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Featured Canadian GP Debrief: Hamilton Maintains Upswing in Montreal

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Ben Stevens, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. Ben Stevens

    Ben Stevens

    hamcanada.JPG It took him six races to earn his first win of the season, but Lewis Hamilton wasted no time getting his second.

    Montreal may be a little over 5000 kilometers away from his hometown of Stevenage, Hertfordshire, but with his fifth win there on Sunday, it’s clear Lewis Hamilton feels just as home at the former as he does at the latter.

    Two weeks after taking his first win of the season in Monaco, Hamilton made it a non-French-yet-Francophone double with his victory in the Canadian city, producing another stellar drive to put him within shouting distance of the lead in the driver’s championship.

    Where Hamilton’s previous victory was helped by a sizable dose of good fortune, this one was pure hard work. His pole position was quickly nullified by a fast-starting Sebastian Vettel, who blitzed both Hamilton and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg off the line in his newly-upgraded Ferrari. As the race went on, tyre strategy played an ever-increasing factor, with Hamilton pitting once to retake the lead over the two-stopping Vettel. Yet again forced to make his tyres last for an extended period of time, Hamilton was able to romp home as Vettel faltered in the race’s later stages.

    With all that transpired on Sunday, this race could end up marking a major turning point in the 2016 F1 season, so read on for a closer look at the 2016 Canadian Grand Prix.

    hamroscanada.JPG Hamilton and Rosberg’s contrasting fortunes close-up title fight.

    On Saturday, Lewis Hamilton was able to best teammate Nico Rosberg to a handy pole-position – on race day, he proved determined to keep the German second-best.

    In what has become a familiar occurrence over the course of their rivalry, the two Mercedes drivers once again found themselves skirting controversy in a start-line battle through the first corner. On Sunday, it was Hamilton who came out on top after holding his line through the left-right complex of turns one and two, causing Rosberg to run off-track and slip down to ninth, eventually finishing a distant fifth.

    At first glance it might’ve looked like Hamilton’s move was worth an investigation at the very least (and according to Sky’s Ted Kravitz, his German colleagues certainly thought so), but under closer examination, there was little to complain about. Rosberg, in capitalising on Hamilton’s poor start was able to get alongside, but with the understeering Brit on the inside and on the racing line, Rosberg was always going to be cut off into turn two unless Hamilton uncharacteristically conceded. It was steadfast racing from both drivers, but in fighting him, Rosberg had gambled and this time it didn’t pay off.

    From there, Hamilton’s race was not too dissimilar to his performance in Monaco 14 days earlier. Sticking to a one-stop strategy where his immediate rivals opted for two. Hamilton was able to once again extract the maximum out of his tyres, getting both pace and durability in a 46-lap stint on softs that saw him lap comfortably to victory. It was a masterful drive, and on a day where both Vettel and Rosberg had untimely mishaps, Hamilton failed to put a foot wrong in what was arguably his best race of the season.

    With the championship gap closed all the way back up to nine points after Sunday, Hamilton finds himself with the tables very much turned heading into the season’s second trimester. Confidence is a valuable commodity in Formula 1, and the three-time world champion now has bucket-loads of it. For the first time all year, it is now up to Rosberg to answer, and if he wants to stop the bleeding, he’s got precious little time to do it.

    vetcan.jpg Vettel, Ferrari take early lead, proceed to hand it back.

    If there’s one quote that can sum up Ferrari’s weekend in Canada, it’s probably this one from Sebastian Vettel: “mamma-mia”.

    In what can only be described as a missed opportunity for the Scuderia, victory seemed there for the taking after Vettel’s phenomenal start had given him the lead, until an early pit-stop under the virtual safety car handed it right back.

    Despite having the advantage of fresher rubber after his second stop on lap 38, Vettel was never able to sufficiently pressure Hamilton, and locked-up several times into the final chicane while pursuing him. The second place was sure to be bittersweet for all at the Scuderia, but can they really be faulted too much?

    As easy as it is to say that Ferrari “blew it”, the truth is a lot less simple. Hamilton and Bottas were the only drivers in the top ten to pit just once – the former running contrary to Vettel, the latter trying to leapfrog the Red Bulls, and while they clearly underestimated the durability of the tyres, it’s not like they were alone in that error. They say hindsight is 20/20, and with that sort of vision such a costly decision is always going to look worse than it actually was.

    Given their championship pedigree and the immense pressure that seems to surround Ferrari at all times, that’s unlikely to provide any solace to the Scuderia, but the result does provide ample cause for positivity heading forward. Their engine update has looks to have helped worked – bringing them closer in qualifying at one of F1’s power tracks, and with a different strategy could have brought them a victory. 14 races remain for them to snag at least a couple of wins, and that is a more realistic target than it has ever been. If 2016 can be seen as a staging ground for an all-out championship assault in 2017, they’re well on their way to success.

    bottascanada.jpg Bottas gives Williams reason to smile.

