McLaren’s Hamilton wins 2010 Canadian F1 GP
Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button in their McLaren MP4-25s turned the world championship fight on its head in Montreal on Sunday afternoon, when they scored the team’s third one-two of the season after a tense race in which nobody was able to relax.
It began with second fastest qualifier Mark Webber being moved back five grid places after Red Bull replaced his gearbox, then a collision between Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi which split the field up and put some unfancied runners in places you wouldn’t have expected in the midfield.
Up front Hamilton grabbed the lead from Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, with Button slipping into fourth as Liuzzi and Massa fell down the order to begin sterling recovery drives after pit stops.
Soon it became apparent that those who had gambled on soft rubber in qualifying were in trouble: Button, Hamilton and Alonso all pitted for the harder Bridgestones within seven laps.
That left Vettel in the lead with Webber a surprised second, having closed in while Hamilton was struggling for grip. But when the Red Bulls pitted on the 13th and 14th laps the complexion of the race changed again. Vettel switched to the option tyre and lost ground; Webber stayed on the primes, intent on building enough of a lead to be able to stop for the options (as per the rules which say you have to run both compounds in a race) without losing first place.
That plan was stymied by heavy mid-race traffic, and he eventually lost the lead before his final stop on Lap 50. That should have put Alonso in front after he’d outdragged Hamilton from their first pit stop, but the 2008 champion overtook the Ferrari on the final straight, and after that Alonso came under increasing pressure from Button, who took second place away on the 56th lap when the Spaniard was seemingly baulked by Karun Chandhok’s HRT.
The Ferrari driver clung to third, comfortably ahead of Vettel, whose switch to a second set of the harder tyres didn’t improve his Red Bull’s speed. Webber had to run the final 20 laps on the options, which were good for a while before losing their edge.
“It was one of those races”, Hamilton said, “where it was very hard to judge how hard to push and how much to try and conserve your tyres.”
In the end that was how they finished, which leaves Hamilton in the lead of the world championship with 109 points to Button’s 106, Webber’s 103, Alonso’s 94 and Vettel’s 90. McLaren lead Red Bull and Ferrari, with 215 points to 193 and 161.
“It’s been a tremendous weekend, fantastic,” Hamilton beamed. “Things have just gone so well for us, and there’s been incredible support from all the Brits out here. And the team did an exceptional job. This was one of the toughest races so far but that’s what you want, you want it to be difficult. I won my first Grand Prix here three years ago, and to come back and repeat that has been a real pleasure.”
Nico Rosberg lost time early on in the Liuzzi/Massa melee, but a few fastest laps in a strong comeback drive eventually earned him a solid sixth place for Mercedes, ahead of Robert Kubica who had an adventurous afternoon for Renault which included a brush with Michael Schumacher, harassment by Force India’s Adrian Sutil, a late pit stop for fresh tyres, and a trip to the stewards where he will be asked to explain having to cut across Sutil when he made his second pit stop on Lap 35.
Behind them, Sebastien Buemi drove a blinder for Toro Rosso, making the most of the first-corner incident. He was about to lead the race when he pitted for fresh rubber at the end of the 15th lap, and thereafter pushed hard all the way to eighth for the Faenza team.
Michael Schumacher seemed likely to finish ninth, having savagely blocked Massa’s attempts to wrest away the place, but then he got caught by Liuzzi on the final lap, and then got shuffled out of the points when Sutil jumped him too going down to the last corner.
The two Force India drivers were embroiled in a mighty scrap with each other, Massa, who set a series of fastest laps and lost his chance of points thanks to Schumacher, Nico Hulkenberg before the young German dropped back, and Jaime Alguersuari before the Spaniard, too, lost ground.
In the end Liuzzi’s excellent drive paid off with ninth, but he could have been much higher without that first corner clash. Schumacher is another who has to visit the stewards. Massa, meanwhile, was initially classified 15th, but then got another 20 seconds added to his race time for speeding in the pit lane.
Alguersuari eventually took 12th from Williams’ Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello, whom the Spaniard had run into at the hairpin on the seventh lap. Heikki Kovalainen was a strong 16th, having at one stage run as high as sixth for Lotus after the early pit stops and having made up places hand over fist in the first corner. He led home Vitaly Petrov, who got two drive-through penalties for jumping the start, and then causing a collision with BMW Sauber’s Pedro de la Rosa.
Chandhok was 18th for HRT, ahead of the Virgins of Lucas di Grassi and Timo Glock which were the final finishers. BMW Sauber had an appalling race, with De la Rosa shoved into a spin even before he got to the first corner, Kamui Kobayashi biting the Turn 14 exit wall at the end of the opening lap, and then De la Rosa going out with engine failure. Jarno Trulli’s Lotus yet again fell prey to mechanical ills, as did Bruno Senna’s HRT.