Nico Rosberg finished the Canadian Grand Prix in sixth place today with Michael Schumacher forced to retire after 43 laps. Nico ran a two-stop strategy, pitting on laps 19 and 38, and using super soft/soft/soft tires. Michael retired after 43 laps when a hydraulic problem left his rear-wing flap stuck open. Nico has now scored 67 points in the last five races – putting him fifth in the standings.
Full Race Overview
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton became Formula One seventh winner at the seventh round of the 2012 F1 season, after an action-packedCanadian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Hamilton was involved in a three-way fight with Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. Vettel led for the first 16 laps for Red Bull, but after pulling away at the start, rapid tire degradation forced him into the pits at the end of the 16th lap.
Hamilton went in a lap later, with Alonso going one further still for Ferrari and came out in the lead against Hamilton and Vettel. Hamilton quickly passed Alonso, however, and opened a three-second lead until he had to make a second tire stop on the 50th lap.
Hamilton began slashing the gap his second stop created, as Vettel also began to close in on Alonso. On the 62nd lap Hamilton swept easily by Vettel, then clawed in Alonso. The Spaniard resisted him on the 64th lap, but on the 65th the game was up and the McLaren driver was headed for a brilliant victory which he would later describe as one of his most enjoyable.
Behind him, one-stopping Romain Grosjean was coming at Alonso and Vettel like a train in his Lotus after some careful tire conservation, and Sauber’s Sergio Perez was following suit. Both pushed the Ferrari down places, and then to add final insult to injury Vettel, who had stopped after all on the 63rd lap and taken on a set of Pirelli super-softs, flew by Alonso as well.
Hamilton’s success puts the English driver back in the lead of the championship by two points from the Ferrari driver, 88 to 86. Vettel is third on 85.
Grosjean’s excellent drive made up for Lotus’s disappointment in Monaco, while Perez’s place on the podium was revenge on Alonso for the Malaysian Grand Prix result.
Behind Vettel and Alonso, Nico Rosberg had an up and down race in which he initially struggled on the super-softs in his Mercedes but was later able to set fastest laps as he fended off Red Bull’s Mark Webber and Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Kamui Kobayashi led his Sauber team mate initially, but his early single stop compromised him and he had to be satisfied with ninth ahead of repentant Felipe Massa, who spun early on in Turn One and thereafter had to play catch-up as he took the final point for Ferrari.
Behind the Brazilian, Paul di Resta looked a candidate for points but ultimately lost out after yet another smooth drive for Force India, and led home team mate Nico Hulkenberg by eight seconds.
It was a disappointing race for Williams, with Pastor Maldonado making his way through for 13th ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who marred a race-long fight with Toro Rosso team mate Jean-Eric Vergne with a late spin in one of the chicanes; Vergne had earlier been handed a drive-through penalty for pit lane speeding, and took 15th.
Jenson Button had an appalling day on which he was one of the first pit stoppers despite starting on the more durable soft-compound Pirellis, and ended up lapped and totally mystified by his McLaren’s lack of pace. Bruno Senna was 17th after an undistinguished race, leading home the Caterhams of Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov, and Charles Pic’s Marussia.
Pic’s team mate Timo Glock was the last retirement, with brake problems. Michael Schumacher ran at the end of the potential points-scorers’ train before his DRS stuck open and he was forced to retire, while mechanical problems stopped both HRTs after Pedro de la Rosa had led the Marussias.
“Sixth place is a decent result today and it’s important for both me and the team to keep scoring points for the championship and maintain our consistency. It was a mixed-up race and it was difficult to find a rhythm, particularly at the start, but by the end, the gap to the leading cars was not that big. It could have gone better this weekend, and we just need a little bit more performance to be competing at the front. However we are making good progress and increasing our understanding of the tyres all the time.”
“Unfortunately, our weekend in Montreal didn’t turn out trouble-free for me and a hydraulic problem with the DRS forced me to end my race early. At first, I didn’t know exactly what the problem was; I overshot the corner, ran through the grass and asked myself what was going on. Then the team told me about the problem and I saw it in the mirrors. Of course it’s disappointing for all of us but it’s not a question of pointing fingers; stuff like this happens. I know the team are doing their best and that it probably hits them even harder than me. We’ll be back on the attack in Valencia.”
“We had a very quick car today, as Nico’s performance in particular showed, but a combination of failing to achieve our potential in qualifying and a messy race cost us positions at the flag. We asked both drivers to be cautious with the super soft tyres in the first five laps to ensure we didn’t push them too hard, but when we gave them the go-ahead, it was clear that Nico – who was running in clean air – was extremely quick and one of the fastest cars. Michael was caught in a train of cars in the lower half of the top ten, and although we tried something different by stopping early in order to get him into clean air, it didn’t quite work for us. He then suffered a hydraulic issue which left his DRS jammed open and it was not possible to fix it in race conditions. I can only apologise to Michael for a further technical failure. As for Nico, his race was running to plan and he was gaining on the leaders when he ran across Massa, who was running out of tyres and defending vigorously before his final stop. This cost Nico both track position and time that proved crucial in the closing laps. Ultimately, that’s part of racing, but the real lesson from today is that achieving our potential in qualifying, and running clean races, is vital for strong results.”
“It was a great, exciting race this afternoon, during which Nico was able to lap at the same speed as the leaders after a tricky opening few laps. Nico was 14 seconds behind first place at the end of the race – the same gap as we saw after 10 laps. Our team has taken an important step forward and got the most from the tyres in track temperatures that exceeded 40 degrees, which was demonstrated by Nico several times setting the fastest laps of the race during his stints. We got the tyre management right here, as in Monaco, and we are working hard to push this process further forward. After seven races, Nico is 21 points behind the championship leader – he has scored on average just three points fewer than leader Lewis Hamilton, which is not too big a gap. Michael was running well after his early stop until he was forced to retire with his rear wing flap stuck open. It’s clear to everybody in the team that we must achieve the same levels of reliability on his car as we have with Nico, who has completed every racing lap so far this season. Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes on their victory today – it was the 300th race for McLaren and Mercedes, a milestone which adds extra significance to Lewis’ appearance on the top step of the podium.”