2016 Canadian Grand Prix: Race Report
Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee..that was for Muhammad Ali said Lewis Hamilton as he won the 2016 Canadian Grand Prix, and dedicated his race win to the late boxing legend. The Briton won a race at the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit for the fifth time in his career, with a 5. 011 second lead over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel. Williams' Valtteri Bottas followed the two World Champions in third place securing his and the team's maiden podium of the season.
The start of the Grand Prix saw Sebastian make a fantastic move on the outside over both the Mercedes cars, grabbing the lead. The two Mercs who almost made contact were lucky to have not sustained any damage, but resulted in Nico Rosberg dropping down to 11th after an off-track moment. The German recovered from the incident in the later stages of the race with a two-stop strategy to finish fifth overall.
For Sebastian who was leading the race for the first 10 laps, a two-stop strategy gamble by Ferrari with a switch to super-softs and then softs deterred his chances of taking the lead back with Lewis, who was on a one-stop strategy and made his soft compounds last for approximately 40 laps. The German struggled to reduce the gap between him and Lewis and was able to bring it down to a minimum of 3 seconds at one point in the race, but two mistakes during the closing laps, one trying to avoid sea-gulls on the circuit and one in the chicane made him lose out on time.
Despite an upgraded turbocharger on the cars to maximise their potential, the team botched up the tyre strategy yet another time, which led to a double points finish with Kimi Raikkonen in sixth place, but only one podium.
The Red Bull Racing cars who were both on upgraded power units, were struggling for pace on the Canadian circuit, with Max Verstappen finishing fourth and Daniel Ricciardo finishing seventh. The Australian was followed by Force India's Nico Hulkenberg in eighth place and an impressive Carlos Sainz in ninth. Sergio Perez who had a podium at the last race could not sustain the same luck this weekend and struggled with a 10th place finish.
Fernando Alonso managed bringing the powerless McLaren back home in 11th place despite complaining of power loss during the penultimate stages of the race. He was followed home by Daniil Kvyat in 12th, Esteban Gutierrez in 13th and Romain Grosjean in 14th place.
Sauber's Marcus Ericsson managed a 15th place finish ahead of Renault's Kevin Magnussen and Manor's Pascal Wehrlein who finished in 16th and 17th place respectively. Felipe Nasr finished 18th while Manor's Rio Haryanto finished last in 19th place.
Overall, the race was incident free for 70 laps and had one virtual safety car period at lap 11 due to Jenson Button's retirement, which was the first stoppage of the day, due to a power failure. The second retirement was that of Jolyon Palmer who had a water leak, and the third was Felipe Massa who had a mechanical issue.
The Canadian race had the lowest race temperatures this season with the temperatures dropping to 11 degrees celsius. An important takeaway from the race was the closing gap between the Mercs and Ferraris in terms of power and performance, since this circuit is a power hungry circuit. When it comes to strategy, it was a mix of one-stop and two stop-strategies with the purple striped ultra-soft compound, super-softs, and soft compounds.
For Lewis Hamilton, a second win in a row has reduced the gap between him and championship leader Nico Rosberg now down from 24 to nine points in the driver's standings. Nico leads the title run with a total of 116 points, while Lewis trails behind him with a total of 107 points. Sebastian follows the two Mercedes drivers in third place with a total of 78 points, and is followed by Ricciardo in fourth place with a total of 72 points. Kimi rounds up the top five with a total points haul of 69.
For the next race the circus moves back to Europe for the European Grand Prix which is at the new street circuit of Baku in Azerbaijan. The inaugural Grand Prix in the Caucasian capital will be held on June 17-19, 2016.