Lewis Hamilton cruised to victory in a thrilling Canadian Grad Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve today. Despite late race instructions from the team to lift and coast 50 and then 100 meters entering the corners to save fuel, Hamilton had the race well in hand over team mate Nico Rosberg and crossed the line 2.285 seconds clear to claim his fourth victory of the year.
Vettel and Massa move forward
Behind Hamilton the race was frantic and fantastic for all 70 laps. A major talking point were Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and William’s Felipe Massa starting at the back in 18th and 15th and what kind of forward progress they could make. The answer was a lot. Immediately Vettel and Massa dispatched with the cars around them and went hunting down their rivals to get into the points. Vettel had close scraps including a lock up when battling with Alonso coming out of the turn 10 hairpin. He came upon Massa and Ericsson and was the first to pit on only lap 8. He emerged and used the clean air to make steady progress.
In contrast Massa stayed out and fought for every position on track. Massa went wheel to wheel with a long succession of rivals, each falling by the wayside as the Brazilian put up a furious pace. Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, the only car close to Massa in the speed trap gave him the biggest fight, their brilliant wheel to wheel battle the highlight of the race.
Button lapped, leaders pit and Kimi Spins
By lap 22 Hamilton had already lapped Jenson Button in a McLaren-Honda that was clearly even more of a handful than usual. Five laps later Kimi Raikkonen the first of the front runners to pit came in from third. On his out lap he inexplicably spun coming out of the turn 10 hairpin, a furious radio message ensued suggesting there was more than just driver error to blame. The error handed third to Valtteri Bottas as Hamilton and then Rosberg hit pitlane and cycled back into first and second.
Rosberg challenges Hamilton, Massa finally pits
After a hard lock up on fresh tires, Hamilton’s lead fell to the 1 to 1.5 second range as Rosberg made the only real challenge of the day. The gap stayed close for a dozen laps or so before Hamilton reeled off several fast laps and brake issues hampered Rosberg even further. Massa finally brought the Williams in and switched to the red banded super softs with 32 laps to go. He emerged behind Vettel in ninth and the pair went on charge number two.
Vettel and Hulkenberg duel, Grosjean and Stevens collide entering pits
The closing stages proved frantic. Vettel hunted down Hulkenberg in a multi-lap battle that ended at the final chicane when he edged his fellow German wide. Hulkenberg’s Force India rode the kerb, spun and then drove momentarily the wrong way on track before getting turned around. The stewards looked into the incident and Hulk’s subsequent turn around but issued no penalties.
Grosjean however earned a five second penalty after an odd collision with Will Stevens as the pair approached pit entry. Grosjean passed the Manor car then, thinking he was clear, moved over on him. Grosjean’s left rear made contact with Steven’s front wing resulting in shattered endplate for Stevens and a cut tire for Grosjean. They came in for repairs seconds afterwards, but the damage and penalty ruined Grosjean’s chance for a great finish.
Hamilton wins, Vettel and Massa recover for good points
In the end no one could challenge Lewis Hamilton as the Briton claimed his fourth Canadian Grand Prix victory and his fourth victory of the 2015 season. Rosberg finished a solid second. Valtteri Bottas in the Williams claimed his maiden podium of 2015 with a fine third. Raikkonen took a solid if disappointing fourth, just one spot ahead of his team mate who charged from 18th to a remarkable 5th. Massa took an excellent sixth after his strong run from 15th. Pastor Maldonado had a great run for Lotus in seventh, just ahead of Nico Hukenberg who despite the tangle with Vettel held on to a good eighth place result. Danil Kvyat gave Red Bull a shimmer of hope with ninth and Grosjean rounded out a double points day for Lotus with 10th.
|8||Hulkenberg||Force India||+1 lap|
|9||Kvyat||Red Bull||+1 lap|
|11||Perez||Force India||+1 lap|
|12||Sainz||Toro Rosso||+1 lap|
|13||Ricciardo||Red Bull||+1 lap|
|15||Verstappen||Toro Rosso||+1 lap|
Image: Mercedes AMG F1