Canada Snippets

That was a very decent race. Recent news is Bridgestone want to try to recreate the degradation problems, in the name of good racing, by the compounds allocated to races later in the season. I hugely applaud that they are willing to risk being seen to supply bad tyres when their commercial aim is to persuade the buying public of the opposite, but I fear on other tracks the tyres will last anyway.

With Sébastien Buemi leading at the end of lap 14, by dint of staying out of the pits for longer than everyone in front, he became the first Swiss driver to lead a Grand Prix since Clay Regazzoni at the 1979 British Grand Prix. That race at Silverstone marked the very first win for the Williams team, with Alan Jones leading until his water pump failed, giving victory to his team-mate. It was Regazzoni’s last win after four earlier victories for Ferrari. In 1980, he was paralysed from the waist down after a crash in an Ensign at Long Beach.

It was the second race in a row that Hamilton led Button home. The last time there were two consecutive 1-2s for British drivers (or indeed for drivers of any single nation) was in 1999. David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes) beat Eddie Irvine (Ferrari) to second at the British Grand Prix, with Irvine besting Coulthard the following race in Austria. The last English one-two before this season was Monaco 1968, when Graham Hill, in a Lotus-Ford Cosworth, beat Richard Attwood’s BRM.

The Canadian result also puts the McLaren drivers first and second in the title-chase. McLaren were last in this enviable position after the China Grand Prix in 2007, with Hamilton ahead of Alonso, before Räikkönen pinched the title in Brazil. We have to go back to 1969 for the previous time British drivers were first and second in the points-standing. Jackie Stewart (Matra-Ford Cosworth) dominated the season giving him his first of three titles, but otherwise it was a very open year. Graham Hill for Lotus finished second to Stewart at the first race in South Africa, and won the third in Monaco (his last F1 WC podium). This gave him enough points to hang on to second for Holland and France, before Bruce McLaren overhauled him in Britain. It was that year in the USA GP that Hill had the accident that smashed his legs, from which he never fully recovered.

Many of us were puzzling why Red Bull left Webber out for so long, allowing a decent lead to vanish, and only having him come in for new boots after Lewis had caught and passed him. Mark was always going to come out behind the two McLarens, Alonso and Vettel, but why wait until pitting put him too far back to attempt to catch them? My reading was to have him stay out until his tyres had gone off a bit, but not until he was losing time hand over fist. Then he could come out not too far behind the leaders with considerably fresher tyres for the end of a tyre-abrasive race, possibly even to be helped by a late safety-car. However, we remember what happened to the Red Bulls in Turkey. I wonder if RBR really did not want Webber coming out on better tyres, not far behind Vettel. I doubt they were overtly concerned about Mark beating Sebastian to fourth, but just prefered to avoid another potential internecine dog-fight.

For those that do not know, “The Wall of Champions”, was christened thus after the 1999 Canadian GP. In the race, World Champions Ricardo Zonta (BAR), Damon Hill (Jordan), Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) and Jacques Villeneuve (BAR) all retired from the race after hitting that wall. Zonta, with Klaus Ludwig (AMG Mercedes), had won the 1998 FIA GT World Championship. The reigning F1, and only other, World Champion, Mika Hakkinen, went and spoilt it by winning the race.

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