Tag Archives: Canadian GP

Marshal killed after Canadian Grand Prix in crane accident

A track marhsal has died at the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve this evening, after a post-race accident.

The marshal is believed to have been run over by a recovery crane, after tripping while attempting to pick up a radio. The marshal was too low for the crane operator to see, and was run over near Turn 1.

The accident occurred while the recovery team were moving Esteban Gutierrez’ stricken Sauber from the barriers of Turn 2. While he was transferred to the Sacre-Coeur hospital in Montreal, he passed away this evening.

The currently unnamed marshal is the first voluntary worker to be killed at a Formula 1 race since the 2001 Australian Grand Prix, when Graham Beveridge was hit by a wheel that came of Jacques Villeneuve’s car following an on-track collision.

My thoughts and condolences are with the marshal’s family at this time. Formula 1 could not operate without the support of thousands of these volunteer marhsals around the world, and they undertake risks every single race weekend to keep this sport running.

Vettel takes dominant Canadian Grand Prix win

Sebastian Vettel has taken a crushingly dominant victory today, winning the Canadian Grand Prix and extending his championship points lead.

Fernando Alonso recovered from 6th on the grid to take 2nd by the chequered flag, ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Further behind, Valtteri Bottas couldn’t hold his position in the race, while Paul di Resta and Jean-Eric Vergne had exceptional afternoons.

At the start, Vettel made a good getaway, while Valtteri Bottas was surrounded by the first corner. Mark Webber pounced on the Williams first, then Fernando Alonso sliced his way past soon after.

The top 5 – Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg, Webber, Alonso – were in a class of their own, immidiately pulling away from the rest of the field, and effectively setting up a separate Grand Prix. Jean-Eric Vergne led the rest of the pack, after putting a move on Bottas on Lap 6.

Adrian Sutil then tried to make a move on the young Finn, but promptly spun in the middle of Turn 3, forcing several drivers to take evasive action.

Kimi Raikkonen’s race pace failed to materialise. After failing to make considerable progress at the start, he got sandwiched in between Daniel Ricciardo and Felipe Massa in the opening stint.

Up front, Mercedes decided to split strategies between their two drivers, with Hamilton taking the medium compounds for his second stint, while Nico Rosberg took on the super-softs. Hamilton was aiming for a 1-stop race, as proved when he stayed out 6 laps longer than Vettel in the first stint.

Felipe Massa and Adrian Sutil did battle for 12th place. Their duel lasted for nearly 10 laps, with the Ferrari making every possible attempt to get past. Eventually, Felipe put a move on the Force India, and entered the battle for a points-scoring position.

Mark Webber was embroiled in a similar battle with Nico Rosberg, but the Red Bull’s high downforce setup was crippling him on the straights. Alonso soon caught up behind, and both drivers put a move on the Mercedes on Lap 32. Nico was instructed to conserve his tyres until the end of the race, and slipped back from the Red Bull and Ferrari.

Webber’s race was dealt a swift blow soon after though, as he clashed with backmarker Giedo van der Garde. The Caterham driver ignored blue flags entering the hairpin, and turned into Mark at the apex, damaging Webber’s front wing and putting the Dutchman back to front.

Despite doing his best to catch Hamilton instead, he was instead caught by Alonso behind, and was powerless to prevent the Ferrari diving down the inside of Turn 1 to take 3rd place.

Paul di Resta had made the option to start on the harder tyres at the start, and it paid off – he was as high as 7th during the race, and managed to drag 57 laps out of the prime tyre before he made his only stop.

It took until Lap 48 for the first retirement of the day, with Nico Hulkenberg clashing with Giedo van der Garde. The safety car was almost deployed due to the Caterham stopping out on track, but luckily for Vettel only double-waved yellows were shown. Sebastian made a rare mistake late in the race, slipping wide at Turn 1 and losing a few seconds, but had such a massive lead it didn’t even matter.

Felipe Massa continued his recovery after a dismal qualifying, and after an eventful battle with Adrian Sutil, dispatched of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen in the final few laps to take 8th place.

Hamilton’s second place came under threat in the final stint, with the ever-threatening Alonso hunting down the Mercedes. Adrian Sutil didn’t help proceedings, ignoring blue flags and holding up the Mercedes, costing Lewis precious seconds. With 5 laps to go, Alonso put a pass on Hamilton to snatch 2nd place.

Up front, Vettel was totally unchallenged, leading by 20 seconds until the chequered flag. Alonso and Hamilton completed the podium, with Webber and Rosberg falling back in the last stint. Jean-Eric Vergne was anonymous all race, but held on for an excellent 6th place, ahead of Paul di Resta. Massa and the two Lotuses completed the top 10.

