Daily Archives: June 10, 2012

Hamilton snatches late win in Canada

Lewis Hamilton took a well-deserved victory at today’s Canadian Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver inherited the lead at the first round of stops, but was forced to work hard to re-take it at the end. Varying pit strategies meant he tussled his way back into the lead with only a few laps left. Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez were blessed with last-gasp podiums, while Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso fell back to 4th and 5th. Meanwhile, Jenson Button had a horrific race, eventually finishing 16th. Here is what happened:

Vettel opens up his trademark lead at the start

Vettel opens up his trademark lead at the start

At the start, Vettel retained his lead to the first corner, while Nico Rosberg went side-by-side with Mark Webber. However, he was pushed wide, and was challenged by Felipe Massa.

The Ferrari driver got the slip on Rosberg on lap 2, and moved into 5th position. The Mercedes was much slower, and held up a massive group of cars. Paul di Resta was next to pass the German driver.

After clearing Rosberg, Massa began to catch Mark Webber ahead, but spun at turn 1, dropping the Brazilian to 12th place.

With damaged tyres, he was the first to pit on lap 13, taking on the prime tyres. 5th-placed Di Resta was the next to stop, releasing a huge stream of cars behind. Despite starting on the harder tyres, Jenson Button decided to pit early to change tyres. It failed to improve his race though, dropping him into the middle of the field.

Massa spins and ruins his race

Massa spins and ruins his race

In the middle of the pit stop window, Hamilton was right up Vettel’s gearbox. To avoid a battle, Vettel was the first to pit. However, it wasn’t enough to stop Lewis from undercutting the Red Bull.

This left Fernando Alonso in the lead of the race. He was next to pit, and he emerged ahead of the battling duo. It didn’t last for long though, as Hamilton used DRS to sail past the Ferrari.

While Hamilton began to push out a lead, Alonso struggled for grip, and fell into the clutches of Vettel. Meanwhile, Button’s miserable race continued – unable to pass Schumacher in 12th, he pitted for another set of super-softs on lap 34.

Further back, Michael Schumacher put a brave move on Kamui Kobayashi for 11th. It was short-lived though, as the Sauber driver used DRS on the back straight to recover his position.

Nico Rosberg stopped again on lap 39, out of sync with the rest of the pack. His strategy saw him 9th, but he swiftly made up 2 places at the expense of Sergio Perez and Kimi Raikkonen.

Lewis Hamilton pitted from the lead with 20 laps to go, but yet another slow pit stop cost him time. Despite this slip, he was instantly on the pace on his new primes. In the battle for 5th, Nico Rosberg ran wide at turn 14, losing places to Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez. Perez sliced past the Ferrari, quickly followed by Nico the following lap. It became clear that Massa’s tyres were shot, and he pitted for the third time.

A DRS failure leaves Schumacher out

A DRS failure leaves Schumacher out

An interesting stategical mix-up meant that Alonso and Vettel couldn’t pit alongside Hamilton, as there was no window in which they could emerge. Because of this, both drivers were ordered to stay out until the end, and they were soon being caught by Hamilton.

With 7 laps to go, Vettel was wheel-to-wheel with the McLaren, but opted to allow Hamilton through, as he pitted soon after. This left Alonso all alone to battle the charging Brit.

With 5 laps to go, Lewis got right up next to Alonso at L’Epingle, and easily re-took the lead. Vettel’s stop meant that Romain Grosjean was up to 3rd. He wasn’t satisfied with that though, and forced his way past Fernando for 2nd place.

Amazingly, it still wasn’t over for the Ferrari driver. With massively degrading tyres, it was easy pickings for Sergio Perez, and the Sauber driver snatched a podium finish on the 68th lap. Despite pitting only a few laps before, Sebastian Vettel found his way past the ailing Ferrari.

There were a few surprise faces on the podium

There were a few surprise faces on the podium

Amidst all the last-gasp action, Lewis Hamilton was able to cruise the last few laps to an amazing victory. He was joined on the podium by Grosjean and Perez, as they both stayed out for over 50 laps. Sebastian Vettel was 4 seconds a lap faster than Hamilton on the last lap, and was 4th. Fernando Alonso led a train of cars home – Rosberg, Webber, and Raikkonen.

Lewis’ win means that we have now seen 7 winners in 7 races, and 6 championship leader changes in the same period.