A wet race saw many racing incidents coupled with dual DRS activation points: a combination that led to many passes and re-passes, before culminating with a final lap mistake from runaway Championship leader, Sebastian Vettel, which allowed Jenson Button to shoot past for his first win since 2010.
The 2009 World Champion, Button, in his McLaren Mercedes car passed the 2010 Champion’s Red Bull after Vettel made his first – and only – error of the race at the final hurdle.
Button, on the other hand, had perhaps the busiest drive of his career, and had come from stone last at one stage to claim a most exciting victory.
Having had a collission with other former World Champions – including team-mate Lewis Hamilton in lap 7 and Fernando Alonso in the middle part of the race (in accidents where the other party in both cases was forced to retire from the race) – Button pitted six times in all in a race which began under the Safety Car and was to see it come out several more times.
Fans also saw a red flag, as the rain, at times, belted down making any sort of driving completely impossible.
Button, though, showed once more that his silky driving style is up there with the very best when conditions deteriorate. A similar race was enjoyed by those old rain-Gods of Mark Webber and Michael Schumacher who sliced and diced their way through the field at various times for third and fourth respectively, proving that a cool, old, experienced head is important when the heavens open.
But Vettel, sans Safety Cars, looked to have been good enough for all 25 points again and his second place – he has not finished out of the first two positions yet in 2011 – was enough to extend his Championship lead to 60 points, over Canada’s winner, Jenson Button.
Lewis Hamilton, in contrast to his team-mate, had yet another torrid race: during the seven laps he managed to stay out on track, he collided with Mark Webber, and sent the Red Bull man spinning, before attempting to take a near non-existent gap to pass his own team-mate up the outside on the start-finish straight. Button moved over following the racing line, and put his stable-mate into the wall. Speaking after the race, Button said simply that he did not know Hamilton was there, with the spray in his mirrors, and the first thing he knew was when he felt a “bang”.
Hamilton also appeared to make contact with Michael Schumacher in between these other two incidents, in a season which is threatening to become his most erratic since taking the seat at McLaren. At Monaco, Hamilton was something of a liability, and again, in Canada, his driving was, for the most part, overly aggresive to the point of destruction. Hamilton is very much chalk to Button’s cheese, but, at present, while Hamilton tends to out qualify his team-mate, Button is usually best when it counts: on race day.
And so it proved at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve: Button kept finding grip on an slippery surface, and kept fighting his way back time and again when he was knocked out. His raw pace meant he came from fourth place to first in the final few laps, when the intense pressure he put Sebastian Vettel under in the closing stages finally saw the young German’s nerve flinch, momentarily, and Button was all too happy to grab the win as the Red Bull man ran wide at the first chicane.
2011 looks to be shaping up for a straight shootout between these two most gifted drivers, but, with the side-story of former champs, Alonso and Hamilton, hot on their heels along with the ever-steady Mark Webber. Webber is consistently in the mix at the business end of races, meaning there’s still lots of competition and interest for fans of Formula 1.
For the sport, Vettel’s mistake at the end of 70 laps could not have been more timely: he was in danger of breaking clean away from the pack were he to win. Now, it seems, there just might be a chink in Sebastian Vettel’s armour, which has been created by McLaren’s Jenson Button in the rain of Canada.
Button and the rest of the chasing pack will be hoping to get ahead of Vettel once more at the next Formula 1 race weekend, 24-26 June, when the teams will meet at Valencia, Spain, for the 2011 European Grand Prix: perhaps, following Canada, they will feel more confident that they can.
FIA Formula 1 2011 Canadian Grand Prix – Results
|2||GER||Sebastian Vettel||1||Red Bull-Renault||1||1:17.217||18|
|3||AUS||Mark Webber||2||Red Bull-Renault||4||1:19.572||15|
|4||GER||Michael Schumacher||7||Mercedes GP||8||1:19.138||12|
|8||ESP||Jaime Alguersuari||19||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||24||1:20.371||4|
|10||SUI||Sebastien Buemi||18||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||15||1:19.507||1|
|11||GER||Nico Rosberg||8||Mercedes GP||6||1:20.071|
|12||ESP||Pedro de la Rosa||17||Sauber||17||1:20.369|
|18||GBR||Paul Di Resta||15||Force India-Mercedes||11||1:19.395|
|21||GER||Adrian Sutil||14||Force India-Mercedes||14||1:30.171|
FIA 2011 Formula One Drivers’ World Championship – Standings After Round 7, Canada
|1||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Red Bull-Renault||161|
|3||Mark Webber||AUS||Red Bull-Renault||94|
|9||Michael Schumacher||GBR||Mercedes GP||26|
|10||Nico Rosberg||GER||Mercedes GP||26|
|12||Adrian Sutil||GER||Force India-Mercedes||8|
|13||Sebastien Buemi||SUI||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||8|
|14||Jaime Alguersuari||ESP||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||4|
|17||Paul Di Resta||GBR||Force India-Mercedes||2|
|18||Pedro de la Rosa||ESP||Sauber||0|
FIA 2011 Formula One Constructors’ World Championship – Standings After Round 7, Canada