#865 2012 Canadian Grand Prix

2023-01-14 00:00

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#2012, Fulvio Conti, Translated by Giulia Montemurro,

#865 2012 Canadian Grand Prix

Mask off. Now Alonso is aiming for the big goal. The World Championship. On the other hand, given that his technique (that of saying, at the risk of b


Mask off. Now Alonso is aiming for the big goal. The World Championship. On the other hand, given that his technique (that of saying, at the risk of being thought crazy, we win on Sunday, when the car seems to barely pass Q2) works great, why not continue? Thus, with cheeky optimism, Fernando Alonso now leads the World Championship standings and - at this point - shifts attention to an apparently impossible goal until a few races ago. The World Championship, indeed.


"Being first in the championship is just the beginning, it's a starting point, because the ultimate goal is to be leading the championship after the last race in Brazil in November. It's a long championship and the points earned in the first six races have allowed us to be in the lead, but we are well aware that we need to improve".


The technique is always the same. That is, great optimism and then barbs (at the technicians and his team), to encourage them to do better. Seriously, if I don't win the World Championship it's all your fault. And in fact it is Alonso himself who explains precisely:


"We need to make the car faster, by working hard, making no mistakes and looking for that consistency which is so difficult to find in this championship. I think that since the start of the season we have improved the car in these two areas and Canada will be a good test in that sense. This weekend we hope to see a competitive Ferrari: it will be very important for us, not only for this race but also for the rest of the season".


How will it end? It's actually difficult to make predictions because downforce is less important here than at other tracks, but the Pirelli tires and their management will play a fundamental role. But Alonso - for a change - has precise ideas:


"I don't see any reason why Ferrari shouldn't be competitive in Canada, capable of fighting for the top positions. Winning races isn't easy, and finishing on the podium isn't easy either, but the important thing is to score points and be able to be consistent".


What is certain is that the statistics do not help Ferrari: in Montreal Fernando Alonso has won only once (in 2006), while Felipe Massa has only been on the podium once (third in 2010). Speaking of the Brazilian driver, Stefano Domenicali used a key word after the Monaco Grand Prix:


"Felipe has now been recovered".


Which makes it clear that Felipe Massa has been going through a really bad moment and that the performance in Monaco, where he has been competitive since the beginning of free practice, is the sign of a new beginning. The fans hope so.


"Now I feel much more confident. I feel stronger even if not too happy: it's true that Monaco was a good race but after the work done since the first free practice I expected to be able to fight for the podium. We had the chance to do it, we had quite good pace, but a better performance in qualifying would have increased our chances for Sunday. It was very positive compared to the beginning of the season, but we can't be satisfied with it, now we have to work a lot if we want to get something more. If we find the right direction, I know what I can do".


That's better. At least it's a good start: the Constructors' World Championships certainly cannot be won with only one driver who brings points. To stay in the fight for the World Championship, Ferrari must be faster. Fernando Alonso is preparing to tackle the Canadian Grand Prix, analyzing the prospects for the F2012 which is normally more competitive on Sundays, thanks to the team's work and strategy, but needs to make the leap in quality in terms of speed.


"We know we're not fast enough, especially on Saturdays. We sometimes fight in Q3 but not for pole position. Of course we can't stay in the lead if we're not fast enough. We hope we've taken another step forward in Canada".


He adds his teammate, Felipe Massa:


"I hope that everything we discovered in Monte Carlo can be used to be able to go better here in Canada and for the remaining races of the season. It was a positive weekend, even if I can't be satisfied with finishing in sixth position. Although Monaco is very different from other tracks, we can use some of the things we found there at other tracks. That weekend helped us understand things we didn't understand before. I feel much more comfortable with the car, now it adapts a lot to my driving style. I therefore expect to improve race after race race. My goal is the victory and the podium".


Whether the Ile de Notre Dame circuit will adapt to the characteristics of the F2012 is a question to which the Brazilian driver still has no definite answer:


"It's very difficult to say: this track has many slow corners, chicanes, hairpins, and a very long straight. So looking at how things went this season, it's very difficult to know if a particular track will match the characteristics of our single-seater, if it will be the right track or not. You need good straight-line speed here, something we have been trying to improve on since the start of the season. Let's wait and see".