    Take a bow, Valtteri Bottas.

    Another driver with something of an affinity for the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the Finn was at his absolute best in taking the final step of the podium, delivering a needed boost to a team that had failed to impress so far in the 2016 season.

    Through the first six races, the FW38’s best result was fifth, which it achieved in three different races. With other engine suppliers starting to gain significant ground on Mercedes, Williams’ chances for major points seem increasingly relegated to power tracks – at Montreal, they needed to put their best foot forward, and with Bottas, they did.

    Often lambasted for their strategy in recent times, it’s only fair to credit Williams when they do get it right, and Montreal was one of those occasions. The aforementioned decision to one-stop gave them a decided leg-up on the field, and Bottas was able to do the rest – sandwiched between Daniel Ricciardo and Rosberg, he pressured past the former, and proved impassable to the latter, all on tyres a lap older than Hamilton’s. A well-deserved podium if there ever was one.

    This far into the V6 era, it’s clear money is starting to talk more than it ever has previously. Both Ferrari and Red Bull produce a more well-rounded package, and the standings attest as much. For Williams, power tracks like Montreal are the type of place they can hope to continue to mix it up with the big boys, and Sunday showed us as much. The unfortunate truth is that for a financial underdog team like Williams, the highs of 2014 and ’15 were always going to be difficult to sustain, but rest assured, with a driver as capable as Bottas at the helm, this dog isn’t out of fight just yet.

    Will Hamilton regain the championship lead before Silverstone? Have Ferrari narrowed the gap to Mercedes? Are Williams capable of more podiums? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2016
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  2. Do people still watch this boring burlesque ?
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  3. It isn't boring at all.
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  4. Chris

    Ted Kravitz Appreciation Society Staff Premium

    Indeed. In terms of the racing we've had this season, it's been one of the best in recent memory! If you think it's boring, well then you're not a real fan of Motorsport.
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  5. After Holding his line :roflmao::D:O_o: thru The left right T1 & T2

    I absolutely love the bias going on this season.

    Swap the incident round and Lewis woulda been crying like a baby. " Nico hit me"

    Rosberg better start growing a pair or his championship ambitions will be over:thumbsdown:

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  6. There was an amazing fight between Hamilton and Vettel, but only racing fans could see it since the cars were not close on the track. Behind it was very interesting too. Amazing suspense. Casual fans only see fights when the cars are close together that is a shame.

    Facts about Montreal:
    • Mercedes still hasn't solved his clutch problem. Vettel was able to pass both cars at the start on the first 60 meters. This problem persists since the new rules about the teams informing drivers about the start procedure and clutch settings, implemented in Monza last year.
    • Verstappen was again faster than Riccardo, at 18 he is already able to better save his tires.
    • It was strange to see the Redbulls doing two stops when the Williams did only one, normally Williams has more tire degradation than Redbull.
    • Renault insists on not hirering an experienced driver like Hulkenberg, that will cost them dearly, even with an improved engine they had nothing to show. It might cost them the continuity in the next championship.
    • Grosjean is not meeting the expectations that he raised after the first two races, he is even slower than his teammate.
    • Ferrari is back.
    • Bottas and Verstappen might be on the radar of Ferrari for next year to replace Kimi.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  7. Montreal normally is a good grand prix, but there was not much to see in this race.
    It was basically a procession from lap 2 to the finish.
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  8. Chris

    Ted Kravitz Appreciation Society Staff Premium

    A lack of overtaking does not mean the race was not exciting.
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  9. Nico wasn't even on the racing line, he understeered and was heading off track. Now if Hamilton had not been there Nico could have slowed down and turned left to get back on the line.. Not so much about growing a pair as it is about not carrying too much speed into the turn... This is lap one, he was off the racing line, no point in trying to win the war before the battle has begun.. shrug.. I am quite certain Nico has a pair, driving F1 ain't for the faint of heart. He carried too much speed in the turn and and Sir Issac Newton had a chuckle.. end of story.. ;-)

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  10. Erwin Greven

    Erwin Greven

    Two notes: Lewis had tires aged 15 laps when Vettel pitted. After that Vettel did not manage to close the gap completely. In fact Lewis played with that gap.
    Verstappen has nothing to win with going to Ferrari. The Ferrari is not a championship contender. The RB can improve a lot, while being as fast as the Ferrari atm.
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  11. Not sure about Newton having a chuckle.... I had a chuckle at your explanation though ;)

    Looked like Lewis had the under steer not Nico imo :O_o:
    I'm sure we will see Rosbergs balls when & if he signs his contract extension :whistling:
    we will have lots more to debate between now & the seasons end :thumbsup: no doubt
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
  12. Some of the best races in f1 involved mansell/senna/prost battling for position, lap after lap. Didn't see any of that going on in montreal or any other race this year, just some tedious "push and pass" overtakes.

    I still watch f1 every race and find most entertaining, but the sport is far off from where it should be.
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