This Time Last Year: The 2010 Canadian Grand Prix

Posted: June 9, 2011 by thevillainf1 in This Time Last Year.....revisiting the 2010 season

Canada 2010 can be seen as somewhat of a milestone race for Formula One. It was the mayhem and spectacle caused by the fast degrading tires which prompted F1 to ask its new tire supplier for 2011 to make tires that will produce similar results on all race tracks in a search for multiple stop races and hard to predict tire life. On top of that, it was the first time a car other than a Red Bull scored pole in the 2010 season with Lewis Hamilton’s stunning quali lap. He ran out of fuel on his inlap which produced one of those iconic F1 images with an ecstatic Hamilton pushing his car back to the pits. Everybody knew tires would play a key part in this race, and this was already reflected in the team’s qualifying strategy. Both the Bulls qualified on the prime compound while the Mclarens qualified on the options. Webber set the second fastest time but was demoted 5 places for a gearbox change – the Red Bull still struggling with reliability at that stage of the championship. This moved Vettel up to the front row.

The start was pretty chaotic, while the front four came through unscathed, Massa ruined Liuzzi’s best quali performance in his career (5th) by repeatedly slamming into him in the first corners – though Liuzzi was not completely innocent in this incident either. It meant both fell to the back of the pack, effectively ending any chance they had to score points. Petrov had a pretty horrible weekend too. He got 2 drive throughs, one for jumping the start and another for causing a collision. During the start he also went on the grass and spun out, miraculously avoiding most of the traffic except for an unlucky De La Rosa in the Sauber. Hamilton initially built a small gap back to Vettel, but his soft tires soon went off and he had Vettel right on his tail as he was forced to pit very early on on lap 7, as did Alonso. Yet again the Mclaren pitstop was slow (as in Turkey where Vettel passed Hamilton for p2 through a better pitstop) and Alonso passed Hamilton, leading to a tense moment with them side by side in the pitlane. Hamilton however quickly seized back the place taking advantage of Alonso trying to overtake Buemi to slip by (this was a battle for position, Buemi had not pitted yet and even briefly led the race). Button was also struggling on the options and pitted after Webber got passed him. On the prime compound the Mclaren’s and Alonso found some clean air and started immediately clawing back the Red Bulls running a longer stint on the primes. This prompted them to bring in Vettel and Webber, but Red Bull split the strategies. Vettel went on the options to get them out of the way, while Webber took on a fresh set of primes.

As the race developed it became clear that Webber yet again had drawn the short straw at Red Bull. The pair came out behind the three front runners and Alonso was starting to pressure Hamilton, who dove into the pits just as Alonso got alongside him. If it were not for traffic, Alonso would have probably gotten in front of Hamilton when he made his pitstop two laps later, but as it was he rejoined behind Hamilton. Vettel pitted on the same lap as Hamilton for primes but Webber continued, taking the lead. Initially, Webber was leading the chasing trio of Hamilton, Alonso and Button quite comfortably, eking out a 12 second gap. However as his tires started to degrade, they started catching him by about 1 second per lap, and Webber was caught between a rock and a hard place. He still had to make his mandatory stop to fit the options, yet he was not yet in the window for making these last ’till the end of the grand prix with about 30 laps to go, the maximum the softs were expected to do was 20 laps. The trio quickly caught Webber and Hamilton again took advantage of traffic ahead to pass Webber. Alonso was stuck behind Webber for the rest of the lap but was freed as Webber finally pitted for his softs, dropping him back down to fifth behind his teammate. It was interesting to see if Webber would catch Vettel on the faster options so we could see how they’d handle wheel to wheel racing just 2 weeks after the infamous Turkey incident, yet ultimately Webber fell a few seconds short at the end of the race.

However the top three would see one more change of position, with an opportunistic Button pouncing on an opportunity that arose when Alonso was lapping Chandhok in the HRT. Briefly it looked like Button could make a charge at Hamilton for the win, but Hamilton put in a few fastest laps to make the message clear to his teammate. The first Mclaren 1-2 of the year was a fact and with both drivers also topping the championship standings Mclaren’s title chances were looking very good at this point.

All the while in the background Schumacher was up to some questionable shenanigans again. Refusing to yield to a charging Kubica as they were side by side with Kubica on the inside when Schumi left the pits, he gave no quarter and both were forced to cut the chicane across the grass, luckily both escaping without damage. Later on he almost nudged Massa into the Wall as he went on the outside in the run up to the final chicane, and a nasty nudge from Schumacher broke Massa’s front wing, forcing him into another pitstop which saw him finish 15th. Despite this fighting, Schumacher looked set for 9th place but was passed on the final lap by both Force Indias to finish 11th on badly worn option tires. Hulkenberg also had a race riddled with rookie mistakes, running into the back of a Toro Rosso at the hairpin which broke his front wing and  later on banging wheels with Sutil in a not so clean fight.