As far as the technical side is concerned, Felipe Massa is asked about the news that would see Ferrari ready to carry out a comparison between two different exhaust solutions during free practice.


"Here we have some parts to test and the direction to go is to find downforce. To understand how much these upgrades can guarantee us, we have to wait and see once we hit the track".


As always, the Brazilian faces questions relating to his future, one of the great traditions of his long career at Ferrari.


"I didn't say that if I don't drive for Ferrari anymore then I will quit. I said that if I had to go to a small team, then maybe I would think about doing something else. But now we have to think about the present: I'm here and as always I'm trying to fight for success as I have for many years, and I can't wait to find myself in the same position soon, so that I can fight for victories and the championship. I believe in me, and even if the season hasn't started as I expected, things are improving. It's important to continue in this direction and look to the future, whether it means driving again for Ferrari or looking for a valid direction in which to race".


Following student protests against the holding of the Canadian Grand Prix, the organizers decided to cancel the walkabout, an event scheduled for the Thursday before the Grand Prix, which allowed fans to freely visit the pit area. Protests see the Grand Prix as a symbol of capitalism, while the Coalition Large de l'Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante (CLASSE) has defined Formula 1 as a sexist, anti-environmentalist, elitist and economic event that should be abolished. After the attack on the Formula 1 site in protest against the holding of the Bahrain Grand Prix, the Anonymous group threatens similar actions in protest against the Canadian race, part of the so-called Operation Quebec, also promising actions that could prevent the holding of the event, or the presence of fans in the city. A week before the start of the Canadian Grand Prix, and exactly on Saturday 2 June 2012, the Federation decides to review its interpretation regarding the presence of holes in the rear end of the Red Bull RB8. The solution adopted on the Austrian car had been challenged in the Monaco Grand Prix, without however declaring it illegal. Before the Canadian Grand Prix, the Federation reverses the first statement, establishing that the device can no longer be used.


"Following the numerous discussions during the Monaco Grand Prix, during which it emerged that there was a discrepancy in the reading of the rules, we believe it is useful to clarify our position with respect to the presence of a closed hole on any surface of the fund".


However, Red Bull Racing adviser Helmut Marko says he is convinced the FIA's decision to ban the use of any type of holes in the underbody of Formula 1 cars will not pose a problem for the Anglo-Austrian team ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix. Marko downplays assumptions about the impact of the FIA's decision:


"We didn't plan to use that fund in Montreal anyway. We had prepared a different configuration with an ad hoc version of the fund. So there will be no need to modify the cars for Canada. In any case, the FIA's decision also relates to the other teams, not just Red Bull and in any case our preparation for the race was not disturbed by this decision".


Friday 8 June 2012 Lewis Hamilton sets the fastest time during the first practice session, using Soft tyres, while Sebastian Vettel, author of the second fastest time, mounts Supersoft tyres. Heikki Kovalainen went off the track at turn 8, destroying the front of his Caterham, while Sebastian Vettel and Bruno Senna came close to crashing. For having hindered the Brazilian, the German Red Bull Racing driver suffers a reprimand from the race stewards. Lewis Hamilton also set the best time during the second session, ahead of the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa in this circumstance. In this session the Briton also uses the Super-oft tyres. Bruno Senna impacts against the Muro dei Campioni, located just before the finish line. Due to the oil leaking from the Brazilian driver's car, the marshals decide to display the red flag which interrupts the session. Lewis Hamilton flies, but the Ferraris are there. After dominating the first, the Briton confirmed to be the fastest also at the end of the second free practice session on the Gilles Villeneuve circuit in Montreal. The Briton improves on his morning performance, dropping it by 0.3 seconds, lapping in 1'15"259. But 0.051 seconds behind the McLaren-Mercedes driver is the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso, followed by less than 0.1 seconds by his teammate, Felipe Massa. Sebastian Vettel for Red Bull Racing is fourth, 0.272 seconds. But Lewis Hamilton is also being talked about following the offer he has just received from McLaren: 123.000.000 euros for the next five years.


