Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Oh Hamilton! McLaren Pilot wins 2012 Canadian Grand Prix

Photo Credit: Sauber Motorsport AG

Known as an unpredictable race event based on the complex, taxing Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix fast stretches and slow corners routinely provokes some of the most uneasy driving on the Formula 1 tour. Set for 70 laps, the 24-car field of the Canadian Grand Prix line-up under a perfectly sunny, warm June day under the lead of Red Bull-Renault driven by Sebastian Vettel.

In a rather uncharacteristic fashion, the 2012 Canadian race for the Formula 1 tour started cleanly with Vettel pulling away with McLaren-Mercedes competitor Lewis Hamilton in hot pursuit. Without any early race mishaps among racers, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve would wind up as a quick 70-lap sprint on the gruelling grand prix track. The only race cars failing to finish the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix were eliminated due to mechanical problems with brake-related damage leading to three of the four retirements. Michael Schumacher’s race was defeated by a hydraulic failure on his Mercedes GP machine on lap 43 that left his DRS system locked open. The Grand Prix of Canada is the 5th retirement for Schumacher within the seven events held so far this year.

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

The deciding factor for the 2012 race in Montreal would be pit stops. The McLaren team made use of a two-stop strategy on Hamilton’s race car that provided the Brit the new set of soft compound Pirelli tires needed to catch Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari. With eight laps remaining, the McLaren-Mercedes of Hamilton caught Alonso’s Ferrari, passing the Spaniard for the lead of the Canadian Grand Prix late. Pulling off a 2.5-second gap on second-place, Lewis Hamilton crossed the start/finish line to win his third Formula 1 race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Becoming the 7th driver in 7 races so far during this wide-open Formula 1 season of 2012, Lewis Hamilton wins the second race for the McLaren team following teammate’s Jenson Button’s victory in the debut round in Australia.

Joining Lewis Hamilton in the Canadian Grand Prix podium the 70-lap event was two drivers aided by one-stop strategies. Starting 7th for Lotus-Renault, first Formula 1 visit to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was an impressive second podium effort in the 2012 season. Starting on supersoft Pirelli tires, Grosjean’s crew fitted the harder compound slick rubber on the team’s race car on lap 21. Romain Grosjean achieved his career-best Formula 1 result at the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix.

Photo Credit: Andrew Ferraro/ LAT Photographic

With Grosjean quickly emerging as a rising star of Formula 1, the Malaysian Grand Prix revealed Sauber F1 driver Sergio Perez as a possible name to hear more about in the future. At the end of the Canadian Grand Prix, Perez followed up an impressive runner-up position with a solid third place run. “Today’s result is a great reward for all the guys who work hard.” said the Mexican driver for Sauber F1. Sergio Perez added in post-race, “The last time I scored points I was also on the podium and think this is quite a nice way to do it. Also it is particularly sweet to have been at the podium ceremony here in Montreal because we are not too far from my home country and there are many Mexicans here. It is a great boost for the team and I am very pleased for everybody.”

The Red Bull-Renault of Sebastian Vettel (also running on a two-tire pit stop strategy similar to Lewis Hamilton’s effort) attempted to make up track position late stopping for supersoft tires with only 7 laps remaining in the Canadian Grand Prix. The race’s pole-sitter Vettel came short of catching Sergio Perez for the final podium spot by 2 seconds. Despite finishing 4 spots lower than his starting position, the German driver Vettel expressed some reasonable satisfaction with the race saying, “Before the stop we were three four seconds behind Fernando, but we ended up six seconds ahead of him. It was a good call considering what you can lose with only eight laps to go. It’s easy now to analyze and know everything, but I think we learned a lot today and we’ve seen that races can be interesting until the very last lap. All in all it was a good weekend.”

Deteriorating in pace during the late stage of the Canadian Grand Prix, the Ferrari team’s best hope of honouring the 30th anniversary of former team driver Gilles Villeneuve’s passing dropped down the running order like a rock. Leading the race with 8 laps to go, Alonso’s Pirelli tires were well worn on the Canadian racetrack. At lap 70, Fernando Alonso fell to 5th place just 0.4 seconds ahead of Nico Rosberg‘s Mercedes GP car. Mark Webber, Kimi Raikkonen, Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa rounded out the top-10 for the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix.

The next race for the 2012 Formula 1 tour will be a trip to Spain to race the Valencia track for the European Grand Prix on June 24th.

2012 Formula 1
Canadian Grand Prix
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Race Results

1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
2 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault
3 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari
4 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
5 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
6 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
7 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
8 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault
9 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
10 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari
11 11 Paul di Resta Force India
12 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes
13 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault
14 16 Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
15 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
16 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
17 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault
18 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault
20 25 Charlie Pic Marussia-Cosworth
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth
22 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth
24 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth

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