Will 2011 see another Mclaren breaking the Red Bull dominance? There’s a good chance, Mclaren has been on par with the Bulls on race pace on tracks that arguably suit the Red Bull better, and on the first track of the season where it is thought the Mclaren have the upper hand due to their good traction out of slow corners, higher top speed than the Red Bulls, and little high energy corners, we could very well see Vettel’s dominance finally broken. Even in qualifying the Mclaren’s have their best chance to date to beat Vettel, as there are no high downforce corners where the Red Bull had the huge advantage of being able to open the DRS way earlier than the competition.

I think we’re in for another corker in Canada this year, bring on the race!

To close off I figured I’d spice these blasts from the past up with my predictions for this year to give you all a chance to chuckle when I get it badly wrong 😉 Please do share your predictions in the comments below

3 pitstops the ideal strategy

Pole: Button

Win: Button, 2: Hamilton, 3: Webber

Vettel into the wall of champions to confirm his status lol

  1. Chris Sims says:

    Steve, great writeup, as usual.

    My predictions:

    Quali: 1. Vettel 2. Hamilton 3. Alonso
    Race: 1. Hamilton 2. Vettel 3. Button

    This is admittedly more wishful thinking than a straight prediction. RBR is just too fast at the moment, and I think the smart bet is to keep picking Vettel until somebody knocks him off of his perch.

    Here’s to a great Canadian GP!

  2. Matt Ruda says:

    Quali: 1.) Vettel 2.) Hamilton 3.) Webber

    During quali, the Bulls will be using their top diffuser settings to blow their way to the top, but I still think Webbo needs to find his groove back. Hamilton will be out for redemption after Monaco imploded on him, and sheer determination and Mercedes power will have him splitting the Red Bulls.


    This really depends on the weather. Heavy rain is expected, and the only real race-trim experience the drivers have had in the wet was P1 at Turkey. Vettel had pace until he decided the wall needed a hug, and all in all the Pirelli tires seemed to lack the grip. Again, this can all change once the teams are plugged in, but who knows.

    If dry: 1.) Hamilton 2.) Button 3.) Vettel

    My McLaren love aside, I think the Mercedes power will play a key role in Canada. I don’t think they will run away with it though. I’m going to guess (baring an incident) the top three will be less then four seconds apart.

    If wet: 1.) Hamilton 2.) Button 3.) Alonso

    I moved Alonso up for two reasons. First off, he’s out to prove that cruddy car be damned he’s a quick driver. His experience trumps Vettel’s, and in the rain experience is more important then a special exhaust setting. It’s all about getting the power down without bringing car weight down if you know what I mean. Secondly, I think Alonso’s driving style suits rain driving much better then Seb’s.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Nice Post, Great Read.

    I think Red Bull’s dominance will still continue, but I think Mark Webber will be the better of the two this weekend, I think a determined Hamilton will be right up there, with Jenson not far behind who has been matching Hamilton this season and wasn’t too far off last season at all, and I think Kobayashi may be a good bet for third place on the podium.

    I think the Mercedes will be strongly in the points as the car seems to have stronger straight line speed this year, which will play it’s part this weekend, especially for defending and attacking in the DRS zone, and in recent races I think Schumacher has been faster than Rosberg for race pace, and if he can combine a decent qualifying (like in Monaco), and the good starts (like in most other races except Monaco), he will be right up there, but I’ve yet to see Schumacher combine the two, every time he does well in qualifying he cant keep his car in one piece, but when he qualifies further back he can! I would love to see Schumi up there.

    Prediction for top 3:

    1) Webber
    2) Hamilton
    3) Alonso

    (shock no Vettel!)

    Lots of crashes possible because of the rain and the tracks history… should make for an entertaining race!

    • thevillainf1 says:

      you have a good point about the Mercs, Button has also said he expects strong performance from them. While they do have the best DRS system and great top speed, if they don’t manage their tires better they will drop backwards again during the race in a track where rear tire wear is high and lots of corners where good traction on exit is needed. I suspect they will do their best quali of the year but will fail on the race again. In Spain Schumi was clearly slower than Rosberg who hounded him all the way but couldn’t get passed in part due to the track and a DRS failure on his car. Monaco was the only race where Schumi looked more competitive than Rosberg in the race but sadly had a mechanical failure, and that’s after Rosberg had a big shunt of course so I’m not yet convinced the old fox is challenging Nico just yet.
      I just hope Vettel visits the wall of champions so the WDC gets revived a bit lol.

  4. Anonymous says:

    True. But in Spain, Schumacher was slightly quicker than him in S1 and S2, but Rosberg would close the gap again using DRS as Schumi couldn’t get the gap over 2 seconds, although Rosberg was probably quicker none the less, and I think he is one of the most underated drivers in F1, he deserves more credit, His skill is largely the reason for the gap over Schumi.

    LOL! Just as i read that Vettel crashed into the wall of champions!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hopefully will slip up in race aswell to make the WDC more exciting!

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