"We will see".


That's the answer from Lewis Hamilton, whose contract expires in 2012 and who wants to take more time to decide. Both the first and second sessions were interrupted due to accidents, without consequences for Kovalainen and Bruno Senna. Heikki Kovalainen got out of the car unharmed, just like the birds in Hungry bird that he loves so much and that he reproduced on his helmet. Brief interruption also in the second free practice session of the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix. Practice stopped when Bruno Senna went off the track and lost control of his Williams at the exit of the last chicane. As with the Kovalainen incident in the first practice session, no problem for Senna either. Fernando Alonso is happy at the end of a very productive day of testing:


"I'm quite satisfied with how things went on this Friday in Montreal. This morning we focused above all on evaluating some new solutions while in the afternoon we mainly worked on comparing the two types of tyres, both to look for performance over a single lap and to verify the behavior of the car with lots of fuel on board. The first indications seem to be positive but it's very early to draw conclusions, also because Friday's times certainly shouldn't be taken at face value".


And he adds:


"Now we have to concentrate on analyzing the data and preparing ourselves in the best possible way for the rest of the weekend. The circuit named after Gilles Villeneuve is very similar to a street track, having the walls very close to the roadway. It thus becomes very important to find the right references, especially as regards the braking points and the distance from the walls, to be able to find both the fastest lap and fluidity over long distances".


Felipe Massa also seems to agree with his teammate:


"All in all, it's the best Friday of 2012: we hope to continue like this also on Saturday and Sunday. It was a very positive Friday for us. We managed to do many laps and, above all, to test everything that was on the programme. Fortunately, the rain, and what rain!, came after the second session had come to an end, so we were able to do everything right. I think we can be happy with the fact that the innovations we have brought here have worked even if it is difficult to measure the impact on performance in the heat. In any case, the intention is to keep the new configuration on the car. The car seems to be well balanced and it seemed to me rather constant in terms of performance even if, obviously, the track still didn't offer much grip, being today the first day of the race weekend".


Once they were the terror of the circus, today they are two pilots in the balance. Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa, both looking for themselves and a contract for next year. The more worried of the two is undoubtedly the Brazilian, if only for personal reasons. After a disastrous start to the championship, Felipe Massa fared slightly better in Monte-Carlo and is now called upon to confirm the progress shown. But he knows that his fate has probably not yet been decided and therefore he still gives himself a couple of months to try to convince the president of Ferrari, Luca Montezemolo:


"Now let's think about the present. From August I will begin to think about the future. When the contract expires, this is normal".


And the situation of Michael Schumacher is paradoxically similar, last in the standings with only two points won, the same as Daniel Ricciardo. Followed only by the six cars of the lower-ranked teams, the German is trying to figure out what to do: many would like to put him back to rest, but giving up like this, last in the standings, wouldn't be like him. Speaking instead of who is currently at the top of Formula 1, if Lewis Hamilton were to confirm the times set during the first day of practice, the McLaren driver would be the seventh different winner in as many Grands Prix, yet another record of this year's mad Formula 1. The hypothesis cannot be ruled out at all, given that the Englishman was the fastest in both the first and second sessions, ahead of the Red Bull Racing of Sebastian Vettel in the morning and Fernando Alonso in the afternoon. Lewis Hamilton believes it:


"After so many mistakes, mine and those of the team, the time has come to break the ice, I can't make mistakes here, if I want to fight for the title".


But Ferrari is there, and in Montreal it is more than ever favored to win, as Fernando Alonso hoped. The car produced in Maranello is competitive, and Felipe Massa proves it more than the Spaniard, again this time a faithful squire, behind the team leader, but ahead of almost the rest of the world with his third place, an excellent performance sealed by the small gap on Lewis Hamilton, just 0.151 seconds. Fernando Alonso, who gave so much importance to this track, long straights and many slow corners, rejoices:


"Where you need top speed and traction, those that were our main defects at the beginning of the season".


A sort of truth test for the progress of the renewed single-seater from Maranello.


"If the Montreal race had arrived at the beginning of the year we would have trembled, but now we hope to be able to defend ourselves well. If we were able to fight with the leaders, it would mean that there has been a leap in quality and that the gap with the best cars is practically zero".


