14/06/2012

Canadian GP, Montreal- 7th different winner, strategies rule


It all came down to strategies and tyres in the end to give us our 7th different winner of the season, a new record. Of course pace of the car played a big role as well but the clever and brave strategy made the difference. Lewis Hamilton became the 7th winner of the season, it was long due from him and he finally joined the party. Everyone was surprised as Grosjean ended at P2 & Perez at P3.

The detailed review of the whole weekend is here:

Practice Sessions, FP1:


A gloomy weather to start of the weekend in Canada, first of the races in the other side of the world. The usual Friday outing for the teams but with rain forecasted in the afternoon session, some teams opted to use the supersoft tyres, just in case. Hamilton stamped his authority in a bid to become the 7th different winner as he ended at P1 followed by Vettel at P2 & Rosberg at P3. SFI’s Hulkenberg used the SS tyres in the end to finish at P6 with Di Resta at P11. Karthikeyan’s HRT continued with last weekend impressive run as he ended at P22. Towards the end of the session there was a red flag due to Heikki hitting the wall.


FP2:


The rain didn’t come as forecasted but the performances of some of the teams continued to improve as the session went on. Hamilton continued with his strong performance as he ended at P1 again but this time, he was followed by the two Ferrari drivers with Alonso at P2 & Massa at P3. Another strong outing for the SFI team as Di Resta ended at P5 who also had the best S3 time of 29.9 among all the drivers. Hulkenberg equally impressive ended at P8. The drivers were among the Top 6 in the sector speed traps as well. The team were hopeful of a good performance in qualifying and race at the end of the day. Karthikeyan ended at P23 between the two Marussia’s, the team looking good to fight Marussia.


FP3:


Final preps for qualifying and the race in the final practice session. Vettel popped up with the best time to end at P1 followed by Alonso at P2 and Hamilton at P3. SFI were once again up in the mix as Hulkenberg ended at P10 & Di Resta at P11. A reasonable session for them ahead of qualifying. Karthikeyan ended at P21 in an improved HRT but the team were suffering from brake problems. And yes, Karthikeyan topped the speed trap with a speed of 324.7 KM/HR.


Fair and square practice sessions as RBR, McLaren & Ferrari looking good for pole position. More so Vettel & Hamilton as they are the two unpredictable drivers who can snatch pole from any situation. SFI were looking very good and Q3 for both was surely in the bags unless there is some traffic or disruptions. Karthikeyan was well under the 107% time, looking in a good position to beat the Marussia’s.



Qualifying, Q1:


A somewhat hot weather welcomed the qualifying session as the session kicked off with Q1. The usual suspects to bow out were marked once again but the Caterham’s could have caused an upset. They did a bit as they piped Vergne behind them. Along with them both the Marussia’s & HRT’s didn’t make it through. Karthikeyan finished at P24 which he later on said was difficult as he couldn’t get the most of out of the car. He was once again in the Top3 of the speed trap. Both the SFI safely made it through as Vettel ended at P1 whith Button at P2 & Hamilton at P3.


Q2:


A bit of dramatic end to the session as Maldonado spun leading to the finish line which was looking like a good lap for him to get through to Q3. Vettel once again ended at P1 with Alonso at P2 & Hmailton at P3. One of the SFI i.e Di Resta made it comfortable through to Q3 but Hulkenberg didn’t make it and ended at only P13. Later he confirmed that due to the yellow flag on his fastest lap, he had to abort that lap. It was certain that he would make it to Q3.


Q3:


After the “holes” on the floor was banned by the FIA, many thought that RBR won’t be able to match up with their previous performances but Vettel just proved everyone wrong as he flew to pole position with Hamilton ending at P2, just few hundred of a seconds and Alonso at P3. SFI’s Di Resta as opposed to staying in the pits came out to set a lap as he ended at P8 ahead of Schumacher & Button. For a change every driver set a time in Q3.


This was expected line up as at the start RBR, McLaren & Ferrari were all looking good for pole and in the end it was Vettel & RBR with a great lap. SFI had a bit of a mixed quali as I was expecting a double Q3 but then Nico explained the problem which costed him some positions. Double points from was the only target. Karthikeyan struggled after a good practice sessions but the team had their best quali performance yet.


Raceday:


The day we always wait for in a race weekend. And this weekend we were looking for more as there was always a possibility of getting our 7th different winner and thereby history being created. There were many great drivers in the paddock witnessing a historic race. And we all were set for the race to begin, for the first time we had a pretty clean start from all the drivers. Everyone started off safely, some did lose grid positions but no major damage reported. Vettel had a good start as he took the lead quickly. Behind them Rosberg was fighting hard with Webber, Massa as Grosjean lost a place to Di Resta. Hulkenberg dropped a place behind outside in the top 10. Karthikeyan stayed in the position he started as he was already suffering from brake problems.


After the round of first pit stops, where undercuts were used by Hamilton & Alonso. Hamilton lead the race from then on. A good battle was building up between them. Behind them it was all open as at first Webber, Rosberg, Grosjean & Kimi were fighting for the grid positions. Later on Perez joined this battle as he was on a one-stop strategy along with Grosjean. While Button was struggling again in his McLaren as he couldn’t get the tyre working at all. Massa after the spin got his act back and got in the points. The race was going all smoothly for all the drivers barring few DNF’s due to mechanical problems rather than accidents.


Di Resta was running as high as P5 at a point but his SS tyres were going largely off which forced him to pit and thereby having to start all over again from the back. He gained quite many positions but lost to Kobayashi & Massa. Hulkenberg on the other hand ran a bit longer in his first stint but his soft tyres went off as well, he was running in points when he had to pit and go behind his team mate. He somewhat had a lonely race. Karthikeyan unfortunately had to retire as the brake problems was too much too handle, he spun in the previous lap and had to retire then. A brilliant weekend for the team ended in a double DNF’s.


The last stint was perhaps the deciding factor of the race as strategy became very important. Hamilton pitted early for his second stop as Alonso & Vettel trying to run to the flag with one stop strategy. The strategy backfired as Hamilton gained loads of time and overtook Vettel & thereby Alonso for the lead and end as the winner. Vettel quickly realized and pitted to end at a decent P4 after losing places to Perez & Grosjean. It was too late for Alonso as he only managed P5. But a brilliant drive from Grosjean ending at P2 & Perez at P3 with only one stop stole the show. Di Resta ended at P11 while Hulkenberg at P12, surely a disappointing result after a great weekend until the race. I was checking their times, actually both were lapping almost within the second the top runners were lapping. Only difference was that they didn’t have enough pace to match or beat them unfortunately and after they race they admitted as well that the tyres didn’t go their way at all.


The race was uneventful but still we got all the action, also the 7th different winner. Not the best of end for SFI team and Karthikeyan but that’s what racing is. Someday all work well and someday it just doesn’t. In a season like this, it does make a difference but we never know what the next race holds for any of the team. All I can to the fans is that just sit back and enjoy the ride, we all are in it but it’s a sport after all, one win and the other loses. Next up is Valencia in two weeks time, not the best track but with a season we are having it might just turn out to be the best or at least better than the previous season. Adios!!


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