Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Hamilton Feels Canada's True Patriot Love With Fifth Victory In Grand Prix

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG

In 2007, Lewis Hamilton won his very first Formula 1 grand prix on the Notre Dame Island. With the past grand prix round in Monaco, Hamilton collected his 44th victory in a series where he is a three-time World Championship. Prior to the 2016 Canadian Grand Prix, four of Hamilton's career victories were achieved on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Arriving as a hot driver after a lukewarm start to this season, the reigning Formula 1 World Driver's Champion successfully kept the momentum in his favour in Montreal.

A 70-lap event, the Canadian Grand Prix on the 4.361-kilometer Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was held under cloud cover Sunday with an air temperature that topped just 13 degrees. Despite the less than settling weather, rain did not play a part in the race in contrary to what some forecasts predicted. Another year when an affluent and dedicated crowd arrived for the grand prix, many drivers on the grid recognize the  Scoring pole in a very tight battle with Mercedes AMG teammate and current Formula 1 points leader Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton prime position for the 2016 Canadian Grand Prix would be challenged immediately when the lights went out to start the race. The Mercedes AMG cars launch resulted in a practical dead-heat between Rosberg and Hamilton. However, rising against the Silver Arrows, the prancing horse adorned in red that led the field into the first corner. Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari surged masterfully at the start of the Canadian Grand Prix soaring past the Mercedes-powered race cars.

As Vettel possessed an unopposed entrance into the first turn, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were still side-by-side. Following the pair's incident at the Spanish Grand Prix, another lap 1 battle proved nightmarish for the Mercedes AMG camp at the Canadian Grand Prix. Into the corner with Hamilton entering on the inside line, the #44 car exited the corner wide occupying the line of the #6 vehicle of Rosberg. Rosberg was forced off the race track onto the course's grass and was required to slow down to rejoin the Formula 1 pack out of turn two where he fell out of the top-five. After the race, Hamilton cited understeer into the first turn as the reason for crowding his teammate. In a post-race transcript, Nico Rosberg simply called the incident a bad maneuver from Hamilton while also responding "I had to try the move or accept I’d be behind him."

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG

70 laps for the 2016 edition of the Canadian Formula 1 round occurred fairly smoothly as only three drivers were reported out of the race at the end. A Virtual safety car period to clear the McLaren-Honda of Jenson Button who suffered a blown power unit on lap 9 was a brief interruption. Another non-finisher in the Canadian Grand Prix was Felipe Massa who parked his Williams-Mercedes for an overheating issue. In the first six grand prix races of the 2016 season, Massa was distinguish as the only driver to have finished in the points in every event. Despite Felipe Massa's exit, Williams Martini Racing would leave Canada in a highly celebratory mood.

Nico Rosberg's eventful start to the race was compounded as the event transpired. Regaining ground through the distance of the grand prix, the #6 Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race car proved uncooperative for the German. Rosberg would battle brake and fuel warnings inside his race machine. Costing him a chance at a podium finish, a late race tire puncture required Rosberg to make an unplanned second pit stop on lap 51. Returning to the race, Rosberg ran in fifth place and had instantly set sights on the fourth place Red Bull-Tag Heuer race car driven by Max Verstappen. Despite newer tires and the support of DRS, Rosberg was unable to undertake Verstappen who vigorously fought off the Mercedes AMG driver. On the second last lap for the pair, the Mercedes racer made one final attempt to pass the Red Bull Racing machine. Into turn 13, Rosberg made a late-braking maneuver on Verstappen but couldn't make his vehicle stick. Spinning his Mercedes AMG vehicle after the last-ditch effort for fourth place, Rosberg was able to hold into fifth place by a one-second margin on Kimi Raikkonen.  

The lead battle of the Canadian Grand Prix would be decided on pit road, or rather the lack of pit road for one car. A one-stop strategy proved the edge Lewis Hamilton needed to overcome the Ferrari. While Sebastian Vettel's two-stop plan required the Ferrari to push on soft and supersoft Pirelli racing rubber following the ultrasoft slicks many front-runners started the race on, Hamilton transitioned from ultrasoft to soft tires. When Vettel made his second pit stop on lap 37, the German driver's interval was not large enough to keep Hamilton behind him as he left pit lane. Depending upon his newer soft tires as a possible match to catch the Mercedes and perhaps retake the lead, the Ferrari was held at bay by Hamilton. In fact, Lewis Hamilton's fastest lap of the race was set on the third-last lap of the Canadian Grand Prix.

Crossing the line 5.011 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton gave credit to recently-departed boxing legend Muhummad Ali for inspiring him to the victory. "Over the last 10-15 laps all I could think of was Muhammad Ali – float like a butterfly, sting like a bee – because it really felt like I was floating. For me, and everyone I’m sure, he was such an inspirational figure, so that one was for him.", said Hamilton in post-race. He also fondly remembers the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as the location of his first Formula 1 win during his rookie campaign in 2007. Winning his fifth Canadian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton closes in on the record seven wins at the event achieved in the career of the great Michael Schumacher.

Second place Sebastian Vettel started the grand prix spectacularly but simply came up short. Vettel was quick to cite the efforts of his Ferrari Formula 1 team, "I know that this car is a step forward, we know also that there’s still potential, and we’re not yet where we want to be. I also think we put ourselves under enormous pressure because we want to win. As a team, we came here and did our best, this weekend we were very close and hopefully next week we’ll be there.”, said the #5 car driver.

While the before-mentioned retirement of Felipe Massa was a setback for one Williams-Mercedes, the second team car for Valtteri Bottas more than salvaged their overall showing at the Canadian Grand Prix. The first podium of the season for the Williams Martini Racing team, Bottas repeated his 2015 appearance with a third place finish. "I’m very happy with what we achieved as a team today. It’s a shame with what happened to Felipe, but this gives us a big motivation boost for the next few races. I think today shows that we are a strong team who can deliver good results." said the Finnish driver in post-race.

Since the Spanish Grand Prix, Nico Rosberg's point lead has dwindled from 43 to just 9 markers. Struggles to capture points for one Mercedes AMG driver has come to the benefit of the other team pilot Lewis Hamilton as he is has captured two straight races. The next Formula 1 event is the European Grand Prix functioning as the inaugural occasion the series will run on the Baku City Circuit in the country of Azerbaijan. Teams will only have a week to prepare for the all-new event with the race scheduled on Sunday, June 19th.

2016 Formula 1
Canadian Grand Prix
Race Results

Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine

1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
2 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Ferrari
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams F1 Mercedes-Benz
4 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull TAG Heuer
5 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
6 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari
7 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull TAG Heuer
8 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes-Benz
9 55 Carlos Sainz Jr Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari
10 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes-Benz
11 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda
12 26 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari
13 9 Esteban Gutierrez Haas F1 Team Ferrari
14 8 Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team Ferrari
15 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari
16 20 Kevin Magnussen Renault Renault
17 28 Pascal Wehrlein Manor Mercedes-Benz
18 12 Felipe Nasr Sauber Ferrari
19 98 Rio Haryanto Manor Mercedes-Benz
20 19 Felipe Massa Williams F1 Mercedes-Benz
21 22 Jenson Button McLaren Honda
22 30 Jolyon Palmer Renault Renault

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