It’s seven different winners from the first seven races – a new record for Formula 1. TOM WILKINSON reports on the action from the Canadian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton stormed to a tremendous victory in Canada, and Formula 1 celebrated a record seven different winners, in the opening seven races. A simply brilliant 2012 season continues to deliver excitement and unpredictably. Some of my avid Twitter followers said this was the best race of the season so far, action-packed with plenty of excitement. An interesting grid for the start meant many were anticipating a terrific. This was the top ten. Vettel had pole ahead of Hamilton, Alonso, Webber, Rosberg, Massa, Grosjean, Di Resta, Schumacher and Button. Would there be fireworks at the start? Let’s dive right into round seven, of the 2012 Formula 1 World Championship. The Canadian Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel had a blinding start off the line, Hamilton also got away well. Rosberg and Webber were fighting for position just behind, as were Massa and Grosjean. It was a clean start with no contact or incident. Not many drivers making up positions from the start but still there was plenty of action right from the off. Paul Di Resta moved up the field now just behind Felipe Massa who was in sixth place having just lost a position to Nico Rosberg into turn one. But the Brazilian was in a feisty mood, he was all over the gearbox of the Mercedes ahead. He took the position back from Rosberg down the straight into the final chicane. Meanwhile Vitaly Petrov in the Caterham would have hoped for a better start, he lost three places in the opening two laps.
Jenson Button started to struggle as he was unhappy with the balance of the car. Button had been struggling all weekend with the brakes locking up. Kimi Raikkonen could see that the McLaren was falling back, the Lotus was looking to take any advantages. But It was Nico Rosberg who was falling behind the most. The Mercedes who had made progress in the early stage, just couldn’t keep up the pace. A radio message late on explained the reason, the team asked Nico to save fuel, even at this very early stage in the race. Mercedes had obviously gambled on a Safety Car at the start.
As the race progressed, it began to slowly come back to Jenson Button after his struggles. Would we see a repeat of last year where he won in style from the very back? Time would tell on that one, as the option tyres on those around him began to degrade. McLaren planned to make the most of it. Team mate Hamilton meanwhile was making up progress on Vettel in front. The McLaren driver was hauling in the Red Bull. Kimi Raikkonen was a man on a mission too as he sailed past Jenson Button, The ice man kept his cool with a great move as the McLaren was once again struggling. He came into the pits shortly after for a set of the option tyre, It’s been a weekend to forget so far for Button.
It was Hamilton again at the centre of attention as he was just inches from Sebastian Vettel on lap 16, the RedBull pitted and Hamilton continued with the Ferrari of Alonso just behind. A thrilling three-way battle for the lead was on and in full swing. It soon became a strategy game as the McLaren pitted the following lap with a less than perfect stop, but Lewis Hamilton re-joined the circuit just a few car lengths ahead of Sebastian Vettel. The McLaren driver took full advantage of the clean air on his in lap and set some blistering sector times to beat his Red Bull rival. Fernando Alonso who led the race still had to pit. Two laps later the Ferrari pitted, it was a good stop and Alonso re-joined just a whisker ahead of Hamilton, who looked to take advantage of traffic to get past. It was an amazing race with the lead changing three times in four laps. Hamilton nailed the Ferrari into the final chicane with a DRS overtake. The Gilles Villeneuve circuit rarely disappoints, and today was no exception.
But then the race settled down, with Hamilton out in front and getting further and further into the lead. The soft tyres suiting the McLaren very well in the conditions. It was Vettel and Alonso battling for second place.
HRT’s weekend came to an end with De La Rosa retiring in the garage and team mate Karthikeyan stopped out on track. It was another dismal show from the struggling team. Jenson Button also struggling again, this time the super soft tyre having no grip. When he returned to the pits, it was another set of super softs going onto the car. It really was turning into a weekend to forget for Button.
Mercedes were struggling too, the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen had jumped Nico Rosberg in the pits, but the German fought back to pass the returning Fin. But a DRS failure on Michael Schumacher’s car only added to the Mercedes’ problems. The rear wing was jammed open, this was both dangerous due to the lack of rear downforce in corners, and illegal too. The team called the German into the pits, but failed to resolve the issue. The result was DNF, yet another unlucky weekend for the seven times world champion.
Jean Eric Vergne was also having a miserable and lack lustre weekend, which only got worse when he received a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane. One can’t help but think, Jamie Alguersuari should be in this race seat after strong performances last season.
But It was Lewis Hamilton who was so strong this race, some would say he was untouchable. Even after some brilliant moves to re-take the lead after a second pit stop. A simply stunning victory for the McLaren driver, and yet another record weekend in Formula 1. Lewis Hamilton became the seventh winner in the seventh race in 2012. Romain Grosjean took advantage of the struggling RedBull of Vettel and Ferrari of Alonso, as did Sergio Perez. It was Grosjean in second and Perez in third, two great drives from these rising stars of the sport.
It was a truly magnificent race in Montreal, action packed around this difficult and challenging circuit. F1 heads back to Europe and into Valencia for the European Grand Prix on the 24th of June. You can catch my full race preview and race report right here at www.wheelworldreviews.co.uk You can also keep up to date with all the latest Formula 1 news on Twitter by following me at my new Twitter address @TomWilkinsonF1 #TWF1
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