Ever wondered what happens when the Universe conspires against the Ice Man? When Red Bull seems to be running on rocket fuel? When a quiet Scot rises up to stun? When the Finger makes its presence felt (yes, again) and Alonso muscles his way to the podium? Well, that’s what we call the Canadian Grand Prix, says Nikki Grubb-Clarke
So Montreal race review. Does it tell you anything at all that I have sat down to write this and thought, ‘Well this won’t take very long’? Yep. You guessed it. Bar a few incidents, it was a baby bit of a snore fest. Usually an action-packed calendar highlight, Montreal DEFINITELY had an off day.
Pre-race, the universe began its task to try and stop Kimster from equaling The Evil One’s record of 24 race finishes in the points, and gave him a 2-place grid penalty for being a bad boy with his positioning at the end of the pit lane at the beginning of Q2. Universe 1, Kimi 0.
Most were predicting that potentially Lew-Lew – the undisputed Master of Montreal might pull it out of the bag to win here for the 4th time. But would the Mercedes be able to offer him the race pace that, let us be honest, has been sadly lacking. Plus Finger Boy got the pole, and when he’s at the front, he doesn’t give it up that easily. Would he simply scamper away and leave everyone else eating Red Bull Dust (ooo Red Bull dust…like popping candy but made from dried red bull…I may have to patent that). (You can tell the race was a bit pants when I digress into the world of popping candy, can’t you?)
With the race underway, Vettel leapt off pole and immediately took the line to hold the lead into the first corner. Lew-Lew held 2nd beautifully, while Valtteri Bottas couldn’t keep the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg at bay and lost first 3rd, and then 4th to a Mark Webber who had determinedly told Martin Brundle on the grid that he would pass Bottas “…as soon as possible!”
And so it was that by the end of the lap, Finger Boy had a lead over 2 seconds. Bye then.
Adrian Sutil, obviously realising that the race was settling into a somewhat predictable rhythm, was kind enough to have his front wing tipped by the ever-going-backwards Bottas, and did a pirouette even an ice dancer would be proud of. To their absolute credit, everyone managed to avoid him, and he ended up getting under way again, but on track next to Pastor Maldonado. Now I don’t know about you, but when I see a car right in front of me, I tend to either slow down, or change direction. Not our Crashtor! Honestly, it would have been easier for him NOT to hit Sutil, but hit him he did, right on the behind! Oh Crashtor! The stewards investigated and gave him a drive-through penalty that was thoroughly deserved.
What of the lead though? Yep. VET ran away, but gave the wall a blooming good lick. And got away with it. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want him to crash – I would never ever wish that on any driver. But if you lick the wall like that is it too much to ask for a slow puncture?
Kimi was meanwhile giving the Universe a run for its money after its dastardly grid penalty plan had given it a 1-0 lead – right up until his first stop. To say that it did not go to plan would be something of an understatement. The rear jack man was obviously playing musical bumps with himself, and as buttock hit tarmac, so did car. Without the right rear replaced. The Universe licked its lips. 2-0.
Now as we continued to race, He of Chiseled Jaw was going great guns. He’d gotten past Rosberg to put himself in a great 3rd and was pushing Lew-Lew to try and get his 2nd place. As he hit traffic, Giedo van der Garde was given a Blue Flag to let him past, but decided, having left some room for Mark, to change his mind. He cut back over and bits of Red Bull front wing went flying all over the shop. A disaster for Webber, who was having a great race. Or so you’d think. The next couple of laps, he went FASTER. With only part of his Front Wing. What on earth is Newey making these cars out of? Van Der Garde received a 10-second Stop-Go Penalty for his trouble.
And so the race carried on…and on…
The Ferrari really started to come into its own, pressing Webber until on lap 42, Alonso made a beautiful little move and snatched 3rd place. With Lew-Lew some 8 seconds up the road, he set off to try and catch him.
It took 20 laps, but catch him he did. The two had a mighty battle, with Lewis making his car the widest Mercedes ever known. But finally, on lap 64 and taking full advantage of the DRS available to him, Alonso made the move and took 2nd place. To his credit, Lew-Lew stayed with Alonso for some time, and continued to fight, but sadly couldn’t find the way past.
As the chequered flag came out, Finger Boy delivered to Red Bull the victory that had so eluded them previously, winning by some 19 seconds. Not only are they built like tanks, but the RBRs are obviously being run on rocket fuel!
And what of Bottas, the brave rookie who so heroically put his Williams on 3rd in Quali? He went backwards, the car simply not having the pace for him to keep up with the big boys…or the mid-field, come to that, and he finished out of the points. I was heartbroken – you can imagine. I am left wondering whether Williams will score any points at all this year. And how much I will laugh if they don’t.
Don’t worry – I haven’t forgotten about the epic battle between Universe and IceMan. Kimi proved yet again why he is one of the best in the business, driving a brilliant race to finish 9th and in the points, equalling Schumacher’s record of finishing 24 races in succession in the points. Bravo!
Driver of the day however has to go to Paul Di Resta, who quietly drove a 1 stop race, brilliantly maintaining his tyres, keeping it on the grey stuff to go from 17th to an absolutely stunning 7th. THIS is what I’ve wanted to see from the well-mannered Scot for the longest time. Who knows what he could have achieved had he made it into Q3.
And so we leave Canada, slightly blue that this usually great race was a wee bit pants. And yay me, I’ve managed to get through a whole Quali Review AND Race Review without a single mention of THAT tyre test!! Hoorah!
The Canadian Grand Prix Top 10
1 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
2 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
3 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
4 Mark Webber (Red Bull)
5 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
6 Jean-Eric Vergne (Torro Rosso)
7 Paul Di Resta (Force India)
8 Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
9 Kimi Raikkenon (Lotus)
10 Adrian Sutil (Force India)
Follow Nikki on Twitter