They both overtook Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in the last four laps of the race when his tyres were past their prime. Sebastian Vettel too, swallowed up the Spaniard after trailing behind him for most of the afternoon. For Ferrari it was a strategy gone wrong. But for McLaren, they now lead the Drivers championship.
It was a sunny day in Montreal with soaring track temperatures. But this did not affect the start as the entire grid got away cleanly. An aggressive Felipe Massa was all over the back of Nico Rosberg on Lap 2 and he pulled off a clean move to head the German. Paul Di Resta in the Force India got past Rosberg too, with DRS enabled.
Vettel began to break away by posting a fastest lap on Lap 5. Behind him the order was Hamilton, Alonso, Webber, Massa, Di Resta, Rosberg, Grosjean, Schumacher and Button.
Massa spun out at Turn 1, rejoined and fell back to P12. Hamilton then expressed his intentions to the defending champion with a new fastest lap. Soon at Lap 12 the top three qualifiers began to break away in what seemed their own battle. By Lap 14 Hamilton had closed in on Vettel with the gap being just 1.2s at first and soon just .80s. All three lead cars were within 2 seconds of each other. This made for entertaining stuff.
As the Pirellis came to life it was now Rosberg’s turn to set a fastest lap. Race leader Sebastian Vettel pitted for fresh tyres. He rejoined in P6. Hamilton pitted next and managed to jump the Red Bull car after his stop. Hamilton and Vettel continued their scrap into the DRS zone with the German nearly taking the British driver. Hamilton set a new fastest lap but as he crossed the straight Alonso had successfully jumped them both!
When they came around to the DRS zone again Hamilton out-dragged Alonso. The driving was top notch and the race promised to be the best one yet! Grosjean was provisional leader as he had yet to make his stop. Lap 23 and the McLaren driver posted another fastest lap -1m 18:940s. On Lap 25 Narain Karthikeyan spun out of the race.
Meanwhile Schumacher, who was touted to win this race by many after his pole at Monaco, was languishing in P13 ahead of last year’s winner Jenson Button in P14.
Pedro Da La Rosa was wheeled back into the pit garage signaling the end of HRT’s campaign at Canada. Lap 27 and the race leader Lewis Hamilton was looking comfortable on his P Zero soft tyres setting a series of fastest laps. He didn’t seem to have any of the issues his teammate encountered.
On Lap 30 Mark Webber went quickest. While Raikkonen and Perez were running strongly on a single stop strategy in P4 and P5 respectively. The order on Lap 37 was Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel, Raikkonen, Perez, Webber, Rosberg, Grosjean, Massa, Di Resta, Kobayashi, Schumacher and Hulkenberg. Maldonado and Senna were running with the backmarkers. This was a poor performance for Williams.
At the lead, Hamilton was 3.1s ahead of Alonso but worried about the Ferrari’s single stop strategy. He pitted for fresh rubber and rejoined in P3. Elsewhere bad luck continued to haunt Schumacher who retired his Mercedes from the race once again. On the radio Hamilton was told by his team to “give it everything he’s got”. He responded with a fastest lap of 1m 17:135s on Lap 53. With three consecutive fastest laps he’d eaten off more than a second from Alonso.
Perez meanwhile overtook Massa and Rosberg to move into P6.
Alonso and Vettel surely could not afford a pit stop now as the race entered its final stage. Hamilton was about 7.7 seconds behind Alonso. On Lap 63 he pulled off a DRS manoeuvre on Vettel and soon had the Ferrari in his sights. Vettel pitted too as his tyres had degraded extremely. Hamilton again activated DRS to overtake Alonso on the straight for P1 and the race win.
Behind him Grosjean and Perez made best use of their one stop strategy by driving past the slowing-down Ferrari of Alonso. Lewis took the chequered flag in style.
It was the scene reminiscent of his maiden Formula 1 victory eighteen victories ago.