Mario Andretti & Bernie Ecclestone
Montreal, 10 June, 2012
air 22/21 °C
track 26/24 °C
After the best qualifying of the year yesterday and a very strong start to today’s 70 lap race, Scuderia Ferrari was hoping for a better finale than Fernando Alonso’s fifth place and Felipe Massa’s tenth. However, the Spaniard’s gambit of trying to run a one-stop strategy, which looked as though it was leading him to the top step of the podium, was thwarted by high tyre degradation in the very hot temperatures. As for Felipe his first few laps suggested a podium might be waiting, but a spin put paid to that and he finished tenth.
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Continuing an amazing run of different winners at every Grand Prix this season, Lewis Hamilton was the seventh driver winning this seventh race for McLaren. He was joined by two drivers making their second appearance of 2012 on the podium, Romain Grosjean second for Lotus and Sergio Perez third for Sauber.
A blistering hot and sunny afternoon on the Ile Notre Dame, as the 24 cars left the grid, Fernando from the third spot on Row 2 and Felipe from the sixth on Row 3. Behind Webber (Red Bull,) Felipe was immediately pushing Rosberg for fifth, the Mercedes man dropping back from the leading quartet and thus holding up the Brazilian and those behind him, starting with Di Resta (Force India) who had got past Grosjean (Lotus) after the start. At the end of the second lap, the Ferrari man got past and set off in pursuit of Webber. At the front, pole man Vettel in the Red Bull led Hamilton’s McLaren by 1.4, with Fernando closing to 0.7 of the Englishman on lap 5. Unfortunately, Felipe spun at Turn 1 on lap 6 which dropped him to 12th behind Kobayashi.
The Brazilian was the first to stop from 12th on lap 13 and he rejoined down in 20th. Di Resta and Schumacher also came in now, all of them going onto the Soft preparing for a long stint. Button came in on 16 and at this point the leading trio were all very close as Vettel came in on 17, leaving Hamilton leading Fernando. Then the McLaren man pitted next time round, while Felipe had now moved back to thirteenth place. Fernando came in from the lead on lap 19 to fit the Prime and he got out ahead of both Hamilton and Vettel. The Spaniard’s tyres were therefore not quite up to temperature and the McLaren was close enough to use DRS which he did, to get ahead of the Ferrari again, while Fernando now had his mirrors full of pole man Vettel. When Grosjean finally pitted on lap 22, the order was Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel, while Raikkonen in the Lotus and the two Saubers of Kobayashi and Perez had yet to pit, with Webber seventh, while Felipe had come up to eleventh. Felipe was now ninth and lapping quicker than those directly ahead of him.
By lap 32 of 70, Raikkonen in fourth and Perez in fifth were the only two front runners not to have changed tyres. Button was struggling on the Supersoft and came in for a new set of the same compound. Lap 39 and Rosberg pitted the Mercedes again, which saw Felipe now move into eighth with 31 laps remaining. At the front, Fernando was gradually dropping back from race leader Hamilton and at this stage, the immediate threat of Vettel behind him had receded. Raikkonen finally pitted the Lotus on lap 40, which put him eighth behind seventh placed Felipe in the F2012. Perez brought the Sauber in on lap 41 which looked as though he was now trying a one stop strategy.
On lap 50, Fernando was definitely closing on Lewis’ McLaren and the Ferrari found itself leading as Hamilton made his second stop, rejoining in third place behind Vettel, but with the Ferrari and the Red Bull looking to go to the end, at this point it looked as though Hamilton might be able to retake them both, such was his pace. Webber made his second stop on lap 53, promoting Felipe to fifth place. With each passing lap it seemed that maybe the lead duo of Fernando and Vettel were going to nurse their tyres to the flag. Meanwhile, Massa found himself under attack from Rosberg (who cut the final chicane in his efforts to get past) and Perez in the Sauber, both men on fresher tyres than the Ferrari driver, but Felipe held on, but only for one more lap as Perez, having dispensed with Rosberg managed to get ahead, dropping the Brazilian to sixth. The Ferrari tyres were clearly degraded and Felipe had to come in for fresh rubber on lap 58, rejoining tenth. On lap 61, the Hamilton threat was growing as his fresher tyres saw him close right up to Vettel’s gearbox. On lap 62, as he activated the KERS and DRS the McLaren man cruised past the German and would now set off in pursuit of Fernando with just eight laps to go. It did not take him long to get right behind the F2012, as Vettel decided to dive into the pits for a very late tyre change. Fernando put on a heroic performance, but it was a lost cause as the Englishman powered past with a handful of laps remaining. At this point, Grosjean had brought the Lotus up to the remaining podium position, lapping about 2 seconds faster than Fernando, with Perez fourth ahead of Vettel. Felipe was just in the points in tenth spot.
Fernando would have another fight on his hands as the Frenchman inched nearer and with four laps remaining, Fernando had slipped to the bottom step of the podium. Perez was lapping a massive three seconds faster than the F2012 and the gap was just six seconds between them. Two laps left and Perez had knocked Fernando off the podium and Vettel was now lapping 4 seconds quicker and would close on him soon, getting by with two laps remaining. Fernando fought hard right to the very end, just managing to hold off Nico Rosberg for fifth. Felipe had finally clawed his way back into tenth, for the final point on offer.
F1 W03 / 03
Paul di Resta
Did not finish
F1 W03 / 05
Pedro de la Rosa