The hopes have been transferred to the track, and the tests show that Ferrari is now alive and fighting harder than ever. Sure, the wet asphalt may have helped, given that it started to rain nine minutes after the end of the second practice session, but even before that the climate wasn't torrid, atmospheric conditions that Ferrari doesn't mind. However, it is fair to underline how Fernando Alonso was quick even in the morning with the sun, with a fourth time that pays just 0.278 seconds to Lewis Hamilton and even less to Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg's Mercedes. The signs are good and, if anything, one wonders what could happen if the tornado hits the racetrack on Friday evening, half an hour after the end of practice, with the drivers just getting out of their cars. The shed where the press room is located is even in danger of collapsing. And the enormous volume of water floods everything, with an extra program that is not very appreciated by the teams. The charges by the police on Thursday evening were also unwelcome for the students in the square, a counter-offensive in anti-riot gear to the slogans of the protesters which led to 37 arrests. The people present in Montreal say that young people were in the streets for the increase in university fees and that the marches had been going on for days, but the presence of Formula 1 was transformed into a gigantic megaphone and ended up spreading the riots. The pretext for moving public opinion was the party organized in the city center for the arrival of teams and riders in Canada. There was a cocktail party in a street closed to traffic, very central: it soon became the territory of the members of the Convergence anti-capitalist struggle group. 


The authors of the protest, all dressed in red and black, took over the students and began chanting slogans against the polluting, sexist and thieving world of F1. The reaction of the police was immediate. Saturday 9 June 2012, during FP3 Sebastian Vettel sets the best time. The German driver is faster both when everyone is on the Soft tires and when, in the final minutes, the riders try the Supersoft tyres. There is a strong balance of values in the field, with the first fifteen drivers in just over 0.8 seconds. Nico Rosberg and Jean-Éric Vergne set no times: the first due to a clutch failure, the second due to an accident during the first attempt. A few hours later, in Q1, given the great balance between times, almost everyone immediately opted to use the Supersoft tyres. Sergio Pérez sets the fastest time, but shortly after Fernando Alonso manages to improve the limit set by the Mexican driver. The great closeness in performance is confirmed, with fourteen riders in one second. With five minutes to go, Sebastian Vettel completed his first attempt and set the fastest time. Paul di Resta and Jenson Button climbed back into the top positions in the closing moments of the session. The two Caterhams of Heikki Kovalainen and Vitalij Petrov, the two Marussias of Timo Glock and Charles Pic, the two HRTs of Narain Kartikeyan and Pedro de la Rosa and Jean-Éric Vergne are eliminated. During Q2 Nico Rosberg set the best time, but this limit was later improved by Lewis Hamilton; the other McLaren driver, Jenson Button ruined a set of Supersoft tyres. As in Q1, also at the end of Q2 it is Sebastian Vettel who sets the best time. The Ferrari drivers, who had opted to use the Soft tyres, were forced to switch to the Supersoft tires in the final part of the session, in order to qualify for Q3. Pastor Maldonado ruins his last attempt by hitting the wall at the final chicane. In addition to the Venezuelan driver, Bruno Senna, the two Sauber drivers, Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi, Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Räikkönen and Nico Hülkenberg are eliminated. In the final stage Sebastian Vettel took the lead of the session, ahead of Lewis Hamilton. In the last attempt, the German Red Bull Racing driver improves his time again, which is not beaten by any other driver. Sebastian Vettel takes pole position at the Canadian Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso's Ferrari follows in third place. The World Champion sets the best time with a lap of 1'13"784. The McLaren of Lewis Hamilton will start next to him in the front row. In the second row Fernando Alonso and the other Red Bull Racing of Mark Webber. The German Nico Rosberg is fifth, and will start in the third row next to the Ferrari of Felipe Massa. Behind the Brazilian, in the fourth row, will start the Lotus of the Frenchman Romain Grosjean and the Force India of the Scotsman Paul di Resta. the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher and the McLaren-Mercedes of the Englishman Jenson Button.Fernando Alonso is happy to have conquered the third place in the official practice of the Canadian Grand Prix.


