After that rather monotonous outing at Monaco, all eyes were on the Mercedes camp as the teams setup in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. Whilst the last race was boring due to the lack of overtaking and the ability to capitalise on ERS, Lewis Hamilton provided some excitement when he revealed that inner spoilt brat of his. Read our Monaco review for full details on why he threw his toys out of his Mercedes.
Lewis was clearly disappointed having to look up to Nico Rosberg on the podium, and the fact his body language suggested conspiracy and injustice, he’ll do whatever it takes to beat Rosberg. When teammates fall out and experience paranoia over who is receiving preferential treatment within the team, it always translates to the track. Hamilton has a great record in Montreal and is strong on late braking – the team principal probably didn’t get much sleep envisioning the opening laps.
For the teams trailing the Mercedes, practise times were encouraging at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, as the top 10 were fairly close and only separated by a second or so – the question was whether Mercedes were holding back. Ferrari fans had something to smile about with Fernando Alonso managing the quickest lap.
It didn’t take long for the Silver Arrows to top the timesheets in qualifying. Hamilton went off at Turn 1 and ruined his first lap, but with a great second effort, managed to knock his teammate Rosberg off the top spot.
Williams quickly moved to the front in the early stages of Q2, before the familiar streaks of silver split by them. Hamilton eventually took fastest lap with a 1:15.054s, with Rosberg second, and Massa third. Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo, Vettel and Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Raikkonen and Jean-Eric Vergne also made the final shoot out.
Rosberg was the first driver to set the touch paper when he went into the 1:14:00s, a time his teammate failed to beat. Bottas and Massa, Ricciardo, Vettel, Alonso, Vergne and Button all followed to set their times, with Raikkonen leaving it very late to set his run. After a stint in the pits with two minutes remaining, the cars emerged for a final battle. Rosberg bettered his previous lap, Hamilton again failed to beat it, and Vettel proved his talent and determination by taking third.
Qualifying Top 10:
1. Nico Rosberg – (Mercedes) – 1:14:874s
2. Lewis Hamilton – (Mercedes) – 1:14:953s
3. Sebastian Vettel – (Red Bull Racing-Renault) – 1:15:548s
4. Valtteri Bottas – (Williams-Mercedes) – 1:15:550s
5. Felipe Massa – (Williams-Mercedes) – 1:15:578s
6. Daniel Ricciardo – (Red Bull Racing-Renault) – 1:15:589s
7. Fernando Alonso – (Ferrari) – 1:15:814s
8. Jean-Eric Vergne – (Toro Rosso) – 1:16:162s
9. Jenson Button – (McLaren Mercedes) – 1:16:182s
10. Kimi Raikkonen – (Ferrari) – 1:16:214s
As the lights flashed out in Montreal, it was Hamilton who got away cleanest, but despite making it to turn one before Rosberg, the German was able to take the inside line and maintain position. Unfortunately for Hamilton, he touched the track and Vettel was there to jump on his disadvantage, leaping up into second.
Following a first-lap incident between Max Chilton and his Marussia teammate, the safety car prevented any further action for a boring seven laps – both of the Marussias were totalled and debris scattered all over the track.
When the safety car eventually peeled off, Hamilton, who should’ve been chomping at the bit to take Vettel, was caught off guard – this gave Vettel some much-needed breathing space. Any hopes of the Red Bull hanging onto second place ended when DRS was enabled, and it only took the long straight for Hamilton to steam past.
The usual Mercedes 1 – 2 scenario took place, and it took to lap 18 for any real excitement to take place. After his pitstop onto the soft compound tyres, Rosberg skidded at the exit of turn four, but his quick reactions prevented him hitting the barrier.
Hamilton stopped a lap later – it was a few tenths slower and he failed to jump his teammate, even with Rosberg’s mistake. This seemed to fuel the Brit’s fire, as within four laps he was back within DRS range.
Rosberg felt the pressure from his teammate on lap 25 after he braked too late at the final chicane and ran across the run-off area. Despite this, Rosberg set a fastest lap that remained for the entre race. He even managed to jump out of the DRS range, and despite a brief worry of a sanction for gaining after cutting the corner he was just given a warning as Hamilton was in no position to make a pass.
Hamilton took a further five laps to make up the deficit gained by Rosberg, but it seemed his efforts were in vain, because as soon as he got within range of his teammate, he started falling back. In fact, on lap 38, both Mercedes suffered an electrics fault which affected boost – they were a massive two-and-a-half seconds off their normal pace.
The Mercedes drivers managed to nurse their cars to the next round of pit stops, and although pitting after Rosberg, Hamilton managed to finally leap his teammate. It was very short-lived though, as disaster came in the form of hot brakes. This saw Hamilton retire on lap 46.
Meanwhile, Vettel was angry the team had brought him in for his second stop when they did, meaning he emerged in traffic and behind his teammate.
Rosberg now had queue of drivers all aware of his problem, and it was Ricciardo to take him on a straight on lap 68.
Vettel hadn’t given up and managed to take Perez at the end of the penultimate lap. Massa, trying to follow Vettel made contact with Perez and the pair hit the tyre wall.
This gifted fourth place to McLaren’s Jenson Button, a much-deserved bundle of points after over-taking both Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso at the hairpin on the previous lap.
Daniel Ricciardo took a brilliant win, with Rosberg doing a good job of securing second. Vettel made it Red bull’s weekend by taking the final spot on the podium.
Montreal were treated to a great day’s racing, and the world was witness to the first glimpse of a chink in Mercedes’ amour.
1. Daniel Ricciardo – (Red Bull Racing-Renault)
2. Nico Rosberg – (Mercedes)
3. Sebastian Vettel – (Red Bull Racing-Renault)
4. Jenson Button – (McLaren-Mercedes)
5. Nico Hulkenberg – (Force India)
6. Fernando Alonso – (Ferrari)
7. Valtteri Bottas – (Williams-Mercedes)
8. J Vergne – (Toro Rosso) Romain Grosjean – (Lotus)
9. Kevin Magnussen – (McLaren-Mercedes)
10. Kimi Raikkonen – (Ferrari)
11. Sergio Perez – (Force India) DNF
12. Massa – (Williams-Mercedes) DNF
13. Adrian Sutil – (Sauber) Lapped
14. E Gutierrez – (Sauber) DNF
15. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) DNF
16. Daniil Kvyat – (Toro Rosso) DNF
17. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) DNF
18. K Kobayashi – (Caterham) DNF
19. Pastor Maldonado (Lotus) DNF
20. M Ericsson – (Caterham) DNF
21. Max Chilton (Marussia) DNF
22. J Bianchi – (Marussia) DNF
Rosberg – 140 Points
Hamilton – 118 Points
Ricciardo – 79
Alonso – 69
Vettel – 60
Hulkenberg – 57
Button – 43
Bottas – 40
Magnussen – 23
Perez – 20
Next up, Austria!