It’s not often that a mechanical problem towards the back of the field can alter the entire outcome of a race. That is exactly what happened today in the action-packed 70-lap Canadian Grand Prix, a race where BMW Sauber recorded its first Grand Prix win.
The whole complexion of the race changed complexion after Adrian Sutil’s Force India Ferrari ground to a halt on lap 15 with a mechanical problem. A small fire from the front brakes saw the safety car deployed and once the pit lane was opened for business, the top seven runners all headed straight to the pits.
Race leader Lewis Hamilton suffered a slightly slower stop than Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica and as the Finn pulled his F2008 to a halt at the end of the pitlane as requested by the red light. Hamilton did not note the situation quickly enough and simply crashed into the back of his championship rival eliminating Raikkonen and himself from the Grand Prix. Kubica, also waiting at the end of the pit lane after running second to Hamilton during the early laps, waiting for the lights to turn green and got back into the Grand Prix with no dramas.
Kubica, made short work of Nick Heidfeld following his pit stop and would then bide his time behind cars that had not pitted on lap 22. Once the Pole had a clear circuit ahead, he quickly extended his advantage over his team-mate from 11 to 25 seconds before making his second and final stop and emerging back in the lead.
Kubica, who now leads the championship, took the chequered flag 16 seconds clear of Heidfeld. It was a fully deserving win, as those pitting just the once in Montreal dominated the results. Heidfeld had no answer to Kubica’s pace in qualifying and the same in the race itself, but his second position brings BMW Sauber right up with Ferrari in the constructors’ championship battle.
David Coulthard steered clear of trouble and finished third for Red Bull Renault using a one stop strategy, his first points paying position of the season. The team now move fourth in the championship behind Ferrari, BMW Sauber and McLaren Mercedes.
Timo Glock always seems to go well in Montreal, the scene of his points with Jordan during his first stint in Formula One. Using a one stop strategy the German racer took the chequered flag in fourth position defending all the way to secure valuable points for Toyota.
With Raikkonen eliminated by Hamilton, Felipe Massa charged back through the field after an error in the pits saw him make an additional stop for fuel. The Brazilian racer charged though the field from 17th to finish fifth just behind Glock and he is now tied with Hamilton in second position in the championship.
Jarno Trulli finished sixth in the second Toyota, losing out to Massa on the penultimate lap of the 70 lap race while Rubens Barrichello actually led the race at one point for Honda before his pit stop and held on for a seventh place finish. Sebastien Vettel secured the final point for Toro Rosso Ferrari after starting from the pit lane.
Heikki Kovalainen’s poor weekend continued on race day as he was unable to make much of an impression on the race and finished ninth behind the one stoppers, Kubica and Massa. The result means that McLaren do not take any points away from Montreal.
Nico Rosberg threw away more points for Williams as he ran into the back of Hamilton stricken McLaren in the pit lane and was forced to make an additional stop for a new front wing on his way to tenth position. With Kazuki Nakajima running into the back of Jenson Button and breaking his wing before crashing in the pits lane, it was a poor race for Williams who now slip behind Red Bull and Toyota.
Jenson Button started from the pit lane in his Honda and finished 11th while Mark Webber took 12th ahead of Sebastien Bourdais who did not have a good run in the second Toro Rosso Ferrari.
It was a poor day for Renault with Nelson Piquet running suffering from brake problems and retiring following a spin, while Fernando Alonso lost his R28 at turn seven and spun into the wall. Alonso was third on track at the time but had yet to make his second stop, so he may have been in contention for lower points. With Sutil stopping on lap 15, Force India team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella made it until lap 53 before spinning into the Armco exiting turn four.
It didn’t rain and the circuit did not break up badly but it’s a historic day for the BMW Sauber team as they celebrate their first Formula One win. Kubica’s first victory moves him ahead in the championship four points clear of Massa and Hamilton.
Source – F1-live