Robert Kubica took the lead in the drivers championship after scoring his and BMW Sauber’s first Formula One victory, with teammate Nick Heidfeld finishing second in an astonishing Canadian Grand Prix.
The win was a remarkable way for Kubica to mark his return to Montreal, 12 months after his ferocious accident at the track. It also thrust the Polish driver into the lead of the drivers’ championship.
David Coulthard claimed his first points of the season in fine style by taking third for Red Bull, ahead of Toyota’s Timo Glock and Felipe Massa’s Ferrari.
Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen made a bizarre exit from the race when the McLaren crashed into the back of the Ferrari in the pitlane during a safety car period.
Prior to that incident, Hamilton had looked set for a dominant victory. He calmly pulled away from Kubica and Raikkonen in the early laps, and led by seven seconds when the caution period was called on lap 17 to retrieve Adrian Sutil’s Force India, which had parked in a difficult position near Turn 3.
The leaders all poured into the pits, with Hamilton falling behind both Raikkonen and Kubica. The Ferrari and BMW then dutifully halted at the pit exit because the red light was on while the safety car train came past, but Hamilton appeared not to notice the light and ploughed into the back of the Ferrari….(read full race report here)
Pos Driver Team Time
1. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) 1h36:24.447
2. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) + 16.495
3. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) + 23.352
4. Glock Toyota (B) + 42.627
5. Massa Ferrari (B) + 43.934
6. Trulli Toyota (B) + 47.775
7. Barrichello Honda (B) + 53.597
8. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 54.120
9. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 54.433
10. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) + 54.749
11. Button Honda (B) + 1:07.540
12. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) + 1:11.299
13. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 1 lap
Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:17.387
Driver Team On lap
Fisichella Force India-Ferrari (B) 54
Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 49
Alonso Renault (B) 47
Piquet Renault (B) 42
Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 20
Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 20
Sutil Force India-Ferrari (B) 14
Hi everyone, now this is a race to talk about! Okay, it might not have been as mad as what we had in Monaco, but Robert Kubica takes his first ever F1 victory, BMW’s first race win and with teammate Nick Heidfeld in second – superb. It was only a matter of time, and I’ve been very confident for BMW and Kubica in particular this year, and ahead of this weekend I had expected Kubica to seriously compete for the Canadian Crown. You can watch their reaction in the full press conference video. I have to say I’m extremely pleased for him and BMW and even more so that Kubica is leading the championship – why? Because it proves once again in Formula One that what goes around comes around and we should never be too sure about anything. And I’m also extra pleased that Hamilton’s words from yesterday did eventually bite him in the backside, but how ironic was it that it was Kimi’s backside that was bitten in the process! How annoying. Alas, what happened in Monaco came back to Kimi. Hamilton has felt what Kimi did in Monaco, and Kimi felt what Sutil did Monaco. Weird.
For Lewis however, he’s had to taste fury from some higher power ever since his boastful manner yesterday, he’s hopefully learnt not to be so proud and act humbly to his fellow sportsmen and most importantly to himself. Hamilton and Rosberg, who was also involved in the crash, have been given a 10-place grid penalty for the next race in France. According to the rules, this is a just punishment.
The race was bound to see the safety car jump in, but at what cause? Sutil’s Force India, and despite being parked way out of harms way on from the track, the FIA felt the need to bring the safety car out. After what happened in Monaco, the safety car rules were criticised on having the pitlane closed when the safety car is out. The parked car was at no major harm in my opinion, yet the FIA felt they needed to over-control things yet again. I admit I found it very exciting when all the first 5 cars came into the pits when the safety car came back in – but why oh why had the race control felt the need to put the red lights on at the exit? Surely a very busy pitlane, with the teams and drivers panicking and rushing about getting ahead of the other cars, needed to be allowed to empty accordingly? By putting the red light on, they just caused an accident that shouldn’t have happened.
We can be pleased that Kimi was using his wits (something he is often accused of not using) and stopped by the red light with Kubica also next to him. Ferrari did release Kimi too early I think but it happens so often in the pitlane when the other teams release their cars simultaneously. Kimi should have lined up behind Kubica, but that was not possible by his action – slowing down would have caused an accident aswell. Kimi correctly stopped before the white line when the red light showed. Some will say that Kimi should have stopped behind Kubica. But that would have been impossible. Lewis was already released when Kimi and Kubica were side by side. There’s no way Kimi would have slowed down even more to line up behind if he saw the red light then. I’m sure Kimi checked his mirrors after leaving the pits and saw Lewis coming. Lewis wasn’t even aware what was happening in front and would have still crashed into Kimi, with greater force had Kimi braked harder to slow down behind Kubica.
