F1 Canada Results & Full Race Report: McLaren 1-2 in racy and tire-worn Montreal

What Happens When Tire Degradation Makes Racing Interesting

2:07pm EST —Lewis Hamilton won a frantic Canadian GP, with multiple pits stops for tire degradation and lots of on-track excitement. While no safety car mad an appearance, the slippery Montreal circuit was hard on tires, allowing for some serious on-track passing, with Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, and Mark Webber rounding out the top five. Two incidents will be investigated after the race, notably one between Michael Schumacher, who finished eleventh, and Felipe Massa, who finished fifteenth after coming into contact with Schumacher. Nico Rosberg finished ahead of Robert Kubica in sixth, with Sebastien Buemi and Tonio Liuzzi performing admirably after talking-tos from both their teams, finishing eighth and ninth, respectively. Adrian Sutil finished tenth, passing Schumacher on the final lap to get the last point.

Hamilton started from pole, with heavy fighting amongst four teams for the honor during Saturday’s qualifying session. This is the first race of the season to start without a Red Bull on pole. Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, and Jenson Button were the top five starters, until a Sunday morning gearbox change for Webber dropped him five grid positions to start seventh. Tonio Liuzzi out-qualified teammate Adrian Sutil in sixth, with the German in ninth as Felipe Massa and Robert Kubica split the two Force Indias in seventh and eighth. Nico Rosberg was ninth fastest, out-qualifying his teammate, with a surprisingly bad qualifying from Michael Schumacher, who will start thirteenth after not making it out of Q2. The new top-ten starting order after Webber’s penalty was Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso, Button, Liuzzi, Massa, Webber, Kubica, Sutil, and Rosberg.

The weather forecast was for dry and warm conditions as the field got away in sunny Montreal. Hamilton led into Turn 1, Vettel and Alonso close behind as much contact occurred behind, leaving debris across the track with Massa and Liuzzi fighting for the same bit of the circuit. Liuzzi, who had a fabulous qualifying, was left the wrong way ’round with the rest of the field coming at him. A local yellow was all that resulted, even as Petrov had a spin across the grass that forced de la Rosa on the grass as well and damaged his front wing. Kobayashi yet again did not manage to make it out of the first lap without contact, this time coming close to Hulkenberg, who took the shortcut through the chicane, that forced Kobayashi into the barrier and removing his nose. Massa, de la Rosa, and Liuzzi all pitted for new bodywork and tires, getting rid of the quick-graining soft tires.

At the end of the second lap, it was Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso, Button, Webber, Kubica, Sutil, Schumacher, and Hulkenberg as the top ten. Webber took a look on Button, attempting to make up those positions lost from the gearbox change, but couldn’t make a pass on the Briton. He soon took another look and made it stick this time, taking fourth and streaking away. Behind, Kubica was also hounding Button for fifth. Button, Sutil, and Hulkenberg all pitted on L6 as Vettel was fighting Hamilton for the lead. The hard tires looked to be making quite the difference between the Red Bulls and McLarens. Alonso was also close behind as Webber fought with the Spaniard for third. Both Hamilton and Alonso pitted to get rid of the soft tires, a good strategy as both Red Bulls had to switch to the soft tires. Both Ferrari and McLaren had fab pit stops, getting the drivers out at about the same time, leaving them to fight it out down the pit lane. Alonso barely got ahead in the close contact racing.

By L10, all the front runners were on the harder tire with Vettel leading Webber, Schumacher, Buemi, Alonso, Hamilton, Kovalainen, Button, Kubica, and Sutil as the top ten. The top four and Kovalainen had to stop for the regulatory tire compound change, though. L11 brought word of an investigation on Petrov for a possible jumped start, and then a drive-through penalty for doing so. Schumacher pitted from third, strangely, having started on the harder tire. He came out for a fight with Kubica, both going on the grass at Turn 3 and 4 with Sutil joining them. Kubica did sustain a bit of front end-plate damage. Webber also pitted the next time around, remaining on the hard tire and returning to the circuit in sixth. The next lap (L14), Vettel pitted as well, switching to the softer tire. Buemi, who had inherited the lead, came under attack from Alonso, giving Hamilton a chance to try to take them both, but the order remained the same, until Hamilton took Alonso for second from the draft into the final chicane as Buemi pitted.

