• Canadian Grand Prix

Driver-by-driver run down

Chris Medland
June 13, 2011
Safety car periods played in to the hands of some drivers more than others © Sutton Images
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Jenson Button - 1st - A truly outstanding drive, and one that required every facet of his Button's driving strengths. Having struggled early on and collided with Hamilton, he showed his impeccable feel of track conditions to change first to intermediates and then to slicks at exactly the right time. Nobody else could match his pace and precision on the drying track, with Vettel the only man to get within a second of his fastest lap, and after Alonso turned across his line in to turn three he judged every pass to perfection.

Sebastian Vettel - 2nd - Almost a faultless race from the championship leader, though the less dominant Red Bull pace on this circuit coupled with a surprising lack of late race confidence cost him. Having made only one trip across the grass all afternoon Vettel appeared to have the race under control, but he was reeled in by over two seconds a lap by Schumacher, Webber and Button at times late on. Once Button had him in his sights, Vettel couldn't match the pace and was forced in to the late error that was a result of pushing the car to the limit. The racer in him was disappointed, but he was only beaten by an exceptional performance and still extended his championship lead.

Mark Webber - 3rd - Somewhat overlooked as his team-mate led, Button charged and Schumacher battled, but Webber recovered brilliantly from Hamilton tapping him in to an early spin. Having dropped to fourteenth, his climb back to seventh by the red flag interval was swift and crucial to his chances. Struggled with traction but still made the brave call to go on to slicks early in order to try and jump those in front of him, with overtaking off-line so difficult. It was a gamble that paid off, but he'll rue Saturday's KERS issues that left him vulnerable in fourth at the start.

Michael Schumacher - 4th - The strongest drive since making his comeback without a doubt, and showed flashes of the old brilliance that earned him seven world titles. Having made a strong start to fifth the timing of the red flag left him 12th and seemingly out of contention. His drive on the intermediate tyres was outstanding, however, as he dispatched Massa and Kobayashi for second with some impressive race craft, before putting on slick tyres and even closing on Vettel before the final safety car. Button and Webber managed to pass him using DRS, but he showed his pace was genuine to shadow the latter to the line.

Vitaly Petrov - 5th - With all of the action at the front this was a relatively quiet race as Petrov calmly went about his business without too much incident. Made the right call to stay out on full wets early in the race, promoting him to fifth at the red flag period, and although he probably waited a lap too long to change to inters at the restart, it actually kept him clear of trouble ahead and he took a more careful approach than his team-mate to clear Kobayashi and secure fifth.

Felipe Massa - 6th - A disappointing result all things considered, though his final position was not entirely his fault. Showed good pace early on and was pressuring Alonso for second before clearing him in the pit stops after staying out on full wets. Any aspirations of victory were dashed as he failed to clear Kobayashi at the race restart, looking at the back of the Sauber for 29 laps. Followed Schumacher through but then immediately pitted for slicks and ran off line trying to lap Karthikeyan, spinning in to the wall and damaging his nosecone. Did will to recover to pip Kobayashi on the line.

Kamui Kobayashi - 7th - A bittersweet race, as he held second position from the red flag period. It may have seemed a false position having stayed out on full wet tyres, but he held position until lap 50 as he and Massa pulled away from those behind. The car didn't work so well on the drying track though, and having lost out to Webber in the pit stops Button dispatched him easily. Struggled for grip as Heidfeld ran in to the back of him exiting turn two, and then had a similar incident with Rosberg in the final laps before Massa took advantage of better traction and the DRS to outpace him to the line by 0.045s.

Jaime Alguersuari - 8th - Having struggled during qualifying and started from the pit lane this was an excellent drive from a man whose seat is apparently under threat. He was quick on a wet setup, climbing from last place to 13th, and pitted just before the red flag to be 14th while the race was suspended. From then on he showed good pace and kept his nose clean, picking up places as others faulted and pitting at the right times. Kept pace with Kobayashi, Massa and Rosberg late on and was in prime position to benefit from the latter's front wing damage.

Rubens Barrichello - 9th - A second consecutive points finish for Williams, but Barrichello will rue a late error that cost him a better haul. Having started 16th it wasn't until after the race resumed following the red flag period that he began to make headway, and having been one of the first on to slicks he found himself seventh when all the pit stops had taken place. Going offline on the final restart trying to avoid Kobayashi cost him three places though, even if he did regain one on the last lap as Rosberg limped home.

Sebastian Buemi - 10th - A double points finish for Toro Rosso, although Buemi admitted he was disappointed to finish behind Alguersuari. Couldn't quite match the pace of those in front during the latter stages, and he had to make do with inheriting positions as others around him faltered. Interestingly was the only man to say "I'm not sure if changing to the slicks so early worked for me".