"I'm very happy. Our car performed well. It's a step forward, we certainly won't stop with improvements and so will our rivals, but I'm very happy with the work the guys in the team have done".


The hole is no longer there, the FIA has forced it to close after Mark Webber's triumph in Monte-Carlo, but Red Bull Racing remains and above all there is Sebastian Vettel. Once again as fast as last year, in pole number 32 of his career, capable of winning after a grueling fight on the edge of the thousandths. All the drivers are very close, on a track that is not a little selective like the one in Montreal, with walls close to each other and the high possibility of crashing into them, all the cars are very close to each other and indeed what is surprising is Sebastian Vettel's last advantage, decidedly the largest, 0.303 seconds over a Lewis Hamilton struggling with the strong degradation of the soft tires, and 0.367 seconds over Fernando Alonso, competitive with his Ferrari, very satisfied with his lap times and balance of the car, but in any case thrown quite far from the last time set by the German driver. Sebastian Vettel, in a state of grace, does not forgive. Neither the FIA ("they made us close the hole, they claimed it gave an illegal aerodynamic advantage, but with this result we showed that we were the fastest anyway"), nor the rivals, who always had to chase him in these qualifying sessions. Vettel doesn't even forgive his own team, or rather thanks them, but he is no longer willing to tolerate strategic mistakes, as has often happened this season.


"The team was able to learn from our mistakes, I'm referring above all to the last two races, Barcelona and Montecarlo, we treasured certain shortcomings and now they won't happen again. I knew right from the start that triumphing for the third consecutive year would be difficult, I expected a tough fight, but we're all there in the standings and repeating it is still possible. In the meantime, let's try to win in Canada, the important thing will be not to make mistakes at the start and defend the lead at the first corner, in order to manage all the madness that comes out of this Grand Prix. The safety car can play a decisive role".


The German driver confesses that he can't wait to return to Germany as a winner, but Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso have no desire to indulge in his wishes. Hamilton is worried about tire wear:


"I had to fight like crazy to fight the degradation, Button got even worse".


Fernando Alonso, on the other hand, is happy.


"I'm very happy with the car, as with third place. We continue to improve, I don't feel like ruling out our victory. We did well in Barcelona, Monte Carlo and now here in Canada: three tracks with different characteristics, a sign that the car is strong everywhere. I thought I was going to suffer in Montreal but so far we haven't had any problems. We are equal to the others and I will do everything to beat Vettel and Hamilton".


Or at least to stay ahead of the World Championship. Hoping that Felipe Massa, sixth, third row, will lend a hand.


"I expected more, the rear slipped away in the second sector and I lost a couple of positions. He will mean that I will come back in the race".


Third and sixth: never so good. Ferrari this season. Sunday 10 June 2012, at the start of the Canadian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel maintains the first position, followed by Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa. Nico Rosberg, after giving up his position to Mark Webber, was passed during the second lap by Felipe Massa and in third by Paul di Resta. During the sixth lap Felipe Massa spun which sent him falling to the rear. During lap 15, Sebastian Vettel, now being attacked by Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, made his first tire change. During lap 16, Lewis Hamilton also returned to the pits, while Fernando Alonso waited for lap 19 before making his pit stop. Returning to the track, Fernando Alonso manages to stay ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. However, the tires of the Spaniard's car are not yet up to temperature, so Lewis Hamilton manages to pass the Ferrari driver. Lewis Hamilton moved into first position, followed by Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Räikkönen, Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Pérez: the latter three have not yet changed tires. Kimi Räikkönen makes his pit stop on lap 40: back on track he manages to precede Nico Rosberg, who recently made his second stop. During lap 41, however, the German manages to pass the Finn. Sergio Pérez also made his pit stop to change tyres, and rejoined the track in eighth position, battling with Rosberg and Felipe Massa. During lap 45 Michael Schumacher suffers a problem with the DRS: the mobile wing gets stuck in the open position, and the Mercedes driver is forced to retire. During lap 49 Lewis Hamilton made his second stop. Fernando Alonso thus takes the lead of the race, followed by Sebastian Vettel. Lewis Hamilton was third, followed by Mark Webber (who stops for his tire change after two laps), Romain Grosjean, Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg and Pérez. 