I think Kimi had the right instinct. And of course I’ll say that because he was on for the win and Ferrari wanted him ahead of Kubica. Had it happened further down the lane then I wholly agree that Kimi should have yielded 100%. But he wasn’t hasty either. Kimi isn’t hasty nowadays, and his composure towards Hamilton after the accident was typical Kimi. Cool.
Hamilton, having bragged after the race about ‘cruising’ up until this point, must have been half asleep not knowing what on earth was going on around him. Surely, if McLaren were paranoid about a safety car period, Hamilton would have been too? Clearly, this wasn’t the case, and Lewis tried to console himself by saying he would have won and that he was ‘cruising’. Maybe he should learn to be a bit more humble next time, and for sure I will laugh at his race today for a while! Especially so, since he was joking before the race today with the ITV presenter about his father’s Porsche crash earlier this week. Lewis said he found it funny and told him dad "How can you crash at 30mph?" – Lewis answered his own question today! Ha! Andif people are comparing this accident with Kimi’s in Monaco, then I pity them, because it’s a totally different situation. Hamilton crashed in the pitlane and did not follow the red light. No excuses for that either.
Back to the racing (I apologise for diverting to a anti-Hamilton rant but it’s been over due), BMW saw their chance and grasped it with both hands. I cheered on Kubica till the every last corner and hoped nothing would ruin his moment. A small part of me wanted his teammate Heidfeld to take the win, as it’s also long over due, but Kubica clearly had better pace and has been very strong all season. Heidfeld did a great job to keep second place and not make any mistakes despite struggling with the tyres this season, and Alonso looked very racey behind him in 3rd until he spun out. Renault were in for some big points today as they hoped but unfortunately you can get caught out anytime, anywhere. At least it wasn’t in the pitlane at 40mph…
The start was very good, everyone drove well on the ‘amended’ track and there was no incident at first. Kimi had a good start and almost looked like he could squeeze past Kubica but knew better and settled to stay behind. From then, the field just spread out.
Massa gave Ferrari their only sight to cheer about when he successfully got past two cars infront when Kovalainen made an attempt to pass at the hairpin. Massa continued to push and did good managing to pass the Toyota for an extra point. Fifth place isn’t much to cheer about though and Ferrari will be seriously gutted after showing some promising pace with Kimi earlier on. The Iceman looked set to challenge for the win as he set the fastest lap and caught up right behind Kubica until the pit lane incident. Seeing as they were both alongside, I think we missed out on a fantastic scrap between the two for the win. Such a shame. But I’m delighted it was Kubica’s big day if not Kimi’s.
Apart from BMW, Toyota were the other big winners today, with Glock and Trulli scoring 8 world championship points for the team. I was expecting both to spin out sooner or later having spent much of free practise spinning around, but they drove well towards the end with a charging Massa hungry to compensate for Kimi’s and the team’s loss. Honda scored two nice points today with Barrichello but I’m still confused as to whether they’ll improve any further this year.
Red Bull and Coulthard were a delight to see on the podium again, but I’m sure Mark Webber felt he should have been up higher as well. And Vettel did a great job to hold off Kovalainen at the end after missing the final chicane.
McLaren suffered the greatest today, even their back up with Kovalainen couldn’t salvage any points. This means BMW are looking ever more stronger in the constructors championship, being a mere 3 points behind Ferrari and way ahead of McLaren. Hamilton should have strengthened his grasp on the title lead after Monaco but destiny was in Kubica’s hands and a thrilling championship battle is restored with a new contender.
Kimi set the fastest lap while he was flying and no one else could beat it. Again, and frustratingly, we never got to see his potential and his race strategy unfold. Blame Lewis all you like guys, but this is probably how fans of Sutil felt when Kimi hit him so never forget. I’m sure Lewis didn’t do it intentionally! So don’t be mad either. Kimi’s body language and mannerism afterwards was calm and not intimidating, we should be the same. He probably told Lewis "Didn’t you see the red lights? I was waiting". Hands up how many of us wanted to see Kimi head butt Hamilton? *Raises hand* Aye! But what good would that bring. Kimi knows all too well what setbacks are like when going strong. It happens and Lewis also apologised to Kimi. Kimi’s annoyed with Lewis’s mistake as you can read below but he’s going to get back to winning in France. Meanwhile, be happy for Kubica who’s won his first race! Always a joy to see.
Now we head to Magny Cours in France, where Kimi took his revival victory last year after a dark phase, and he’ll do it again this year hopefully. Kubica is 4 points ahead of Lewis, and 7 of Kimi. That means if he constantly scores podium despite Kimi or Lewis winning, then he may very well be champion – wow. It’ll be hard to do but we were proved in Monaco and Canada, anything can happen so never lose hope. Keep flying Kimi! ~
| Race Quotes – Kimi ‘Unhappy’ with Lewis’ Mistake
"There’s not much I can say. My race was ruined by Hamilton’s mistake. Obviously, anyone can make mistakes, as I did two weeks ago in Monaco, but it’s one thing to make a mistake at two hundred per hour but another to hit a car stopped at a red light. I am not angry because that doesn’t achieve anything and does not change my result.