Fifteen laps into the seventy lap race and Hamilton had the lead again, with Alonso, Button, Vettel, Webber, Kubica, Sutil, Buemi, Rosberg, and Hulkenberg the top ten. All had pitted, but Webber had yet to use the soft tire. The next five laps had the action settle down, with Hamilton pulling a small gap (.7s) on Alonso, who had a two second cushion to Button. The tires were certainly not as capable, even the harder compound, as had been projected with the much warmer weather in Montreal than previously through the weekend. On L20 Chandhok finally came into the pits, as the final man to do so, but certainly not the last stop to be made through the race. Vettel was complaining of rear graining around L25, as Hamilton still lead Alonso, Button, Vettel, and Webber. Ten seconds behind, Sutil was pressuring Kubica for sixth.

Hamilton pitted from an attack for the lead from Alonso in a scheduled stop for another set of hard tires, returning in sixth as Kubica pitted from that position after his own attack from Sutil. It was a scary moment, as Kubica dropped behind and then went straight across Sutil’s bow to pit. The German suffered a puncture and had to pit as well. Button and Vettel pitted on L27 with Button getting ahead of the Briton. Alonso pitted from the lead after a race fastest lap, returning in third, between Hamilton and Button, as Webber led the race. Hulkenberg also had to pit for a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

After that round of stops, the racing settled down again, until this set of tires lost grip and forced another stop, with Webber leading Hamilton, Alonso, Button, and Vettel as the top five, thirty laps into the race. Webber still had only stopped once and had to stop again. Meanwhile, de la Rosa’s Ferrari-powered Sauber gave up its engine, taking both the team’s cars out of the race after Kobayashi’s earlier race-ending incident. At the front, Webber was gaining advantage (10+ seconds) on second place Hamilton, who was being caught up by Alonso. Button, in fourth, had less than a second over Vettel in fifth.

At the halfway point of the race, Schumacher pitted from tenth as Vettel was querying Red Bull if he had to pass Button before he pitted. He did have to do so in order to win. The gap dropped two tenths afterward, though not necessarily as a direct result of the communication, world feed radio transmission timing being what it is. Schumacher kept his position. Race control also announced that an incident between Kubica and Sutil would be investigated after the race. The gap was growing between Webber and Hamilton as Alonso was catching up the Briton. Webber needed a large gap to stop for his hard tire and retain the lead as Button set race fastest lap. His gap back to Vettel had grown to over a second with the drivers settling down for a bit. While Bridgestone had said there was no way to make it to the end without all the drivers stopping again, Hamilton, Alonso, Button, and Vettel looked to be attempting to make the end on their current set of tires.

The times were dropping as the fuel loads diminished, though Webber’s tires began to affect his time. The formerly nearly twelve second gap to Hamilton had dropped to nine with thirty laps left in the race. Still, both McLarens were being caught up by their foes behind. Considerably farther back, Massa and Liuzzi were still fighting as they had at the start, though back in thirteenth and fourteenth. Massa pitted and rejoined still in fourteenth, but with far clearer track ahead, as Ferrari noted, “We pulled him out of the traffic.” Sutil and Hulkenberg were also fighting closely for tenth as Webber came up to lap them. Alonso was still catching up Hamilton, posting the fastest lap of the race while Hamilton was only three and a half seconds behind Webber at the end on L45.