The Mexican takes advantage of the fight between Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa to pass both. Meanwhile Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel decide not to change tyres, thus allowing Lewis Hamilton to get closer. The Englishman passed Sebastian Vettel on lap 62 and, two laps later, he retook the lead by also passing Fernando Alonso. Sebastian Vettel opts for a new tire change, which drops him to fifth position, behind Romain Grosjean and Sergio Pérez. In the final laps, Lewis Hamilton controlled the race easily, while Fernando Alonso, in a crisis with the tyres, lost three positions to Romain Grosjean, Sergio Pérez and Sebastian Vettel. Lewis Hamilton wins the Canadian Grand Prix, becoming the seventh different driver to win in the first seven races of the World Championship. Romain Grosjean is second, followed by Sergio Pérez, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber, Kimi Raikkonen, Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa. No controversy, no sentences out of place. Just so much regret. On the day when Ferrari finally found itself competitive, with the car going as well if not more than the others and with one driver - as usual, only one - in extraordinary form, a (double) strategy error compromised a result that at one point had even seemed easy to achieve, leaving the top of the World Championship standings as a tribute to the competition. A record which, at this point of the season, has no value on a competitive level, but which is worth a lot from a psychological point of view. As Ferrari knows well. And so, while the team principal of the Maranello team, Stefano Domenicali, does his job and looks ahead trying to show all his men the positive side of the situation, Fernando Alonso tries to absolve his engineers and their choices.


"It's clear that seen from here, not pitting was a mistake. But at that moment of the race, that choice had a precise meaning. Hamilton had just replaced the tyres, if we did that too we would have left Vettel in a position to try and win".


And you know, Alonso is someone who pays close attention to these things.


"And so we decided to risk ourselves first. After all, there was also the possibility of winning by doing this: the tires we had seemed to be holding up great, in the last few minutes they had even allowed us to cover entire sectors in record time. After all, there were only 18 laps to go".


But things didn't go according to plan, because the tires didn't hold up and everyone came walking around from behind. Lewis Hamilton, obviously, but also Romain Grosjean and even Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel whose engineers had the good sense, given the deterioration of the situation, to change strategy a second time and remedy the first mistake. And this is the real mistake that Ferrari can be blamed for. But, according to Fernando Alonso, there is no need to be too picky:


"The problem is that the tires didn't hold up, they collapsed and the last ten laps were hell".


The data tell of 29 seconds given away to the competition. Which with the balance that exists this year is practically a time comparable to a geological era.


"In the end the car gave a good response, in my opinion. And this allows us to stay within the leading group and be optimistic. Yes, we lost a few points against Hamilton and something against Vettel as well. But at least we shrugged off almost everyone who followed us. They continue to find it difficult and going forward at this rate they will be cut off".


Among those who continue to find difficulties behind him, certainly among those left out, Felipe Massa should also be considered. In Montreal the Brazilian, after a good start, got lost in the dark labyrinths of his personal crisis. Called to confirm the good things he had shown in Monte-Carlo, Felipe was unable to go beyond tenth place, paying dearly for a rookie mistake. Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali says:


"I'm very sorry for Felipe who turned around, otherwise he could have done much better".


