Canada GP 2012

The Gilles Villeneuve circuit always offers the drivers a chance to have a great race. It’s a challenging track with plenty of opportunities to make a mistake, meaning that concentration is high for the duration, ensuring they avoid the Wall of Champions for 70 laps, and all manner of local critters too.

Super Seven Moments:

1. Seventh Heaven

Jubilent Hamilton

It would seem more apt to have this as number seven, but to avoid calls of bias and anti-McLaren sentiments it’ll go first. Much like Hamilton himself. What a race the 2011 naughty boy had, exhibiting the necessary skills to claim a race win; being cool, calm and collected he held his nerve when Alonso and Vettel’s predicted strategy changed from 2 to 1 stop in the latter stages of the race. After his final stop Hamilton went on a charge, setting purple sector after purple sector, lap after lap, in order to hunt down and punish Red Bull and Ferrari for their strategy choices. In the final 10 laps it was inevitable, the British driver took Vettel on lap 62 and Alonso two laps later.

2. The lightest of Mexicans, the swiftest of Frenchmen

The next race winner?

Perez is now known for his superb one-stoppers, they might not always work, but when they do they work marvelously and today was one of those days. Starting 15th on the grid and staying out on his first stint much longer than most of the field due to his ability to keep his rubber sweet he kept a raft of two stoppers at bay, whereas Grosjean plugged away and never let the field get too far away from him. Excellent strategies from both teams allowed their drivers to take advantage of others taking a risk with the rubber in the last few laps to join Hamilton on the podium. But it wasn’t until the dying moments of the race that they forced Alonso off the podium, Grosjean took him on lap 66 and Perez soon after on lap 69. Alonso wasn’t quite in China/Raikkonen territory but it looked like that for a couple of laps when Vettel following suit on the same lap as Perez.

3. Threeway

Exciting overtakes were hard to come by during the race as DRS had such a big effect, however a great tussle between three driver heated things up. Massa and Rosberg came into the last chicane on lap 57 Massa, having spun on lap 6 after showing great pace, went for the pass, Rosberg missed the last chicane and in giving that place back to Massa the Sauber driver took advantage and took a place for himself too. But to provide the media with something to talk about Perez then goes on to overtake Massa easily soon afterwards.

4. King Strategy

Excellent drives aside, it was a matter of one stoppers vs. two stoppers on the day, with a little tyre saving thrown in for good measure. By sticking to Target Hamilton was able to outfox Alonso and Vettel in the final laps in what must have been validating for the team as their assumptions wavered under scrutiny. Shame Button couldn’t cash in on McLaren’s superior choices, his race peaked at 14th before numerous pit stops failed to gift him the charge he so valiantly enjoyed last time around. Looking past the top step Sauber and Lotus were the other big winners, Raikkonen and Kobayashi may have failed to reach the podium but the former didn’t have to play victim this Sunday.

5. You took your time Canada…

The start was briefly exciting, Webber and Rosberg went wheel to wheel through a couple of corners, and Perez scooted up a few places and as Vettel darted off in an achingly familiar fashion it looked like we were set for a 2011 race, minus the rain. So no complaining if unpredictability isn’t your thing. A flurry of pit stops mixed up the standings an unveiled strategy winners, but it wasn’t until the last ten laps that the race really heated up.

6. Have we uncovered the champion?

Unlikely, we have another winner to induct into this season of surprises. However contenders are clear for the constructors title, as it stands Red Bull and McLaren look to be taking this battle on their shoulders, but it is the midfield where the wars will be felt. Mercedes, Sauber and Williams should be a great fight to watch, whereas Lotus and Ferrari’s head to head should provide excellent viewing, although the latter only have one driver scoring heavily. Regarding the drivers, double figure consistency will pay out in the long run and the top three are separated by a measly 3 points, with Webber and Rosberg hanging in there 9 and 21 points respectively behind Hamilton.

7. No points, big problem

Whereas both Red Bull drivers took a dip in the rowing lake to cool off after a disappointing day in the office, the likes of Schumacher and Button were left to rue getting out of bed at all. Schumacher has had to suffer five retirements out of seven races, 4 mechanical issues and  a single retirement down to himself have left with 2 points for his troubles. Button is in a similar situation except he doesn’t have obvious mechanical woes dragging him out of the points with an early finish, his trouble is grip, balance and oddly tyres, the latter something he is considered an expert in caring for, that mantle currently being looked after by Perez. With only three point scoring races under his belt, a championship charge seems unlikely even with 13 races left, the British driver left Canada saying he felt ‘lost’ and ‘confused’.

Awesome-o-meter

Without a deluge of rain and water related driver puns, a safety car or an animal invading the circuit, race day got off to the slow start. Especially when Vettel ordered a usual. However when it finally got going it turned out to be a very fine day indeed, Hamilton was tipped to being the seventh winner but the rest of the podium was filled with Alonso, Vettel, possibly a Lotus, Webber maybe, Button if it was wet. Perez? Even he was quick to shoot down a podium slot. Grosjean? Yeah, if he doesn’t crash on the first lap. Ah, right. In a season of ‘even Marussia could win’ (Hamilton, 2012) we had a relatively fresh faced podium.

Race Stats

Qualifying Vettel Hamilton Alonso
Pole S Vettel  1:13.784 (Red Bull)
Laps 70
Weather Dry
Safety Car None
Results 1. Hamilton McLaren 1:32:29.586
2. Grosjean Lotus 1:32:32.099
3. Perez Sauber 1:32:34.846
Fastest Lap Vettel Red Bull 1:15.752
Retirements Karthikeyan HRT [22] Brakes
De la Rosa HRT [24] Brakes
Schumacher Mercedes [43] Rear Wing
Glock Marussia [56] Brakes
Penalties Vergne Speeding in pitlane Drive through
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