the top ten finished Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg, Pastor Maldonado, Daiel Ricciardo, and Jean-Eric Vergne.
Jenson Button came home in P16 after yet another disappointing race. Button could not find the pace to advance from his P10 position, and slipped back through the field throughout the race.
It’s in stark contrast with his performance last year in Canada which saw him win the race from last position, and his commanding win in Australia at the beginning of the year.
Button has some serious work to do to recapture his form, lest he be left behind after being amongst the Championship favourite at the start of the season.
Bruno Senna finished in P17, ahead of Heikki Kovalinen, Vitaly Petrov, and Charles Pic.
Retirements from the Canadian Grand Prix include Timo Glock, Michael Schumacher, Pedro de la Rosa, and Narain Karthikeyan.
Schumacher’s retirement came on lap 45 when his DRS jammed open, forcing his team to withdraw the car.
It was a disappointing weekend for Schumacher, who crossed the line in Q3 four one-hundredths too late to set a flying lap, relegating him to P9.
His retirement in Montreal is the latest in a growing list of technical failures that have cost him significant points.
Sky F1 commentator David Croft went far enough to say that the seven-times World Champion could be leading the Championship standings were it not for his car’s unreliably record and bad luck.
Formula One returns for the 2012 Valencia Grand Prix in two weeks, on 24 June.