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Button Surprise Winner Of Chaotic Race In Montreal

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Button Surprise Winner Of Chaotic Race In Montreal

Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve

Story Highlights

  • Button breaks Vettel win streak
  • Rain, rain and more rain + red flag
  • Vettel's error costs him the victory

Jenson is on the Button in manic Canadian Grand Prix


After an epic race including five safety cars, crashes, and long rain delays, round seven of the Formula One 2011 season in Montreal had a surprising winner on the top step of the podium. McLaren’s Jenson Button was the man on fantastic form, who brought Sebastian Vettel’s winning streak to an end. The Red Bull driver had to settle for second place, while his team mate, Mark Webber, took a third place finish.

The 2009 World Champion was awarded with his well-deserved 10th Grand Prix victory.

Race action
Race action

Photo by: xpb.cc

Button was thrilled to take the Canadian Grand Prix win and described how tricky the conditions were along the way. “That was the best victory of my career, and today is therefore a very special day for me. I fought my way from last to first to win the race, and I overtook the cars in front of me on the track. To win a grand prix by getting one over on your rivals with a series of strong overtaking moves makes it even better. Races in changing conditions are always very tricky – but I love it when you’ve got to search for grip on the track rather than knowing in advance where it is.”

On the final lap of the race, Button converted his opportunity to take first place from Vettel. The reigning World Champion had led for most of the race, but Button caught him off guard when the German ran wide, and he suddenly lost the lead and victory. However, Button had a few battles along the way including contact with his own team mate, Lewis Hamilton in the early stages. Before the race had barely begun, Hamilton had contact with Webber, which caused him to drop down a few places.

Vettel commented, "I think all in all, it was a good race for us today." And then he reflected on race: ”Of course I’m disappointed. I think it was a very difficult race from start to finish and we led every single lap, apart from the last one, or part of the last one. I think I was probably too conservative when I was in the lead after the last safety car; I didn’t open the gap enough and was trying to hold the gap to the cars behind. Then I saw Jenson coming through, I was pushing and thought it would be enough to the end, but obviously it wasn’t, as I made a mistake."

That was the best victory of my career.

Jenson Button

Webber had a bit more work to do after the collision, which saw him fall to 14th position at the time. After scrapping for position with Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher, Hamilton’s next near victim was his own team mate. The Englishman attempted to catch his fellow countryman on lap eight, but the pair came together on the main straight as a result. The collision nevertheless spelt the end of Hamilton’s race, as his car suffered suspension damage and a tyre puncture. The incident did warrant a safety car situation, which was one of many in the race that had even begun under it as well.

"I was a little bit fortunate today when Sebastian (Vettel) made a mistake on the last lap, but I think we deserved that bit of luck! As far as the incident with Lewis is concerned, I couldn’t see a thing behind me except a blur of Vodafone rocket-red, but that could have been my rear wing: obviously, it’s the same colour as Lewis’s car. I moved to the left, which is the racing line, then I felt a bang, and I feared it was game over for both of us. Lewis knows that I didn’t do it on purpose, and I know that he didn’t do it on purpose either," explained Button.

Despite the 2008 World Champion’s race already coming to an end, it did not seem likely that his team mate would go on to win the race. After having to pit for repairs to his car following the knock, Button was issued with a drive through penalty. The stewards found that he had been speeding under safety car conditions early on in the race.

Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing and Lewis Hamilton, McLaren Mercedes
Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing and Lewis Hamilton, McLaren Mercedes

Photo by: xpb.cc

Once the action was unfolding as normal without the safety car on track, Vettel resumed his lead at the front of the field. However, the weather began to take a turn for the worse, which caused Fernando Alonso to respond twice, to movements from other front-runners who pitted for tyre changes. The Ferrari driver first opted for intermediate tyres, after following by example from Button’s solid pace. Just a few laps further on and the Spaniard was in the pits again, and on this occasion chose full wet tyres.

The safety car made a third appearance on lap 20, to guide the field through the treacherous conditions in the pouring rain. Shortly after the safety car emerged from the pits, Vettel confirmed how poor the conditions were. Via the team radio he explained Turns9-13 were “undriveable”. On lap 25 the FIA officials made the decision that the weather and track conditions were too dangerous to continue racing. Consequently, it was red flagged and temporarily suspended, until it was deemed safe enough to get going again. As a result of this, the cars had to line up in race order on the grid, and could only have any necessary work done there and not in the garage.