Trulli’s race was over on L46 when he pitted with an apparent brake issue. By L48, Hamilton was only a half second behind Webber, with Alonso another eight tenths behind his former teammate. Webber’s tires looked terrible, and he still had to use the soft compound. Meanwhile, Vettel was informed that the team “is managing an issue” which was unexplained on the radio. Hamilton was attacking Webber for the lead and took him into Turn 1, with Alonso just behind the Australian. Hamilton began gapping immediately, pulling away from the two behind as Alonso kept looking for the position. Webber denied him the overtaking opportunity by diving into the pits. He returned to the circuit in fifth with nineteen laps to go. Twenty seconds covered the top five, with Hamilton leading Alonso, Button, Vettel, and Webber, who was ten seconds behind his teammate. The teams looked to be attempting to get to the end without stopping again, despite advice to the contrary from Bridgestone.

Massa had a go on Sutil yet again, getting past the German for eleventh and nearly going three wide with Kovalainen’s Lotus through the corner. Ahead, Button was catching up Alonso; the Mclaren just a second or so behind the Ferrari. Button made the pass on Alonso through traffic for second with fourteen more laps to go. Alonso caught him up again while both were putting Schumacher a lap down. Virgin Racing’s Glock was added to the new team retirement list on L55 with an unidentified problem, possibly dealing with hydraulics.

With ten laps to go, only eight seconds covered the top four of Hamilton, Button, Alonso, and Vettel, whose problem was said to have been resolved. Hamilton had only two seconds over his teammate, who had Alonso less than a second behind, then a nearly six second gap to Vettel. Buemi got a daring pass through Turn 1 over Schumacher for eighth. Hamilton gained some time back on Button, posting some race fastest laps with nine laps left, before being pipped by Kubica the next lap for the lap honor with new tires.

As has become usual at this point in the race, McLaren had to remind Hamilton to look after his tires. In a fight for ninth with Schumacher, Massa had a small off-track excursion, resulting in some front wing damage and yet another stop for the beleaguered Brazilian, who dropped to fifteenth. With five laps to go, Hamilton still led Button, Alonso, Vettel, and Webber. Vettel was wondering if he should go for the race fast lap and told “don’t even think about it!” as well as the note that the issue had not been resolved (as they had told Will Buxton in the pit lane) and he should short-shift. The Massa-Schumacher incident would also be investigated after the race, with the possibility that Schumacher blocked his former protege. The gap between Button and Alonso had smoothed out to three and a half seconds, with a cushion for the Spaniard to limping Vettel behind in fourth. Hamilton had a similar cushion back to Button.

Further back, Schumacher was holding off Liuzzi, short-cutting through the chicane with just over a lap left. Hamilton and Button were safely apart with three seconds between them while Alonso had also dropped to six seconds behind Button, with Vettel considerably farther behind and dropping into the clutches of teammate Webber, if only there were a few more laps. They ended the race as they had been since the final round of pitstops, barring a nasty fight that saw both Force Indias pass Schumacher and drop him out of the points.

Results for the 2010 Canadian GP:
1. Hamilton
2. Button +2.2
3. Alonso +9.2
4. Vettel +37.8
5. Webber +39.2
6. Rosberg +56.0
7. Kubica +57.3
8. Buemi +1 Lap
9. Liuzzi +1 Lap
10. Sutil +1 Lap
11. Schumacher +1 Lap
12. Alguersuari +1 Lap
13. Hulkenberg +1 Lap
14. Barrichello +1 Lap
15. Massa +1 Lap
16. Kovalainen +2 Laps
17. Petrov +2 Laps
18. Chandhok +4 Laps
19. di Grassi +5 Laps
de la Rosa


1 Comment

  1. One of the most exciting races of this season. Bridgestone should start making their tires out of bubble gum. They may not last long but the racing will be exciting 🙂

    I am surprised at how Mercedes have be left so far behind in the development race. The pace of development in the top teams is amazing. Full marks to Hamilton for the amazing Q3 pole lap and then driving a great race. I think Alonso over achieved what his car could have done today. He is in the 5th quickest car (after the 2 McLarens and 2 Red Bulls) but he never ever gives up.

    Also, the Celtics won over the Lakers yesterday so it was a perfect weekend for me!!!

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