Alonso has taken 2nd place in the championship off Kimi Raikkonen, but now lies 36 points off leader Vettel.

Vettel pips Hamilton for Canadian Grand Prix pole

Sebastian Vettel will start at the front of the grid for tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix, ending a thrilling qualifying session just ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas was the star of the day, earning a superb 3rd place on the grid in changeable conditions. Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen both struggled, while the McLarens and Felipe Massa didn’t even make it into Q3.

Q1

A shower before Q1 dampened the track, although many drivers tried an initial run on slicks, with little reward.

With a 10-place grid penalty for tomorrow, Romain Grosjean was hoping for a good performance to minimise the damage. However, a poor closing lap put him 19th, and with his penalty will start from the back of the grid.

Most of Q1 was relatively wet, but as the track dried out towards the end, Paul di Resta was caught out on old intermediate tyres, and didn’t progress past the first session for the second race in a row.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

17) Paul di Resta – 1:24.908

18) Charles Pic – 1:25.626

19) Romain Grosjean – 1:25.716

20) Jules Bianchi – 1:26.508

21) Max Chilton – 1:27.062

22) Giedo van der Garde – 1:27.110

Q2

A spurt of rain between Q1 and Q2 threw many teams’ plans into disarray, with most drivers losing 5 seconds per lap once they had left the pits for the second session.

A crash for Felipe Massa with 2 minutes to go almost ruined the days of several drivers, but a swift red flag meant that drivers were able to set a lap afterwards. The Ferrari driver made a mistake entering braking for Turn 3, spun and slammed into the barriers, leaving him 16th on the grid.

Both McLarens suffered a dismal qualifying performance. Sergio Perez will take little solace in beating Jenson Button today, considering they lie in 12th and 14th places respectively. Nico Hulkenberg was initially impressive in Q2, but wasn’t quick enough after the red flag restart, and lies 11th.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Nico Hulkenberg – 1:29.435

12) Sergio Perez – 1:29.761

13) Pastor Maldonado – 1:29.917

14) Jenson Button – 1:30.068

15) Esteban Gutierrez – 1:30.315

16) Felipe Massa – 1:30.354

Q3

While the track dried slightly after Q2, it still wasn’t dry enough for slick tyres.

Vettel’s first attempt was enough to put him on top, with Rosberg slotting behind. He was soon pushed down the order by Hamilton, Webber, and Vaterri Bottas, who excelled in the challenging conditions.

Nico’s next lap put him 4th, while Fernando Alonso could only manage 6th, with Kimi Raikkonen a disappointing 9th – the Lotus appeas to be out of its comfort zone in the wet.

Both Toro Rossos made it into Q3, with Jean-Eric Vergne taking a respectable 7th position, ahead of Adrian Sutil, Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo.

While most drivers put on a new set of tyres for the final few minutes, a badly-timed shower dampened the track further, and secured Vettel’s pole position.

Canadian Grand Prix analysis: McLaren nearly cost Hamilton dearly

Formula 1 has set another record – this time it’s 7 different race winners in a row from the start of the season. If this goes on for another two races, then it will be an all-time record for consecutive winners.

But, we were very close to not seeing this new record at all. As viewers noticed on Sunday, McLaren very nearly ruined Lewis Hamilton’s race win…

Another close shave for McLaren

McLaren’s strategy call of a 2-stopper was always going to be risky, considering how well others could conserve their tyres. However, the team appeared to massively underestimate their opponents.

On the pit radio, they stated that they believed that Vettel and Alonso could not one-stop. This risky call grew more and more doubtful, as the duo continued to stay out.

By the time they had realised their mistake, Lewis had a lot of time to make up. Luckily, he was up to the task, and snatched victory in the dying laps. But, even after the Red Bull and Ferrari, Hamilton was lucky Grosjean didn’t win the race.

By falling behind Paul di Resta at the start, the Frenchman lost about 10 seconds, and a (mathemeatically) probable victory. Fortunately for McLaren, his start-line mistake spared their blushes.

Radical Ferrari back on track

A risky strategy left Fernando Alonso in control of the race – and he nearly held it to the end.

The F2012 is already a far cry from the dangerous beast that thrashed its way through the corners in Melbourne. The deficit to the frontrunners was slashed in half a few races ago, and thanks to Fernando’s pace, the Maranello squad are back in contention for race wins.

Unfortunately, this is only the case for one of their drivers. Felipe Massa qualified and started close to his teammate, but ultimately fell prey to the track’s challenging Turn 1.

Still, it has become clear that Ferrari are back in the title hunt. When Alonso led the championship after Malaysia, it was called a miracle. For that to still happen only 5 races later is simply incredible.

HRT’s dash for glory falls short

As the midfield and frontrunners become increasingly assimilated, the trailing three teams lead exceptionally lonely races.