The waiting game was finally over for the drivers and teams and the race resumed on lap 26. The track and wet weather conditions had improved enough to get racing again. However, the safety car took to the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit once more to control the restart. Under the FIA ruling, all drivers must use full wet tyres, if in such conditions when starting under the safety car. If the drivers are found to be doing the contrary, then they will be penalised. A prime example of this came on lap 35. Jerome D’Ambrosio for Virgin Racing, was issued with a drive through penalty, as he was on the incorrect tyres while the safety car was still out on track. The Belgian driver overcame such problems to finish in 14th place.

With so much water having been on the track, it took a while for the conditions to improve and dry out, giving more opportunity for better tyre grip on the circuit, and enable the use of the DRS and KERS systems allowed for this season. At the time of the restart the drivers were not permitted to use the DRS with the safety car still in track. As there were more incidents and need for the safety car to be deployed, it was not until about lap 46 that the drivers could benefit from this gadget. The beauty of the circuit in Montreal this weekend, meant there were two areas for the DRS activation zones. The first location was on the exit of the Turn 10 hairpin towards the final chicane, and down to the first corner. Aside from these areas on the track, the drivers could not pre select the DRS beforehand.

With 15 laps to go until the end of the race, Webber attempted to use his DRS on a manoeuvre over Schumacher. The pair had a few scraps for position throughout the race including this one, lap 63 and lap 68. Unfortunately for Webber, the first opportunity did not follow through. The Australian was unable to catch Schumacher who maintained second place at the time. Their second battle was even more of a challenge for Webber. He missed the corner and therefore gained a position, and temporarily took second place. Under the FIA ruling he has to give it back to the other driver, which Webber did with Schumacher. Webber then sadly lost out to Button, who was showing fabulous form lap by lap in the closing stages. Button operated his DRS at that point, and succeeded in the manoeuvre to take second position then. Schumacher just missed out on a podium finish and had to settle for fourth place as a result.

Although the race had got underway again with the safety car present, Team Lotus’ Heikki Kovalainen could not take part for too much longer. The Finnish driver complained of “Hardly any drive” via the team radio on lap 29. Sadly his race was over on the following lap, as his car was pushed into the garage. It was later reported that his car had suffered drive shaft failure. There was a positive outcome to his Italian team mate’s race though, as Jarno Trulli finished the race and landed himself 16th place.

Rain in Montreal
Rain in Montreal

Photo by: xpb.cc

On lap 34 Vettel was the leader once again, as the safety car returned to the pits for a while. Where the front-runners were concerned, there was quite a lot of traffic for them to pass and regain track position. Alonso suffered at the time of his pit stop on lap 37, as he lost a few places and it seemed the team were not expecting him in. Shortly after he took to the track again, but did not last long there. He had contact with Button, when the pair were battling for position. For Alonso’s car the damage was terminal and his race was over at Turn 5. Button was fortunate enough to continue, but had to pit for repairs to be done. The collision led to another safety car situation in order for Alonso’s car to be moved to safety. His retirement from the Grand Prix today, ended his long run of race finishes since Spa last year; being the previous occasion where he failed to reach the end. The stewards announced that they would investigate the incident after the race. It has not yet been confirmed what the outcome of their decision will be.

Not for the first time when yet another race start occurred, Vettel seemed the man to beat and he sped off from the pack on lap 41.

Although things seemed to be under control at the front, the midfield had a few moments for the stewards to focus their attention on.

Among the four rookie drivers this season, Paul Di Resta for Force India is one in particular who has demonstrated good skills in the races so far. Throughout the Grand Prix today though, he found his luck was changing for the worse at times. The Scotsman was scrapping for position with Renault’s Nick Heidfeld around lap 42. Unfortunately the least experienced driver suffered damage to his car as a result of a risky manoeuvre. Di Resta attempted to take fourth position from Heidfeld, but this resulted in him breaking his front wing in the process. Both drivers came to the attention of the stewards, who decided to investigate the incident. Di Resta was issued with a drive through penalty for causing an avoidable collision. He later retired from the race when he went off the track at Turn 9 on the penultimate lap.

