Monday, 11 June 2012

2012 Canadian Grand Prix Review

Not unexpectedly, we now have our seventh different winner in seven F1 races in 2012, following Lewis Hamilton's fine victory in Montreal.  Some observers have asserted that the race was slow to "get going", but I found it very interesting, as there was a constant sense that things would liven up once the tyre strategies unravelled.  Sure enough, we had a dramatic closing phase to proceedings, with some drivers charging on new tyres, others benefitting from efficient tyre conservation, and some going backwards on worn rubber.

One of the things which struck me watching the race was how Hamilton's positive outlook, patience and perserverance paid handsome dividends. His racing instincts are as sharp as ever, but this has been tempered with good sense, and he seems to be coping with the much-documented tyre situation as well as anybody on the grid. He was even diplomatic and magnanimous after the race, not wishing to apportion blame for a mildly botched tyre change.  He must feel that momentum is on his side, and this was no time to rock the boat.  The bigger picture is the priority, and at present it looks distinctly rosy.

There is a temptation to over-analyse these things, and draw facile conclusions, but the "body language" of Hamilton's car was very exuberant yesterday, indicative of a man truly enjoying his work, and relishing the task. He was even mature enough to let the car do the work at times in the closing laps, rather than force the issue unnecessarily; the race was coming to him, and he did not need to take risks.

Apart from Hamilton's victory, much of the attention will have been commanded by Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez, two of Formula 1's "comingmen".  They both made a one-stop strategy work effectively, and neither man will have done his reputation any harm.

Elsewhere, there were no massive surprises in the results, save for the continuing tribulations of Jenson Button, who was anonymous again,and afterwards made more comments to the effect that he remains confused by his lack of performance. His predicament will be made all the more acute as his team-mate's ascendancy gathers pace.

Although in the end Ferrari did not score as many points as expected in Canada, they will be in good heart, as the car continues to improve. Even allowing for the car's progression, Fernando Alonso drove another classy race.  Felipe Massa is looking more comfortable and assertive, although his race was marred slightly by a spin. 

There were others in yesterday's race, notably Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg, who appeared to do little wrong, and raced capably and tenaciously, but who did not feature at the very sharp end.  As we are becoming used to saying, the margins are very slender in F1 this year!

So who will be the eight different winner of 2012?  Well, the Lotus team continue to knock on the door, and Valencia promises to be wide-open and unpredictable, surely giving them an opportunity. Sauber's straightline speed is a real asset, although this may make its presence felt at the faster circuits later in the season.

Whatever happens, it looks like being enjoyable viewing!

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