Last weekend, it appeared as if HRT were aiming to change that – albeit briefly. Pedro de la Rosa ran well all throughout Friday practice, qualifying and the start of the race. So much so, in fact, that he was leading the Marussias, Caterhams, and even Bruno Senna.

Clearly, there was more to it than it first appeared. Rumours from the paddock have been circulating that HRT deliberately underfuelled their cars, knowing that their brakes wouldn’t last the distance.

Their suspicions were correct, as De la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan retired within two laps of each other with brake failures.

Still, their possible plan to get some attention appears to have worked. While this strategy won’t be confirmed by the team, it is more than likely it occurred, since De la Rosa was only 2 seconds a lap slower than the leaders before he retired.

Points standings after Canadian Grand Prix

Driver Standings

Driver Points
1 Lewis Hamilton 88
2 Fernando Alonso 86
3 Sebastian Vettel 85
4 Mark Webber  79
5 Nico Rosberg 67
6 Kimi Raikkonen 55
7 Romain Grosjean  53
8 Jenson Button  45
9 Sergio Perez 37
10 Pastor Maldonado  29
11 Kamui Kobayashi  21
12 Paul di Resta 21
13 Bruno Senna  15
14 Felipe Massa  11
15 Nico Hulkenberg  7
16 Jean-Eric Vergne  4
17 Daniel Ricciardo  2
18 Michael Schumacher  2
19 Timo Glock  0
20 Charles Pic  0
21 Vitaly Petrov  0
22 Heikki Kovalainen 0
23 Pedro de la Rosa 0
24 Narain Karthikeyan 0

Constructor Standings

Team Points
1 Red Bull-Renault 164
2 McLaren-Mercedes 133
3 Lotus-Renault 108
4 Ferrari 97
5 Mercedes AMG 69
6 Sauber-Ferrari 58
7 Williams-Renault 44
8 Force India-Mercedes 28
9 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6
10 Caterham-Renault 0
11 Marussia-Cosworth 0
12 HRT-Cosworth 0


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.

Vettel romps away with Canada pole

Sebastian Vettel has taken pole position for tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix.

The German was 0.3 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber were several tenths further behind, while Jenson Button had another disappointing qualifying session. Here is what happened:

Q1

Despite his fuel coupling issues in practice, Nico Rosberg was the first out of the pits for Q1.

Lewis Hamilton set the first fast time – a 1:16.232. Felipe Massa and Kamui Kobayashi out-braked themselves at turn 1, running over the grass and dumping debris on the tarmac.

The Saubers briefly took first and second, before Fernando Alonso set a 1:15.1 to take top spot. His teammate Massa recovered from his excursion to move up to 3rd.

Michael Schumacher improved on the Ferrari’s time, with a 1:14.8. Sebastian Vettel was the last to set his first time, going 4th. His next time was one tenth faster than the Mercedes.

Kimi Raikkonen had struggled all through Friday, and was first on the super-softs. Despite this, he was unable to beat the frontrunners. Jenson Button, in a similar state, was only 2nd on the softer compound.

Despite clipping the Wall of Champions, Heikki Kovalainen out-qualified his teammate, as well as the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:16.263

19) Vitaly Petrov 1:16.482

20) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:16.602

21) Pedro de la Rosa – 1:17.492

22) Timo Glock – 1:17.901

23) Charles Pic – 1:18.255

24) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:18.330

Q2

Again, Nico Rosberg was first up, setting a 1:14.568.

Lewis Hamilton then pipped that time by 0.05 seconds. Meanwhile, teammate Button suffered a massive lock-up on his super-softs. Sebastian Vettel improved on the McLaren’s time by another 3 tenths.

After a mistake on his first lap, Fernando Alonso moved to within one tenth of Vettel.

Paul di Resta, Kamui Kobayashi and Nico Hulkenberg all moved into the top 10. Felipe Massa just scraped into 10th place, then improved to 8th.

The two Lotuses struggled massively, with Romain Grosjean only just making it through to the top 10. A crash by Pastor Maldonado meant that Kimi Raikkonen was stuck in 12th.

The yellow flag saved Jenson Button from yet another embarrassing exit from Q2.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:14.688

12) Kimi Raikkonen – 1:14.734

13) Nico Hulkenberg – 1:14.748

14) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:15.078

15) Sergio Perez – 1:15.156

16) Bruno Senna – 1:15.170

17) Pastor Maldonado – 1:15.231

Q3

The McLarens were first out of the pits for Q3. Lewis Hamilton made a mistake on his first attempt, while Jenson Button opted for the prime tyre.

A 1:14.664 put Rosberg briefly on top, before being toppled by Felipe Massa. Hamilton’s next lap put him ahead by 0.02 seconds, before the time was smashed by Vettel by another half a second.

