Hamilton strolls to easy win in Canada
Defending champion Lewis Hamilton bounced back from the disappointment of losing the Monaco Grand Prix two weeks ago, by holding off Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas to win the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal yesterday.
Having secured his 44th career pole position in qualifying, the Brit led away from start and managed to maintain a gap of just over two seconds throughout the 70 lap race despite being told to conserve fuel during the latter stages.
“I love Montreal. I love this track. I love this city. Really just a fantastic weekend, great to get back on the top step,” a visibly elated Hamilton told Sky F1 pit reporter, Ted Kravitz, on the podium after the race.
“I didn't feel I had the most comfortable balance - I generally had a lot of understeer. But I never really felt too much under pressure. Nico was quick, but I felt I pretty much had it all under control and had a bit of time in my pocket to pull it out when I needed to. Did I need this? I think so”.
Unable to match Hamilton’s pace throughout race in spite of the small gaps, and having to conserve fuel and brakes, Rosberg stated that he couldn’t do much in matching his teammate ahead.
“It was a good race against Lewis, I was pushing like mad to try and put the pressure on, but he didn't make any mistakes so fair play. It was a challenging race because we had to manage fuel, brakes, all these things, but it was the same for Lewis,” Rosberg told Kravitz.
Speaking to the BBC, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff acknowledged that the result made up for the team’s strategic blunder in Monaco where a late pitstop dropped Hamilton from a certain victory to third behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and eventual winner Rosberg.
“After Monaco it was very difficult for the team to handle it. We were exposed to massive criticism. It looked like all the victories and world championships were forgotten and suddenly a bunch of idiots were managing the team,” Wolff told the broadcaster.
“And then when he had some ups and downs in the team. The result is satisfying after what happened in Monaco”.
In a race often characterised by safety cars and multiple accidents, Bottas managed to secure his and Williams’ first podium finish of the season at the expense of compatriot Kimi Raikkonen.
Seemingly heading for third, a sudden power surge from the hybrid powertrain saw the Ferrari rotating at the infamous Montreal hairpin on lap 27, dropping the 2007 champion behind Bottas and unable to reel him in despite switching to the faster super soft tyres with 30 laps to go.
Having suffered powertrain problems and overtaking under a red flag in qualifying, which left him starting 18th, Ferrari teammate Vettel eventually managed to finish fifth despite having his progress delayed by a slow first pitstop and almost colliding with the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg at the final chicane on lap 44.
“It was the best we could do. It’s a bit of a shame obviously because especially around here it’s a very nice podium and I think, without the penalty, I could have had a shot,” he told Sky after the race.
“I was very happy with the car, especially towards the end, the pace just kept coming and it was getting quicker and quicker. But would, could, should doesn’t really matter. That’s life and it was a good recovery”.
The near-miss and subsequent spin dropped Hulkenberg to an eventual eighth place behind the second Williams of Felipe Massa and Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado, who also scored his finish and points for the team.
Teammate Romain Grosjean overcame a late five second penalty for a botched overtake on the lapped Manor of Will Stevens to claim the final point for tenth place behind the Red Bull of Danill Kyat. The Russian’s result was in stark contrast to the 13th place finish of his teammate and last year’s winner Daniel Ricciardo, who later called the race the worst of his career.
More frustrations however awaited the reunited McLaren Honda outfit as both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button retired with exhaust failure ten laps apart. The Spaniard later venting his frustration when told to save fuel, by telling his engineer that doing this and driving the car was making them look like amateurs.
The next round sees the F1 circus making its second visit to the rebranded Red Bull Ring for the Austrian Grand Prix on June 20th.
CANADIAN GRAND PRIX RESULTS
|8.||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||+1 Lap|
|9.||Danill Kvyat||Red Bull||+1 Lap|
|10.||Rosmain Grosjean||Lotus||+1 Lap|
|11.||Sergio Perez||Force India||+1 Lap|
|12.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Torob Rosso||+1 Lap|
|13.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+1 Lap|
|14.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||+1 Lap|
|15.||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||+1 Lap|
|16.||Felipe Nasr||Sauber||+2 Laps|
|17.||Will Stevens||Manor||+4 Laps|
|DNF||Roberto Mehri||Manor||53 laps, driveshaft|
|DNF||Jenson Button||McLaren||54 laps, exhaust|
|DNF||Fernando Alonso||McLaren||44 laps, exhaust|
|7.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||35|
|8.||Danill Kvyat||Red Bull||19|
|11.||Sergio Perez||Force India||11|
|12.||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||10|
|13.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Toro Rosso||9|
|14.||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||6|
IMAGE sourced from montrealgazette.com
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