Date:Tuesday June 12 2012
Lewis Hamilton became the seventh different winner from the first seven races of the 2012 Formula One World Championship this weekend in Canada.
A feat that has never been seen before and is highly unlikely to be repeated.
Of all of Hamiltonís visits to Canada this was one of the least eventful, but was still one of the best drives of his career.
While everyone else appeared to be struggling for set-up Hamilton had it nailed on from the first practice session, topping FP1 and FP2.
Team-mate Jenson Button, returning to arguable the scene of his greatest ever drive last year, struggled to put his package together, in morning practice on Friday, he was 10th and in the afternoon he was ninth, but still half a second down.
Free Practice three came and Hamilton dropped off the top spot to 0.270 adrift of the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel, a gap that he increased in qualifying, to equal Nigel Mansellís record of pole positions.
But despite not taking pole, Hamilton remained content with his Saturday afternoonís performance.
ďI was very happy with my lap - I squeezed every last ounce out of the car and didnít expect to be so far up the grid. In fact, I struggled a little in Q1 and Q2, and I wasnít sure about my ultimate pace at first, but, fortunately, in the end, I pulled it all together for Q3.Ē he told formula1.com.
The Brit of course would have wanted to have taken Vettel on the start going into the first turn, but the Red Bull had the best traction away from the grid and Vettel initially sped off into the distance.
But as the teams came towards the first stint of pit-stops, Hamilton managed to close the gap towards Vettel before he came in for his stop.
Hamilton then had two laps to try and undertake Vettel for the lead under the pitstops. For once the team didnít have a slow stop, but Hamilton had a gearbox full of neutrals as he tried to pull away, costing him valuable seconds in the pit-stop. It didnít stop him from getting in front of Vettel, however once the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso pitted the Spaniard came out in front of both Hamilton and Vettel.
He didnít stay in front of Hamilton for long though as Hamilton overtook his former team-mate with the aid of DRS just a lap later and once Grosjean pitted, Hamilton took the lead of the Grand Prix.
For the next 20 odd laps things settled down, Hamilton maintained a gap of four seconds over his rivals and Alonso and Vettel didnít appear to have anything to respond with.
It was only at the point that when Hamilton was closing in on his pit-window for his second stop did it finally dawn on everyone that Ferrari and Red Bull could actually be one-stopping, while Hamilton was on a two-stop strategy.
'Are you sure they are not trying a one-stop?' Hamilton asks, while McLaren remained confident: 'We're sure they're not on a one-stop, Lewis.' They were wrong.
Seven laps later and Hamilton pits, the once a race cock up on the wheel change is also in force, wasting a couple of seconds, dropping Hamilton down to third 12 seconds behind, over the next eight laps Hamilton drives his McLaren as only he knows best, setting purple sector times lap after lap and on some occasions cutting a whole second of lap time on Vettel and Alonso in front of him.
Two laps later Hamilton overtakes Vettel with the DRS, the double world champion having nothing to offer in defence, two laps later and Hamilton takes the lead from Alonso, with the race lost Vettel pits for tyres, while Alonso slowly drops back down through the field to fifth, eventually finishing 13 seconds behind Hamilton.
ďItís a phenomenal sensation to come back to Canada and put on a performance like we did today. This win feels as good as my first Formula 1 victory back in 2007. In fact Iíd say itís one of the best races Iíve had for a very long time. I feel fantastic, to be honest. Just brilliant. I could hardly believe it when I was driving across the line. That emotion inside, itís like an explosion. Itís really just incredible. Itís what I love best about motor racing.
ďI always knew todayís race was going to be incredibly tough. So, in the first stint, I was really pleased that I could keep up with Seb, and at that point I already felt sure Iíd be involved the fight for victory. Our strategy was always for a two-stopper: we knew it was going to be the fastest way to get to the finish. I looked after my tyres really well today, and I used them knowing we were going to two-stop.
Hamiltonís first race of the season propels him to the top of the Formula One drivers championship with 88 points, two more than Alonso and three ahead of Vettel.
Date:Tuesday June 12 2012
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