"I am unhappy, because I had a great chance of winning. Once the graining had gone from the tyres, the car was going very well. I have failed to score in these last two races and now it’s time to start winning again. There is still a long way to go in the championship and it is still very close and we have everything we need to regain the ground we have lost."
"It wasn’t a great stop. I saw the two guys in front battling in the pitlane and all of a sudden they stopped. I saw the red light but by the time I stopped it was too late," said Hamilton.
"It is a lot different if you crash into the wall and are angry, it is not like that. I apologise to Kimi if I cost him the race, but these sort of things happen. I would rather neither of us were out, we were so quick, I was in front. Next time."
Felipe Massa – 5th: "It’s hard to express my feelings after a race like this. On the one hand, I am disappointed because, without my refueling problem, I could have been fighting for a place on the podium. On the other hand, I am happy to have brought home four points at the end of a very difficult race run on a track surface that was in really poor condition.
"Once I found myself at the back, I tried to climb back up again, but in the end, when I was behind Glock, I could not get past him and also I didn’t want to run the risk of ending up off the track after all the trouble I’d been to to get that far. I would like to congratulate Kubica and BMW: they worked really well and deserved this success. They are very strong, but I think we are working in the right direction, as could be seen from our performance level every day here."
Stefano Domenicali: "There is much for us to regret about the outcome of this race. We saw one of our drivers retire because he was hit when stopped at the exit of the pit lane in front of the red light. It was a serious mistake from Hamilton and I think the penalty imposed by the FIA is in line with it, even if it does not restore what was a lost opportunity for us.
"In fact, Kimi was in an excellent position to fight for the win, partly thanks to a car which showed it was running at a great pace. Felipe drove an exceptional race. Unfortunately, we had a problem with the refueling rig when he made a pit stop during the safety car period – a joint in the fuel line broke and no fuel went in – and we had to call him in next time round for a further stop that dropped him to the back of the field….
Luca Baldisserri: "I don’t want to comment on the collision that involved Kimi: I would just say that, through no fault of our own, we lost a great chance of winning. I would prefer to pay a great compliment to Felipe, who drove a fantastic race after the problem we had at his first refueling stop.
"Dropped to the back of the pack, he managed to climb his way up the order to finish fifth, pulling off some very nice passing moves and showing what he is made of and what the F2008 can do. Kimi also, after an early waiting phase brought on by a bit of graining on his tyres, had begun to lap at a great pace, which saw him set the fastest race lap…
| Race Videos – Start Lap, Lewis Crashes into Kimi in Pitlane, Massa Overtakes Two Cars in Hairpin, Last Lap & Win, Interview with Kimi (Italian)
| Saturday Qualifying – Hamilton Snatches Pole from Kubica & Raikko!
Lewis Hamilton ended Ferrari’s run of pole positions by dominating qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix.
The McLaren driver – who claimed his first pole and win at the Montreal track a year ago – topped Q1 and Q2, and held a comfortable provisional pole after the first Q3 runs.
He was then briefly deposed by Robert Kubica, but improved further with his second lap to beat the BMW to pole by a commanding 0.6 seconds.
Kubica held on to the outside front row spot – a remarkable result after his horrifying crash at the track twelve months ago.
Ferrari could only manage third and sixth places. Kimi Raikkonen was nearly a second slower than Hamilton in third place, while Felipe Massa – who had taken pole for the last two GPs – was pushed back to the third row by Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg.
The Renault driver was rapid throughout qualifying, recovering from an early trip off the road in Q1 to easily reach the top ten and claim his second-best starting position of the year, ahead of the similarly-impressive Rosberg….(read the full report here)
Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:16.909 1:17.034 1:17.886 19
2. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:17.471 1:17.679 1:18.498 14
3. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:17.301 1:17.364 1:18.735 23
4. Alonso Renault 1:17.415 1:17.488 1:18.746 22
5. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:17.991 1:17.891 1:18.844 26
6. Massa Ferrari 1:17.231 1:17.353 1:19.048 23
7. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:17.287 1:17.684 1:19.089 25
8. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:18.082 1:17.781 1:19.633 21
9. Barrichello Honda 1:18.256 1:18.020 1:20.848 25
10. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:17.582 1:17.523 15
11. Glock Toyota 1:18.321 1:18.031 19
12. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:17.638 1:18.062 19
13. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:18.168 1:18.238 19
14. Trulli Toyota 1:18.039 1:18.327 16
15. Piquet Renault 1:18.505 1:18.393 18
16. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:18.916 10
17. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:19.108 12
18. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:19.165 12
19. Button Honda 1:23.565 3
20. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari
Kimi just missed out on the front row, grrrr! He’s 3rd placed on the grid for tomorrow and I feel confident for him – he’s on the clean side and he has won races from starting 3rd before. I think he is definately heavier than Kubica and Hamilton together, but the McLaren looks very fast especially in the final sector. Kimi had 3 attempts to better his time throughout qualifying today, but never seemed quick enough in the last sector. Nonetheless, he did a good job and I’m sure he’ll be not too upset with 3rd (update – apparently not so, Kimi is very annoyed about the track condition in Montreal and can’t believe how much time he lost due to it, read his comments further below and the rest of Ferrari’s unhappiness!)
