Race - seventh time lucky for Hamilton in Canada 10 Jun 2012
McLarens Lewis Hamilton became Formula One racings magnificent seventh winner at the seventh round of the 2012 season, after a gripping Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Hamilton was involved in a heady three-way fight with polesitter and early leader Sebastian Vettel, and points leader Fernando Alonso. Vettel led for the first 16 laps for Red Bull, but after pulling away initially, rapid tyre degradation forced him into the pits at the end of the 16th lap.
Hamilton went a lap later, but Alonso went one further still for Ferrari and came out in the lead from Hamilton and Vettel. Hamilton quickly passed him, however, and opened a three-second lead until he had to make a second tyre stop on the 50th lap.
In his first hed almost stalled and in his second the right-rear wheel proved reluctant to go on. The delays werent as serious as they were in Bahrain, but as he rejoined in third place it became clear that both Ferrari and Red Bull were planning one-stop races despite the pace theyd been setting. Although there being another 20 laps to go, they decided against precautionary stops and gambled on staying out. The gamble failed.
Hamilton began slashing the gap, as Vettel also began to close in on Alonso. On the 62nd lap Hamilton swept easily by Vettel, then clawed in Alonso. The Spaniard resisted him on the 64th lap, but on the 65th the game was up and the McLaren driver was headed for a brilliant victory which he would later describe as one of his most enjoyable.
Behind him, one-stopping Romain Grosjean was coming at Alonso and Vettel like a train in his Lotus after some careful tyre conservation, and Saubers Sergio Perez was following suit. Both pushed the Ferrari down places, and then to add final insult to injury Vettel, who had stopped after all on the 63rd lap and taken on a set of Pirelli super-softs, blasted by Alonso as well.
Hamiltons success, allied to Alonsos unhappy afternoon, puts the Englishman back in the lead of the championship by two points from the Ferrari driver, 88 to 86. Vettel is third on 85.
Grosjeans excellent drive made up for Lotuss disappointment in Monaco, while Perezs place on the podium was revenge on Alonso for the Malaysian Grand Prix result.
Behind Vettel and Alonso, Nico Rosberg had an up and down race in which he initially struggled on the super-softs in his Mercedes but was later able to set fastest laps as he fended off Red Bulls Mark Webber and Lotuss Kimi Raikkonen.
Kamui Kobayashi led his Sauber team mate initially, but his early single stop compromised him and he had to be satisfied with ninth ahead of repentant Felipe Massa, who spun early on in Turn One and thereafter had to play catch-up as he took the final point for Ferrari.
Behind the Brazilian, Paul di Resta looked a candidate for points but ultimately lost out after yet another smooth drive for Force India, and led home team mate Nico Hulkenberg by eight seconds.
It was a disappointing race for Williams, with Pastor Maldonado making his way through for 13th ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who marred a race-long fight with Toro Rosso team mate Jean-Eric Vergne with a late spin in one of the chicanes; Vergne had earlier been handed a drive-through penalty for pit lane speeding, and took 15th.
Jenson Button had an appalling day on which he was one of the first pit stoppers despite starting on the more durable soft-compound Pirellis, and ended up lapped and totally mystified by his McLarens lack of pace. Bruno Senna was 17th after an undistinguished race, leading home the Caterhams of Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov, and Charles Pics Marussia.
Pics team mate Timo Glock was the last retirement, with brake problems. Michael Schumacher ran at the end of the potential points-scorers train before his DRS stuck open and he was forced to retire, while mechanical problems stopped both HRTs after Pedro de la Rosa had led the Marussias.
Coincidentally this was McLarens 300th race with sponsors and suppliers Mobil 1, Mercedes-Benz and Enkei, and the one that put Lewis Hamiltons tally for drives with the team one beyond his idol Ayrton Sennas - 97 to 96 - and it was the long-awaited success that the Briton needed. It also created yet another little bit of history in a gripping season.
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