Lewis Hamilton has notched up his fourth victory of the 2015 Formula 1 season – and his Canadian Grand Prix win – with a lights-to-flag run at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Having claimed a comfortable pole position in qualifying, the Englishman kept Mercedes teammate and championship rival Nico Rosberg at arm’s length throughout the 70-lap race. Valtteri Bottas finished third for Williams to give the team its first podium finish, securing the spot thanks to a spin for his Finnish compatriot, Kimi Räikkönen.
The battle between Hamilton and Rosberg threatened to deliver an exciting climax in the race’s final stages as Rosberg started to reel his teammate in, but it was ultimately the main feature never arrived.
For the first time in what felt like living memory, the race ran free of Safety Car interruptions, giving the field an added strategic headache of trying to managing high fuel consumption and brake temperatures over 70 fast-paced laps.
Hamilton squeezed Rosberg out at the start as the lights went out to ensure himself a lead he would never surrender, leaving the German to slot into second place ahead of Räikkönen’s Ferrari and Bottas’ Williams.
The reigning World Champion eased away to be just out of DRS detection from Rosberg, as the pair steadily pulled away from the rest of the field.
The early race action was dominated by Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa – both of whom started well down the field after their respective qualifying dramas (and an added grid penalty for Vettel) – with the pair having to carve their way up the field.
Vettel’s run to an eventual fifth place was both inspired and a little untidy. The German had a few good scraps, most notably with Fernando Alonso and Nico Hülkenberg – forcing both into rare errors as he muscled by – and managed his tyre wear well after pitting early to give himself a clear track with which to make up lost ground.
Massa’s run to sixth place was less ‘heart in mouth’. The Brazilian didn’t quite have the pace of Vettel, but the Mercedes power unit under the FW37’s cowling more than made up for that with some blistering straight-line the speed. He made heavy weather of passing Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber in the early laps – the Swede, to his credit, defended brilliantly and fairly – but once he was through, the rest of his race showed great rhythm and patience. Time and time again, he overtook rivals as though they were standing still, and showed plenty of maturity where others might have lost their cool.
Despite Pirelli bringing its softest tyre compounds to the event, tyre wear was a lesser concern and it allowed many in the field to run a one-stop race.
Räikkönen was the first to blink, but threw away his prospects of a podium finish when he spun his Ferrari on his out lap at the hairpin; Bottas pitted a lap later and capitalised on the Finn’s mistake to claim third place.
The 2007 champion managed to close down the gap to Bottas to five seconds by the chequered flag, but was left to rue an opportunity missed.
Hamilton and Rosberg pitted a lap apart to switch from the Super Soft tyres to run Soft rubber for their second stint. Rosberg seemed rather happier on this compound and steadily chipped into Hamilton’s lead, although he never got close enough to truly have the Englishman worried. The pair crossed the finish line 2.2 seconds apart.
Pastor Maldonado finally delivered his first points’ finish in what has been a promising – but incredibly unlucky – start to his 2015 campaign with a drive to seventh place in his Lotus.
Teammate Romain Grosjean made it a double-points’ finish with tenth place, although the Frenchman should reflect on this weekend with disappointment. He squandered a potential fifth-placed finish by inexplicably chopping across Will Stevens’ nose while lapping the Marussia driver; the contact gave him a puncture and a lengthy unscheduled pit stop, as well as a five-second post-race time penalty for his troubles. The pit stop had dropped him to tenth place, and the penalty ultimately made no difference.
The two Lotus drivers sandwiched Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg and Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat, who crossed the line in eighth and ninth. Hülkenberg was left frustrated after the race, committing a rare error by spinning at the chicane trying to defend against the quicker Sebastian Vettel.
Kvyat’s teammate and last year’s Canadian Grand Prix winner, Daniel Ricciardo, finished a lowly thirteenth. The Australian had been shaded by his younger Russian teammate for the entire weekend, and suffered with his Red Bull RB11’s inherent lack of straight line speed which left him a sitting duck against faster cars.
At least he saw the chequered flag, which is more than could be said for the hapless McLaren Honda squad. Lacking in pace, good fuel consumption and reliability, the pair were easy targets for faster cars before both retired with unrelated exhaust failures in their Honda power units. It was the team’s second double-DNF of the season.
|Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada 2015 – Final Classification (70 laps)|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||70||1:31:53.145|
|2.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||70||+ 2.285|
|3.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||70||+ 40.666|
|4.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||70||+ 45.625|
|5.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||70||+ 49.903|
|6.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||70||+ 56.381|
|7.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||70||1:06.664|
|8.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08||69||1 lap behind|
|9.||Daniil Kvyat||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||69||1 lap behind|
|10.||Romain Grosjean^||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||69||1 lap behind|
|11.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08||69||1 lap behind|
|12.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||69||1 lap behind|
|13.||Daniel Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||69||1 lap behind|
|14.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||69||1 lap behind|
|15.||Max Verstappen||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||69||1 lap behind|
|16.||Felipe Nasr||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||68||2 laps behind|
|17.||Will Stevens||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03||66||4 laps behind|
|Not Classified||Team / Entry||Laps||Time|
|DNF.||Roberto Merhi||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03||57||Driveshaft|
|DNF.||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda MP4-30||54||Exhaust|
|DNF.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda MP4-30||44||Exhaust|
^ Grosjean – originally classified in tenth place – was awarded a 5-second post-race time penalty for causing a collision with Will Stevens
Image via Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team, XPB Images