Who is not at all sorry for the mistake made by Felipe Massa is undoubtedly Sergio Perez, the Sauber driver who put in an excellent race that finished with the podium. Since the beginning of the year, the Mexican has scored 37 points. Felipe Massa - at the end of his contract with Ferrari - collected only 11. The changing of the guard seems to be one step away. On the one hand, the afflicted air of someone who realizes he has thrown away an opportunity, a tight smile to hide his anger, Fernando Alonso who perhaps would not have won (but in any case was playing with Lewis Hamilton) if he had made two stops, but certainly would not have finished fifth, passed in the final stages not only by the Englishman of McLaren, but also by Romain Grosjean's Lotus, Sergio Perez's Sauber and Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull Racing, with his Ferrari running out of tires and proceeding in slow motion, in the final kilometres. comparable to an ordeal. On the other, the radiant face of Lewis Hamilton, happy for the great leap forward made in his native Canada, his track, the circuit that hosted the first victory of his life in 2007, curves and straights that know how to exalt McLaren, five triumphs in the last seven editions of the Canadian Grand Prix, but above all they send him into a state of grace, the best on this asphalt again in 2010. The Englishman has won, and (this year Formula 1 seems to be enjoying himself) his seal enriches the statistic, seventh different winner in as many races, without any driver being able to repeat himself, but what matters even more is that with the 25 points conquered he takes the lead in the World Championship, with 2 points more than Alonso, 3 points more than Sebastian Vettel, 9 points more than Mark Webber, symbol of a very short ranking, where a victory is enough to find paradise lost. Lewis Hamilton has won and in a certain sense this success becomes a message to all his detractors. Answer that he, in the moment of great happiness, reverses in thanksgiving:


"To the team, who never gave up and never argued with me, and to all those fans who sent me hundreds of letters and continued to support me. During the race, when I saw myself fast and in the lead, I thought of them. I said to myself: come on, this is the right time, also because you broke the ice on this circuit and it never let you down. I loved every single minute of this race, it was wonderful, I had a lot of fun. I'm proud of the team, it was one of the best races I've ever had. I knew it would be tough, but I never had any doubts about a possible victory, even when I was behind. The two pit stops proved to be fundamental".


The Briton says he loved every moment, but above all lap 64 must have been radiant, when he passed Fernando Alonso, he found himself in the lead, and with the right tires he understood that he could easily fly away towards the finish line. More or less at the same time, Fernando Alonso must have realized that this time Ferrari's tactics, as Stefano Domenicali admits, were wrong, too big a gamble, which he didn't pay for. To try to win, the Spaniard decided to stay on track with the less soft tires of the two available, tires that crumbled in the last six laps, causing his performance to collapse. Sebastian Vettel, third on lap 63, the moment of his second stop, was also attempting a similar strategy. He was chasing Fernando Alonso, who was in the lead, and meanwhile learned on the radio that Lewis Hamilton was still far on the horizon. But then things changed, the Englishman changed pace with his McLaren, approached in great strides, passed both and at that point Vettel understood that something had to be done. 


Thus, while Alonso stubbornly remained on the track and was overtaken not only by Vettel, but also by Grosjean (the Frenchman, however, had less soft tires and stopped only once...) and Perez (this time for the jewel of the Ferrari nursery, no caution like in Malaysia), the German from Red Bull let the two lesser-known drivers go, but with the new tires on the penultimate lap he cheated Alonso and took away two points. Spanish doesn't dramatize but the topic is there. How certain is Massa's mistake, absurd in throwing himself away. He started strong, dreamed of fourth place, spun on lap six and goodbye dreams. He finished tenth and a renewal with Ferrari seems increasingly distant. The Canadian Grand Prix leaves some regret inside the Ferrari garage, but the Maranello team does not want to dramatize. Fernando Alonso's fifth place, while admitting the strategy error in not immediately responding to Sebastian Vettel's pit stop, is still good:


"Today we find ourselves commenting on Alonso's fifth place in the Canadian Grand Prix as a big disappointment, perhaps forgetting that the same result in Melbourne came at the end of a weekend in which Fernando was able to fight for pole position for the first time in a very long time (certainly too much for a team like Ferrari) on Saturday and played his cards to the hilt for victory".


Ferrari's statement goes on to say:


"The success didn't come because the main rival, Hamilton and his McLaren, were faster overall and, to beat them, we had to try to reshuffle the cards: we tried - all together, because the decision not to stop again was made by mutual agreement between the pit wall and the driver - but it didn't go well. Tire performance on the F2012 dropped sharply while the same thing didn't happen on other cars, see Sauber and Lotus. True, we could have saved fourth place by reacting immediately to the stop of a Vettel, who ended up behind Fernando thanks to his strategy, grappling with a problem identical to that of the Spaniard: the mistake - in hindsight - was made and no one denies it but the price paid isn't that dramatic. It cost him the leadership in the championship standings but it's certainly not after seven races that counts being first: the important thing is to be first on November 25, in Sao Paulo".


