Hamilton heads McLaren 1-2 in Canada

McLaren took its second successive one-two finish as Lewis Hamilton led home Jenson Button in an action-packed Canadian Grand Prix in which high tyre wear played a pivotal role

Hamilton heads McLaren 1-2 in Canada

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finished third, but would rue a potential lost victory, as he had been passed by both McLarens at different moments when wrong-footed by others cars.

Red Bull had to settle for fourth and fifth - Sebastian Vettel nursing a car problem for much of the distance, and Mark Webber losing the lead when his strategy of leaving the super soft tyres until the final laps failed to pay off.

It was immediately clear that the softer tyres were going to be very fragile, for while Hamilton held the lead off the start, within a few laps Vettel - on the harder rubber - was all over the back of him. Alonso ran just behind them, with fourth-placed Button fending off an equally menacing Webber until the Red Bull dived past into Turn 8 on lap five, just before Button pitted.

Webber then swiftly caught the Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso train at the front, lining up a move on the Ferrari just as it came in for harder tyres on lap seven. Hamilton pitted from the lead at the same moment, falling behind Alonso in the stop and coming off second best as they charged down the exit road side by side.

That moved Red Bull into one-two formation, but it was clear that even the medium compound tyre was not faring too well, as Alonso, Hamilton and Button started catching the lead duo at up to one second per lap on their fresh rubber.

The Red Bulls came in on laps 12 and 13 and split their strategies - Vettel taking the super soft tyres for his next stint while Webber postponed that task and stuck with mediums.

Fellow medium runner Sebastien Buemi, who had advanced up the order as those ahead stopped, then found himself leading for Toro Rosso for a lap, with the battling Alonso and Hamilton on his tail.

On that lap, Alonso's failed attempt to pass Buemi down the outside into the hairpin gave Hamilton a chance to draft the Ferrari on the next straight - moving the McLaren from third to first in the space of a few yards as Buemi immediately pitted.

Alonso stayed with Hamilton though, and as their next set of tyres started to wilt, he became ever more threatening. The Ferrari was just lining up a move for the lead on lap 26 when Hamilton decided to stop again, diving straight in to get another set of hard tyres. Alonso, Vettel and Button followed suit in quick succession, while Webber stayed out, assumed the lead and trying to keep his medium tyres intact as long as possible to shorten his stint on the fragile super softs.

At first the plan worked well, Webber pulling out a 10s lead over Hamilton, Alonso, Button and Vettel as they ran in fairly close company in second to fifth positions.

But by lap 39 Webber's tyres were going off too, and heavy traffic made life even tougher for him. Before long Hamilton was right back on his tail, taking the lead on lap 49 and encouraging Webber to pit next time around to finally take on super softs, dropping him to fifth.

Vettel was unable to keep pace with the McLarens and Alonso, the team speaking over the radio of a 'problem being managed', so it became a three-way battle for the lead going into the closing stages as the track rubbered in at last and the tyres gained durability.

Button made it a McLaren one-two with 15 laps to go when Alonso was trapped behind Karun Chandhok's Hispania and lost momentum. The champion set off after Hamilton and started to chip away at the leader's advantage, though a new fastest lap by Hamilton nine laps from the end sent a clear message to his team-mate. The top three then spread out, with McLaren cruising to another one-two and Alonso at least getting back on the podium after two tough races.

Nico Rosberg recovered from being pushed back into the midfield during a messy first lap to take sixth for Mercedes, ahead of Renault's Robert Kubica, who had a wheel-banging battle with Michael Schumacher in the early stages that saw both take to the grass.

Schumacher's tyre troubles were worse than most - the Mercedes pitting three times and still lapping 4s off the pace in the final stint. Buemi passed him for seventh, and he was then caught by Felipe Massa. The Brazilian and Tonio Liuzzi managed to tangle twice during the first two corners of the race, damaging both cars. After pitting for repairs, they charged back towards the points, only for Massa to lose his front wing when Schumacher sternly defended his position with six laps to go.

Liuzzi then took up the challenge of trying to overtake Schumacher, who slid over the final chicane and banged wheels with the Italian more than once as he fought mightily to at least hang on to ninth. He could not though, with a bruising last lap seeing the seven-time champion tumble to 11th behind both Liuzzi and his Force India team-mate Adrian Sutil.

Other drivers hitting trouble on the first lap were both Saubers and Vitaly Petrov. The Renault took to the grass on the run towards the first corner and ended up spinning into Pedro de la Rosa, damaging both cars, with Petrov also receiving a jump-start penalty. The second Sauber was soon heading for the pits too - Kamui Kobayashi sliding into the wall at the final chicane as he jousted with Nico Hulkenberg's Williams.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The Canadian Grand Prix Montreal, Canada; 70 laps; 309.396km; Weather: Sunny. Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1h33:53.456 2. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 2.254 3. Alonso Ferrari + 9.214 4. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 37.817 5. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 39.291 6. Rosberg Mercedes + 56.084 7. Kubica Renault + 57.300 8. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap 9. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap 10. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap 11. Schumacher Mercedes + 1 lap 12. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap 13. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap 14. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap 15. Massa Ferrari + 1 lap 16. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth + 2 laps 17. Petrov Renault + 2 laps 18. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth + 4 laps 19. Di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth + 5 laps Fastest lap: Kubica, 1:16.972 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Glock Virgin-Cosworth 50 Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 43 De la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 31 Senna HRT-Cosworth 14 Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 2 World Championship standings, round 8: Drivers: Constructors:  1. Hamilton 109 1. McLaren-Mercedes 215 2. Button 106 2. Red Bull-Renault 193 3. Webber 103 3. Ferrari 161 4. Alonso 94 4. Mercedes 108 5. Vettel 90 5. Renault 79 6. Rosberg 74 6. Force India-Mercedes 35 7. Kubica 73 7. Williams-Cosworth 8 8. Massa 67 8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 8 9. Schumacher 34 9. Sauber-Ferrari 1 10. Sutil 23 11. Liuzzi 12 12. Barrichello 7 13. Petrov 6 14. Buemi 5 15. Alguersuari 3 16. Hulkenberg 1 17. Kobayashi 1 All timing unofficial 
Five themes to watch for in the Canadian GP
Previous article

Five themes to watch for in the Canadian GP

Next article

Alonso encouraged by Ferrari recovery

Alonso encouraged by Ferrari recovery
Load comments
How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021