Race Report: Hamilton claims 5th Canadian GP

Lewis Hamilton adds another win in Canada and makes his mark on a circuit he clearly has a great history with. The location of his first grand prix win now becomes his fifth win at the Canadian Grand Prix. Lewis was followed hotly by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who was trailed home by Williams F1’s Valtteri Bottas to complete the podium.

Championship leader Nico Rosberg finished 5th behind Plucky Teen Max Verstappen losing points to bring the delta between he and his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, to just nine points. Verstappen made life very difficult for Rosberg in the closing laps and he also made life even more difficult for his teammate Daniel Ricciardo who suffered a slow pit stop and finished a distant 7th.

WinWin

A big win for Lewis Hamilton who once again managed to turn a poor start into another win by making an incredibly long one-stop run on the soft compound to take victory. Lewis is driving superbly and looks to be back on form and shows a terrific ability to make a long stint work for him on this year’s Pirelli rubber.

It’s a win for Williams F1 driver Valtteri Bottas who secured a podium finish for the team. It’s a win because truly Williams is a team that should be quick on a circuit like Canada. They had looked to be struggling in Friday and even Saturday’s qualifying leaving many to wonder why Williams wasn’t doing better than it was up until the race. With Felipe Massa failing to finish the race, Bottas’s podium is a big win.

A win for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who held off his teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, even after being asked to let the Australian by if he got close. Verstappen made a late-race change to the Ultra-soft compounds and on fresh rubber made life hectic for a surging Nico Rosberg desperate to claw back positions in a damage limitation run. Rosberg spun under braking on the final turn 11 trying to get past the Plucky Teen and ended up behind him.

A win for Force India who did manage to to get both cars in the top ten with Nico Hulkenberg leading Sergio Perez. The team tried to to take Nico to the distance on a one-stopper but it didn’t work so they pit him and he still managed an 8th place finish. Nico says they hoped they were closer to Williams but the car was weaker on Sunday and was difficult to drive with low grip. Perez says the strategy didn’t work for him and the soft tire didn’t work in cold temps. He had bad graining on the fronts.

FailFail

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was behind the car for most of the race and couldn’t make a real impact in dirty air and the pit stop hobbled his chances as well as a few ragged corners. He felt that it would have made a big difference had Verstappen let him by but in the end the car wasn’t there. The team’s degradation forced a second stop and while it worked better for Max, Daniel had a flat spot that hampered his efforts.

Ferrari’s race was lost in traffic and an extra stop. They gambled in pitting early under the Virtual Safety Car session on lap 11 and they threw the dice on Mercedes and their tire strategy. Maurizio Arrivabene said they overestimated the degradation on their tires and the pit strategy was a simple mistake. That’s a tough call given how well Sebastian Vettel was driving all weekend and given he led the race from the start. Kimi Raikkonen said he struggled in fuel saving mode and tire temps and didn’t do a lot to protect his position defensively.

A fail for McLaren as Jenson Button’s used engine blew up and Fernando Alonso’s one-stopper had him on 55-lap worn tires and three seconds slower than all the cars around him on fresh rubber. Anything can happen and the team were keen to at least keep him out to try and pickup points should anything happen in front of him. Alonso says it was not fun to drive on old tires.

A bad day for Renault with Jolyon Palmer retiring the car and Kevin Magnussen coming in 16th. The team didn’t have the pace to make a run for it and were bested by both team Haas F1 drivers as well as Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson.

WTHWTH

Ultimately I have to wonder where the conversation about turn 1 is regarding the punt Lewis Hamilton put on Nico Rosberg. It was a carbon-copy move and carbon-copy excuse by Hamilton (understeer) as turn 1 at COTA for the USGP last year and apparently that’s perfectly fine with the team (Mercedes), fans and certainly the mobocracy that is #TeamLH.

In fact, listening to Sky Sports F1’s commentary, it was effectively Nico Rosberg’s fault by putting himself in that position with Crofty saying it was a very poor start for Nico Rosberg—never mind he had a slightly better start than Lewis. Ted Kravitz asked, “what did Nico expect”? Saying that Lewis is unyielding, relentless and takes no prisoners on the track.

I will state here that I understand the British media’s love of Lewis Hamilton and the plaudits fans the world over are giving Lewis for a terrific drive—it was a great drive and he did a terrific job conserving tires and making a one-stopper work. There is no doubt about his ability to make the last 15-20 laps work given the worn tires and a charging Ferrari behind him. He deserves a heck of a lot of applause for that performance for sure. Probably drive of the race material.

All of that said, I found his post-race comments to Sky Sports F1 a tad marginalizing by saying he merely “tapped” Nico due to the fault of a third-party entity known only as understeer.

I am not German nor English and I have no knife in this fight so I will call it as I see it. If I were Nico, I would leave Mercedes. It’s clear the team’s position on letting them race is really a platitude when they get bent out of shape for Spa 2014, Monaco 2015 and Spain 2016 and brow-beat or even publicly reprimand Nico only to ignore Bahrain 2014, USGP 2015 and Canadian GP 2016. If Lewis can clout Nico or pull ham-fisted moves with impunity but Nico cannot clout Lewis, hold his position or get aggressive, it’s clear Nico’s future at the team is a support role for the global star that is Lewis Hamilton.

There is little doubt that since Spain, Nico has had the stuffing taken out of him and I have no way on knowing but it wouldn’t surprise me if he wasn’t given a dressing down after the race. If Nico is fine with the pay and role he is in and the uneven treatment, then that’s perfectly fine with me but it does seem completely one-sided to me from this side of the pond. If I were Nico, I wouldn’t yield and inch to Lewis but I suspect he’d find his shelf life at Mercedes very short of he doesn’t.

Race Result:

Pos Driver Car Laps Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 70 1h31m05.296s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 70 5.011s
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 70 46.422s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 70 53.020s
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 70 1m02.093s
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 70 1m03.017s
7 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 70 1m03.634s
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 69 1 Lap
9 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari 69 1 Lap
10 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 69 1 Lap
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 69 1 Lap
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 69 1 Lap
13 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 68 2 Laps
14 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 68 2 Laps
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 68 2 Laps
16 Kevin Magnussen Renault 68 2 Laps
17 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 68 2 Laps
18 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 68 2 Laps
19 Rio Haryanto Manor/Mercedes 68 2 Laps
Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 35 Retirement
Jolyon Palmer Renault 16 Retirement
Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 9 Engine

Driver’s Championship

Pos Driver Points
1 Nico Rosberg 116
2 Lewis Hamilton 107
3 Sebastian Vettel 78
4 Daniel Ricciardo 72
5 Kimi Raikkonen 69
6 Max Verstappen 50
7 Valtteri Bottas 44
8 Felipe Massa 37
9 Sergio Perez 24
10 Daniil Kvyat 22
11 Romain Grosjean 22
12 Fernando Alonso 18
13 Nico Hulkenberg 18
14 Carlos Sainz 18
15 Kevin Magnussen 6
16 Jenson Button 5
17 Stoffel Vandoorne 1
18 Esteban Gutierrez 0
19 Jolyon Palmer 0
20 Marcus Ericsson 0
21 Pascal Wehrlein 0
22 Felipe Nasr 0
23 Rio Haryanto 0

Constructor’s Championship

Pos Constructor Points
1 Mercedes 223
2 Ferrari 147
3 Red Bull/Renault 130
4 Williams/Mercedes 81
5 Force India/Mercedes 42
6 Toro Rosso/Ferrari 32
7 McLaren/Honda 24
8 Haas/Ferrari 22
9 Renault 6
10 Sauber/Ferrari 0
11 Manor/Mercedes 0