For his part, Stefano Domenicali confirms a factually positive analysis of the Canadian weekend. The Ferrari Team Principal says:


"We have taken an important step forward in terms of performance, a sign that the hard work done in recent months is really starting to pay off and for this I want to thank all the people who have given their soul to Maranello. We must continue like this: other innovations will arrive at Valencia and then again at Silverstone. The key to the season is to continue to push on the development of the single-seater and, at the same time, understand how best to manage the performance of the tires".


On the other hand, the French driver of Lotus, Romain Grosjean, is over the moon for his unexpected second position:


"The car felt good, I saw that the pace was holding and I managed to finish second, it was fantastic. When I caught up with Alonso I hardly realized I had him up front".


As well as Sergio Perez, who started fifteenth and finished the race in third position:


"Starting from P15, I would have thought of everything except finishing on the podium. I was aggressive. The first stint went well, so did the first pit stop and the second stint, which allowed me to overtake several cars. I saw that the tires were not degrading so much and I kept my pace, even catching up on the front. All in all, an incredible result. Yesterday we had many difficulties, especially with the brakes, and it's fantastic to get on the podium, it's already the second after Malaysia. We hope to continue like this, in Monaco and Barcelona. unlucky, I dedicate this podium to the team".


After the comeback, with Ferrari finally at the level of McLaren and Red Bull Racing, the fight can now begin. This is how we can summarize the mood in Maranello, the day after the race in Canada, a Grand Prix which in the end gave us profound disappointment, due to the tactical error (admitted by Ferrari) which in the last six laps caused Fernando Alonso to slip from first to fifth position, but also the awareness of having a competitive car (on each track, given the completely different characteristics of Barcelona, Monte-Carlo and Montreal). Able, as happened last weekend, to fight for pole and for success. Ferrari is there, according to the data, Fernando Alonso's change of mentality, no longer inclined only to defend himself, but just as aggressive, eager to win, to the point of risking a strategic gamble, staying on track with tires that were crumbling, in order to mock the fastest Hamilton. Ferrari now feels in the game and this is demonstrated by the different attitude with which it collects a fifth place, not the euphoria that was recorded on its debut in Australia (Alonso fifth, 21 seconds behind Button, after a thousand vicissitudes and a start from the sixth row), but the anger at having lost precious points in the last kilometres, with the Spaniard ending up in slow motion after long cherishing the dream of bringing home the trophy on the track. Ferrari is now ambitious, which is why it must not stop now. Fernando Alonso, an obsessive leader, immediately made it clear:


"In recent weeks, progress has been enormous, but woe to rest on your laurels. Hamilton and Vettel are two great opponents, you always have to improve, at every race. After all, we are Ferrari. And a team like ours never stops developing".


Grow every day. Also because we find ourselves in the craziest World Championship in history, seven different winners in the first seven races, a very short standings, an incredible sudden change of hierarchies: because of the Pirelli tyres, every Grand Prix celebrates a new team and the winner of the first race has a high probability of ending up on trial. A championship comparable in the past only to 1982 (eleven different winners at the end of the season), in which, as Stefano Domenicali has been claiming for some time, details and homework will be decisive. Precisely for this reason, the Maranello team has already prepared a rich package of novelties for the next two Grands Prix, the one on Sunday 24 June 2012 in Valencia, and the one on Sunday 8 July 2012 at Silverstone. In Spain, the desired improvements should, as usual, concern aerodynamics, now the area in which the fate of the cars is decided. It will be essential to start in pole position, it is a circuit where it is difficult to overtake, and Fernando Alonso hopes to make decisive steps forward in the flying lap. Nineteen consecutive races in the points (including eleven podiums), the Spaniard is ready to make the difference, maintaining his advantage in the race. In the hope that the tires don't betray this time. Domenicali in Montreal had only one gripe:


"Lotus and Sauber have consumed them less".


We will need to understand why.


"If we had marked Vettel, returning to the pits, Seb would not have ended up in front of us".


And now Fernando Alonso would share the lead with Lewis Hamilton, with the German lagging behind by 5 points.


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