Lucky number seven! Five years on from claiming his maiden Grand Prix win, Lewis Hamilton has claimed victory for the third time on the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve to become the seventh different race-winner in the first seven races of the 2012 season.
Running on a two-stop strategy, the McLaren driver overtook Fernando Alonso’s one-stopping Ferrari in the closing stages of the race to claim the win, while Romain Grosjean took a career-best second and Sergio Pérez finished third as a gripless Alonso tumbled to fifth at the chequered flag.
Pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel finished fourth on the road, unable to quite replicate his Red Bull’s qualifying pace in race conditions, which were noticeably warmer than predicted.
As we had predicted in our Canadian Grand Prix preview, track conditions were to play a crucial role in determining which teams and drivers would shine and which wouldn’t. The warmer conditions played into the hands of Lotus and Sauber, while Mercedes and Ferrari found the temperatures less than ideal.
Vettel led an incident free run through the opening sequence of corners, which saw the grid largely get away in its qualifying order. He eased out an early lead from Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, but he lost pace towards the end of his opening stint and found himself overtaken by the pair when he pitted first.
Hamilton peeled into the pits a lap later to get ahead of Vettel, while Alonso changed tyres a lap after that and emerged ahead of the lot of them. But his joy would prove short-lived as Hamilton breezed by into the lead with a straightforward move along the back straight, helped by a bit of KERS and DRS along the way.
Hamilton began to edge away before pitting for a second round of soft-compound tyres on Lap 49, while Alonso and Vettel opted to try and complete the race on a single stop.
On fresher rubber, Hamilton simply had too much pace, hunting down the pair and passing them both to claim the lead and a comfortable win, his third on Canadian soil.
Vettel gave up on trying to make a one-stop strategy work and pitted for a second time late in the race, leaving Alonso to try and limp towards a second-placed finish.
But the Spaniard was finding himself quickly caught by the fast-closing Grosjean (who stopped only two laps later than Alonso) and Pérez (who ran a 41-lap opening stint on Pirelli’s soft tyres before switching to the super-soft rubber). With a handful of laps to go, he was passed by both, before the freshly-shod Vettel also cruised by to snatch fourth place from him.
He only just managed to hold onto fifth from Nico Rosberg, and the ten points he earned would not be enough for him to retain his championship lead from the Monaco Grand Prix: he now sits second in the standings behind Hamilton, two points behind the Briton and one point ahead of third-placed Vettel.
Rosberg and Mark Webber finished sixth and seventh at the end of the race, with both electing to run two-stop strategies that ultimately saw them leapfrogged by the one-stopping Grosjean and Pérez.
The pair finished ahead of the sister Lotus and Sauber entries of Kimi Räikkönen and Kamui Kobayashi, who were both unable to make the most of their one-stop strategies after being bottled up in traffic in the early stages of the race.
Felipe Massa claimed the final point with tenth place, although he should have finished higher up the order. The Brazilian suffered a rather comical spin exiting Turn 1 early in the race, looping his Ferrari before rejoining mid-pack.
The race was a disaster for both Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher, with the former enduring another point-less race, while the latter suffered his fifth race retirement of the season.
Button was on the back foot from the get-go, losing a bundle of valuable practice time on Friday when his team discovered a gearbox issue in his McLaren. After scraping into the top-ten in qualifying, he then elected to clock his final qualifying lap on Pirelli’s soft tyres (everyone else ran super-softs), which put him out of sequence with the rest of the pack he was chasing.
His chassis set-up was clearly all at sea and he struggled to make their tyre compound work for him, progressively falling down the field to finish sixteenth.
Schumacher had much better pace, but hopes of claiming the first podium of his F1 comeback were delayed by yet another race when his Mercedes suffered a DRS failure, jamming his rear wing open and forcing him to retire just after mid-distance.
2012 Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Final Classification (70 laps):
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||70||1:32:29.586|
|2.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E20||70||+ 2.513|
|3.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C31||70||+ 5.260|
|4.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||70||+ 7.295|
|5.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||70||+ 13.411|
|6.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||70||+ 13.842|
|7.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||70||+ 15.085|
|8.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E20||70||+ 15.567|
|9.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C31||70||+ 24.432|
|10.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||70||+ 25.272|
|11.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM05||70||+ 37.693|
|12.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes VJM05||70||+ 46.236|
|13.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW34||70||+ 47.052|
|14.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||70||+ 1:04.475|
|15.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||69||1 lap behind|
|16.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||69||1 lap behind|
|17.||Bruno Senna||Williams Renault FW34||69||1 lap behind|
|18.||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham Renault CT01||69||1 lap behind|
|19.||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham Renault CT01||69||1 lap behind|
|20.||Charles Pic||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||67||3 laps behind|
|DNF.||Timo Glock||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||56||Brakes|
|DNF.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||43||Rear Wing|
|DNF.||Pedro de la Rosa||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||24||Brakes|
|DNF.||Narain Karthikeyan||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||22||Brakes|
|Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||70||1:15.752|
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