Alonso and Webber both did amazing laps in the second session, and what a shame that Webber spun out at the end! He might have qualified well up the grid for tomorrow for Red Bull, probably alongside Alonso in the Renault. Rosberg though continued to put down a great effort, but look at where Massa and Kovalainen are compared to their teammates! I doubt it’s due to the track breaking up and losing grip, as they both seemed to be quite off the pace of their teammates. That said, Heikki has always been heavily fuelled and it’s no suprise that McLaren insist on using him as a back up to Hamilton. For Kimi rather, I expect he’s not so much heavier than Massa, maybe not even heavier at all, but he’s definately got the better race strategy hopefully and it shows in his confidence. Looking forward to another exciting weekend of racing – Keep Flying Kimi! ~
| Saturday Quotes – Kimi very Critical of Track Condition
Kimi Raikkonen says the Canadian Grand Prix could become a nightmare if the track surface keeps breaking up like during qualifying.
Drivers complained about the lack of grip at Turn 10, where the surface began to break up, leaving debris which made the cars lost grip.
Although the marshals tried to sweep the debris off the racing line before the final qualifying segment, Raikkonen said the issue cost him a chance of fighting for pole.
The Ferrari driver finished in third place, nearly a second behind pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton, and the Finn slammed the track as a "joke".
"The car has been good all weekend but this morning was even very good and going into qualifying is quite a joke with the circuit," said Raikkonen. "The circuit breaks down and it is like you missed the corner because there is so much sand.
"I lost so much time in Turn 10 I couldn’t turn around and went straight on. We had the car to fight for qualifying (pole).
"We will see how it is in the race but it will be a nightmare. We have a lot of laps and it broke up after two laps so it will be interesting."
He added: "I have a very good car all weekend, then suddenly because the weather heat up a little bit and the circuit didn’t last very long. The problem is black patches, they redo it every year and every year they break down."
Kimi Raikkonen – 3rd: "It’s unbelievable how much time I lost at turn 10, lap after lap. The track was already beginning to break up in Q1 and I had no drive: it was like driving on ice and I never managed to find the right line at this point. It’s a real shame because the car was going very well and I could have fought for pole position.
"I can’t understand how things like this can happen: maybe it’s down to the higher temperatures, or a repair job at this point not done properly but one thing’s certain, in the race tomorrow, it will be very difficult to get through here.
"But the situation is not that bad. We are quick, as could be seen all weekend long up to qualifying and starting on the clean side of the track is definitely a good thing. Let’s wait and see what happens tomorrow."
Felipe Massa – 6th: "This is definitely not the result we were expecting and it’s a real shame, as we had everything in place to do well. The car was very quick, both yesterday and this morning and, but for the problem which occurred at turn 10, I could definitely have fought for a place at the front.
"As for the rest, you just have to look at the times: the first and second sectors were very good, while I was losing all the time in the final one. Clearly, if these track conditions at that corner continue in the race, there will be a further element of uncertainty in a race which already traditionally, can be influenced by chance events.
"While in normal circumstances I’d have said that starting from sixth meant I had abandoned any chance of fighting for a top place finish, today, I don’t think I can say that, especially as we have been so strong all weekend."
Luca Baldisserri: "We had to tackle the three parts of qualifying differently to usual, because we realized right from yesterday that it would be very difficult for us to get the tyres up to the right temperature for the first timed lap. Then we had the problem at turn 10, where the asphalt began to degrade in Q1.
"Neither of our drivers ever managed to get through this point cleanly, losing precious tenths on the final lap times: both Kimi and Felipe were on a par with the best up to the end of the second sector and then found themselves left behind at the finish line. We are very unhappy as we thought that we had a package that could deal with the situation.
"Now we have to concentrate on the race which will be very tough. In Montreal, chance, in the shape of the safety car, often puts in an appearance, which makes the outcome of the seventy laps even more unpredictable."