The Ferrari Owners’ Club
of Great Britain

GRAND PRIX : Canada : Hamilton Coasts to Victory

14-06-2015

Report by Jack Target

 

Canada had the eyes of the sporting world on it this weekend as two big sporting events took place in Northern America.

However, unlike the unpredictable and dramatic month of women’s football that will unfold we had the  return to the status quo in Montreal for the Formula 1 GP.

Lewis Hamilton returned to winning ways with his team mate Nico Roseberg finishing behind him. The only thing that changed was the presence of a Williams on the podium to join the Mercedes pair as Valtteri Bottas clinched third spot. Therefore it was a disappointing weekend for the Ferraris.

Kimi Raikkonen did an excellent job in qualifying, sitting behind the silver arrows. You felt he really deserved his chance to be up at the front of the pack and give the Mercedes pair a good push going into the first couple of corners, after qualifying a few spaces behind them and his team mate in previous races.

But for the golden boy it was anything but golden. Sebastian Vettel had some problems and was dumped out in Q1 much to the surprise of everyone. It even caused the German to slip a naughty word onto the team radio. Thankfully the producers were there to hit the big bleep button and spare the blushes of everyone involved. It does ask the question though, I wonder what language he swore in?

The start from 16th for Sebby gave him another opportunity to prove he isn’t just a driver who wins from the front. We have seen him come from behind in a Red Bull, but that was a championship winning car in a team he was very comfortable in. This is still a new team, that has only won one race this year. This would arguably be a bigger test than when he split the Mercedes and won that race in Malaysia.

Before the race on Sunday there was much fun to be had on the BBC’s coverage (Sky do a great job but I am not missing ‘The Chain’ to hear Damon ‘killjoy’ Hill) with Eddie Jordan interviewing Al Pacino and Michael Douglas. This once again proves that the American’s (I know it is in Canada but they are quite close geographically you know) do really love their F1.

However my favourite moment was seeing Jackie Stewart sport a matching tartan flat cap and trouser combination. If that doesn’t say ‘1970’s F1 champion’ then I don’t know what does. For that I salute you!

To the race and after an unusually clean start, even for Montreal, Vettel duly raced his way up the field. There was a pretty good moment early on when he caught up with former Ferrari driver and challenger to his titles, Fernando Alonso. The McLaren kept Vettel at bay for longer than expected, however it was a shame they were battling for 15th.

At the top end of the grid the other Ferrari had a costly moment on lap 28 when Kimi spun at the same place he did last year. Bottas was able to take advantage and hold the podium place until the end.

Back again to Sebastian who kept pushing and did extremely well to hold off Hulkenburg in the Force India at one point. He forced his fellow countrymen to either crash or get out of the way before the chicane in what was a ballsy move as it would have been most likely race over for one or both of them had they collided. If he still had to prove he is a good racing driver, Vettel did it again there.

Elsewhere on the track it was not only nice to hear an English accent from a driver on the car radio but very much an Essex one as Will Stevens bemoaned the fact Romain Grosjean cut in front of his Manor car. The Rochford native said on the team radio “He’s so stupid he cuts across me every time. Where does he want me to go off the track?” Sounding very much like he should have ended that question by calling Grosjean a muppet. The quite brilliant Badger GP tweeted “Will Stevens sounds like he’s having a phone conversation with one of his mates. #CanadianGP”. As a fellow Essex man, it was very cool to hear and a welcome change to the voice of the man he replaced, Max Chilton.

It is not fun however to watch McLaren’s troubles continue race after race. They have two former champions who could and should be challenging at the top in a half decent car. They have retired at least once in every race so far and have not gained a single point. In comparison Manor, who are the worst team this year, had only their first retirement this race, and that was with only a handful of laps remaining. As David Coulthard said during commentary “Get everyone together and get a hand grenade [for the car]. It’s not working.” McLaren and Ferrari have had their scraps so some fans may not mind seeing them spend a few years down the bottom end of the track, but like any great rival you want them to be challenging at the top to make your victories all that more sweeter. I certainly hope for a recovery soon.

In the end it was fitting that a groundhog almost stole the show. The little rodent braved the noise and crossed the track in front of the cars, thankfully it was ok and got out of the way. But groundhogs are probably most famous for the Bill Murray film Groundhog Day, when a TV weatherman wakes up on the same day every single day. Unfortunately a lot of F1 fans can relate to that. Hamilton ended up ‘lifting and coasting’ his way to victory making Roseberg’s recent victories feel like just a minor blip. Oh well, on to Austria.