Nico Rosberg - 11th - No points to show from a difficult race. For once totally outperformed by Schumacher, he found himself going backwards midway through the race as his team-mate was rising to the top. Rosberg wasn't helped by a nudge from Sutil behind the safety car, and would still have salvaged points if it wasn't for a late coming together with Kobayashi that left him limping round the last lap with no front wing.

Pedro de la Rosa struggled to keep in touch with the back of the field but kept out of trouble © Sutton Images
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Pedro de la Rosa - 12th - For his first race in the Sauber, and having only driven a few laps in the car for the first time on Friday afternoon, this was a valiant performance from de la Rosa. He used his knowledge of the Pirelli tyres to nurse the wets and only stop twice, showing impressive pace at the end of the race. Did lack race craft and was happiest running alone, but made sure he saw the chequered flag to give himself the best chance of points.

Tonio Liuzzi - 13th - HRT's best result of its short history, and well deserved as it outpaced the other two newer teams. Always strong at this track, Liuzzi drove a calm race to maximise the car's potential in wet conditions and beat Virgin on raw pace once on slicks, passing both Glock and d'Ambrosio on track. Crucially puts the HRT above Virgin in the constructor's championship.

Jerome d'Ambrosio - 14th - Showed that the stewards' decision to allow him to start the race despite not qualifying within the 107% time was the right one. Recovered from a drive through penalty that was handed out for a basic team error - putting on intermediates under the safety car before the race restarted - and managed to pass his team-mate late on as he showed good speed on slicks having finally got used to his new chassis.

Timo Glock - 15th - Drove well early on and benefitted from the team's decision to leave him out on full wet tyres ahead of the red flag. On intermediates he was doing a solid if unspectacular job before locking up heavily on slicks when passing Trulli. The resulting flat spots prevented him from going flat out on the straights due to heavy vibrations and he ended the race slipping backwards.

Jarno Trulli - 16th - Having climbed up to fifteenth the timing of his first pit stop was unfortunate, dropping him to last place before the red flag period. He showed decent pace to climb back ahead of the HRTs and Virgins but then slipped off the pace as the front inerter failed and dropped around his feet in the cockpit. After a delayed pit stop he battled on to the end and caught the rear of the pack but couldn't get past.

Narain Karthikeyan - 17th - One of his better drives, racing with Liuzzi for much of the race and showing good pace in the updated HRT. Wanted to finish the race with both cars ahead of the Virgins and it appeared he had done after crossing the line behind his team-mate, but he'd cut the final chicane passing Glock late on and was subsequently handed a 20 second time penalty.

Paul di Resta - 18th - Still classified although he parked his car three laps from the end, a race that promised so much ultimately delivered nothing. He ran strongly early on, and sustained the pace to be fifth after the safety car for Alonso's retirement. Had the pace on Heidfeld in fourth too, but was impatient to get on with his race and tried a half-hearted move in to the final chicane, losing his front wing. He continued his pace after pitting and climbed back towards the points before clipping the wall in pursuit of Barrichello and suffering a puncture.

Pastor Maldonado - DNF - Got caught out by the heavy rain and had to make two stops before the race was red flagged, but put in a decent recovery to be in and around the points. Ran in to the back of Rosberg on a restart though, braking his front wing, and then in his haste to leave the pits on slick tyres he spun out on the wet pit lane exit.

Nick Heidfeld - DNF - Probably the unluckiest man in the field. Had made the most of his opportunities and kept out of trouble to run a competitive sixth place. It seemed a matter of time until he passed Kobayashi, but when the Sauber put two wheels off line in turn two and lost traction, Heidfeld damaged his front wing against the rear of Kobayashi's car, with the wing folding under the Renault and dumping him out of the race.

Adrian Sutil - DNF - Ran as high as eighth at one point, but was disadvantaged by a damaged front wing caused by running in to the back of Rosberg behind the safety car, during which time he had already passed a car and received a drive through penalty. As a result he gambled on slick tyres a lap before anyone else, and it proved just too soon as he lost the rear end and broke his suspension against a wall.

Fernando Alonso - DNF - Had a poor early part to the race, with Massa looking quicker behind him he changed to inters early and dropped back to eighth by the time the race was suspended. Trying to make up ground he was over-ambitious trying to hang it round the outside of Button in to turn three having just left the pits, although he was unfortunate that the inevitable contact left him beached on a kerb.

Heikki Kovalainen -DNF - Had pitted at the wrong time as the rain got heavier and was 21st under red flag conditions before his driveshaft failed while behind the safety car at the restart.

Lewis Hamilton - DNF - Looked quick but went for the wrong line trying to pass his team-mate. Was unfortunate that Button stopped looking in his mirrors as Hamilton moved to the left, but he should have lifted as the gap was closing. Seemed a bit impatient in trying to make up for points lost in Monaco, as evidenced by his clumsy tangle with Webber.

Chris Medland is an assistant editor on ESPNF1.

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