Jack Evans, F1 Corresondent
Seven Grand Prix events in 2012 and Hamilton becomes 7th different winner
Lewis Hamilton overcame poor pit work with a scintillating late charge to win the FIA Formula One Canadian Grand Prix.
After a characteristically slow stop by his McLaren crew that lost him the top two positions, Hamilton put in fast lap after fast lap to gain on Fernando Alonso, eventually passing the Ferrari driver for the lead, which he retained to the checkered flag.
I loved every single minute of it.
“I knew today would be a tough, tough race but I loved every single minute of it,” Hamilton said.
Shortly after losing the lead, Alonso was then overtaken first by Romain Grosjean, then knocked entirely off the podium by Sergio Perez, then passed by Sebastian Vettel, dropping him five positions in as many laps.
Hamilton is the seventh driver to win a race by Round Seven of the championship. It his third win here in Montreal, and he waved the Union Jack driving into parc ferme to celebrate.
“It’s still sinking in,” he told reporters in the post-race conference. “But it’s been five years since my first win (ever) here but it feels just as good.”
It must also feel good to lead the points standings in what has already been a roller-coaster season. Though his gap to Alonso is only two points and three to Vettel, finally winning in the very capable McLaren bodes well for the rest of Hamilton’s season.
The race was defined by the long DRS zone that provided many passing opportunities and played well into the hands of the race winner; it’s where he got around both Vettel and Alonso—second and first at the time—with less than ten laps remaining.
The intense shuffling in the dying moments put two non-winners back on the podium.
Grosjean admitted to being happily surprised by his great result: “I was fighting with them (Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg for fifth) pushing quite hard but I knew I was trying to go for a one-stop. When I finally saw Mark Coming in my tires were quite fresh.” The Frenchman took advantage of a curious late stop by Vettel and Alonso’s plummet down the order, “And then I was second!”
Beside Grosjean stood Perez at race’s end. The young Mexican is having a great season, highlighted today by a fantastic run up the grid.
“Starting 15th, the last thing you think about is to end up on the podium,” he said.
Rosberg was the focus of much battling throughout the day, and eventually ended sixth. Behind him were Webber and Kimi Raikkonen, whose ultra-late one-stop strategy did not pay off like it did for Perez.
Kobayashi followed, then Massa, who had a tumultuous race that saw him as high as fifth before spins and unscheduled stops dropped him back.
7-times Canadian GP winner Michael Schumacher retired in the garage with a stuck-open DRS flap.
Jenson Button had an awful day, starting tenth and ending sixteenth. It seems his famous tire preservation skills were absent, as it was harsh lockups and flat-spotting that added unnecessarily to his pit stop tally, problems that have plagued the Brit all weekend.
In team standings, Lotus-Renault now lies eleven points ahead of Scuderia Ferrari, but Red Bull maintain a healthy gap to McLaren, 164 to 133.
The next race is the Grand Prix of Europe in Valencia, Spain in two weeks.