Heidfeld’s race was over on lap 56 when he came together with feisty Sauber driver, Kamui Kobayashi. Heidfeld’s car ended up with a broken front wing, which caused him to slide off the track but landed in a safe place. The contact between the pair, led to another safety car deployment on lap 57. The marshals were then able to remove the debris from the track, which came from the German’s car. On the other hand, the Japanese driver went on to complete the race and finished in seventh position.

Despite Di Resta being in the picture for his collision with Heidfeld, his German team mate Adrian Sutil was also at the forefront of the stewards’ minds. On the same lap as his team mate having contact with Heidfeld, Sutil brought concern to Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg. His fellow countryman was concerned about possible damage to his car. The pair made contact during the safety car period earlier on in the race. As a result of this, the stewards were kept busy as they decided to look into it. Nevertheless, Sutil bowed out of the race on lap 53 with suspected suspension damage to his car. Rosberg put his worries behind him though, as he picked up an 11th place finish.

As well as team mates, Sutil and Di Resta being in the limelight, it was also a similar situation for the Renault team. Heidfeld’s Russian team mate, Vitaly Petrov was given a drive through penalty, as he was found to have overtaken under a safety car period. Petrov did complete the race though unlike his team mate, and secured fifth place for himself.

Towards the front of the field there were mixed results for some teams. Alonso had already retired from the race, but Massa continued to fly the flag for Ferrari. The Brazilian driver managed to secure a sixth place finish overall. During the race though, he too had a few troubles. On lap 53 at the exit of Turn 7 his car aquaplaned, which slid him into the wall and damaged his nose cone. Luckily Massa was able to continue until the end after a pit stop for repairs.

Due to the tricky conditions on the track from the rain, which cause numerous collisions and safety car deployments, there were a number of cars that did not go the 70-lap distance. Pastor Maldonado joined those who had already made their exit when he stopped at Turn 2 on lap 63. However, his Williams team mate, Rubens Barrichello went on to finish in ninth place, and picked up some valuable points for the team.

The Brazilian driver was just pipped to eighth position by Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari. The Austrian team seemed to have a fairly uneventful race themselves, despite what was going on around them in between safety cars. Alguersuari’s Swiss team mate, Sebastien Buemi finished in the final point scoring position. {{

Even though Kobayashi got himself towards the front, and was battling with some of the top contenders, his stand- in team mate, Pedro de la Rosa seemed to keep out of the limelight in the race. The Spaniard missed out on some points unlike his team mate, but managed to finish in 12th place.

The Hispania Racing team went on to complete the race with both cars going to the end. Vitantonio Liuzzi beat his team mate to the higher finish slot though, and ended up in 13th position. Whereas, Narain Karthikeyan was a little further down in 17th place. The Indian driver did initially take 14th place, but had 20 seconds added to his final time, as he cut a corner, and gained a position in the process.

The other team also towards the back of the field that had two cars completing the race, was Virgin Racing. Timo Glock also brought his car passed the chequered flag, and took 15th place in the end.

After an incredibly hectic race with lots of action on and off the track, it certainly kept the drivers on their toes. Sadly for Vettel though, he seemed to fall at the final hurdle. His victorious run has now been broken by Button, who will be very pleased with the unexpected win, and the record of six visits to the pits he made. One of which was for the drive through penalty. The challenge of all factors playing a part though, does show that full concentration is essential, and anything can happen even on the final lap of a race. The drivers now have two weeks to prepare for their next stop at the European Grand Prix in Valencia.

As a result of Button’s win in today’s race, he now moves from fourth to second place in the Drivers’ Standings. There are 60 points separating him from Vettel who still leads at the top. Mark Webber is seven points behind Button, and Hamilton is a further nine points adrift in fourth place.

Red Bull remain in control of the Constructors’ Championship, and currently lead by 255 points, and Mclaren stay in second position with 186 points. Ferrari are a bit further behind with 101 points.

Canadian GP Race results and Current Championship Standings

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Series F1
Tags button, canadian grand prix, hannah taylor, mclaren, red bull, vettel

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