In the final two minutes, all drivers bar Button went out on track. Vettel improved on his time by another tenth of a second, and Hamilton was unable to match it.

Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber tried to beat the Red Bull, but only got 3rd and 4th. This left Vettel to take his 32nd career pole position, 3 tenths ahead of his nearest competitor.

Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean were 6th and 7th. Paul di Resta and Michael Schumacher were behind, the latter of which felt he was held up by Massa. Button was the only driver not to break into the 1:15 zone.

Canadian Grand Prix to be subject to protests?

A sickening poster showing the protestors' complete disrespect for Zanardi

A sickening poster showing the protestors’ complete disrespect for Zanardi

After the furore of the Bahrain Grand Prix, F1 has again become subject to protests, this time from a Canadian students group.

The student group CLASSE has already forced the cancellation of an open day next Thursday before the Grand Prix weekend. Circuit organisers claimed they had received “direct threats” of protests to cause disruption of the event, and it was abandoned for safety reasons.

Furthermore, threatening emails have been sent to around 100 people who bought Grand Prix tickets online:

"If you intend to use a car, know that your road may be barricaded. If you want to 
stay in a hotel, know that we may enter it. If you seek to withdraw money from a 
bank, know that the shattering glass may sting. If you plan on watching a race, 
know that your view may be obscured, not by exhaust fumes but by the smoke of the 
fires we set. Know that the evacuation order may not come fast enough."

Obviously, there may or may not be credibility to these statements, but it is worrying nonetheless.

On the Sunday of the Grand Prix, a protest is being planned at the Berri Metro Station in Montreal, the only metro which will serve the race. To make matters worse, the poster promoting the demonstration shows Alex Zanardi’s horrifying CART crash from 2001, in which he lost both of his legs.

This has absolutely no relevance to F1 whatsoever, and only serves to show the sickening ignorance of some of the protestors.

This uproar does have a cause, but it has absolutely nothing to do with motorsport. Students have been voicing their disapproval at raised tuition fees (an extra $325 per year) for some time, and it has recently turned into periodic demonstrations. Emergency legislation was passed to curtail the demonstrations, but students say it infringes on their right to protest.

This rasises one important question: If this has nothing to do with Formula 1 – and it doesn’t – then why are they targeting race-goers? There appears to be some convoluted logic from the protestors’ side, I feel.

We will have to wait and see if these threats are actually carried out. However, it sets a dangerous precedent – F1 has already been targeted for political reasons, and it would do well to avoid such a conflict here.

Red Bull RB8 floor deemed illegal

The FIA has instructed Red Bull to modify its floor system before the Canadian Grand Prix, as it has now been deemed illegal.

The team came under pressure from Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes in Monaco, after they protested that the holes in the RB8′s floor were against the rules. While they refrained from a post-race protest, which may have got Mark Webber’s race win thrown out, the FIA sought to clear matters with the teams.

The holes were located just ahead of the rear wheels, and were believed to have provided a moderate performance advantage.

The design took advantage of a “grey area” in the technical regulations, but the FIA have now clamped down on this exploitation.

Canadian Grand Prix stats and facts

Despite yesterday's win, Button has not won for McLaren in a dry race

Despite yesterday's win, Button has not won for McLaren in a dry race

The action-packed Canadian Grand Prix saw Jenson Button take his tenth career win. Here are more stats from this weekend:

  • After breaking the 10,000 miles led barrier in Monaco, McLaren are set to break the 4,000 constructor’s points barrier in Valencia, currently on a total of 3,996.5.
  • The safety car was deployed 6 times on race day – a new F1 record.
  • Similarly, the race was the longest in Formula 1 history, at 4 hours, 4 minutes and 39.537 seconds. The previous record was the 1951 Indy 500, at just under 4 hours.
  • Sebastian Vettel took his 21st pole position in his career. Only 9 drivers have more, with Michael Schumacher on top with 68.
  • While Button has now won 3 races with McLaren, all of them have come in wet conditions.
  • Along with both Lotus, HRT and Virgin drivers, Pastor Maldonado has not finished a single race distance this year.
  • This race was the first ever that both Red Bulls and Toro Rossos were in the points. It is the first time in more than 2 years that both Toro Rossos have finished in the points.
  • Vitantonio Liuzzi’s 13th place has given HRT their best ever result. While Lotus got 12th in last year’s Japanese Grand Prix, Virgin have never finished higher than 14th. The result pushes HRT alongside Lotus in the constructor’s championship – the first time they have not been in last place.
  • The last time the lead of a race changed on the last lap was the 2005 Japanese Grand Prix. However, since Kimi Raikkonen had led that race earlier, the previous record for a race win having only led one lap stretches back to the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix.
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