Canada race analysis - BMW Sauber fulfil their promise - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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Canada race analysis - BMW Sauber fulfil their promise

Canada race analysis - BMW Sauber fulfil their promise

BMW Sauber’s 2008 target was to score their first Grand Prix win and on Sunday in Montreal they achieved it in style, Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld recording an emphatic one-two victory for the German-Swiss team. The result, which also saw Red Bull back on the podium, came at the end of an afternoon packed with incidents, most notably Lewis Hamilton’s pit-lane blunder, which put both his McLaren and Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari out of the race…

BMW Sauber
Robert Kubica, 1m 17.539s, P1
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 17.430s, P2
Kubica kept Raikkonen at bay going into Turn One at the start, but could not keep up initially with Hamilton as his tyre pressures were not right and lost him grip. His second set of tyres was much better and he was able to drive ‘several qualifying laps’ once he had fought clear of all the single-stoppers who held him up after the safety car intervention. With a faster two-stop strategy it was clear he had to pass Heidfeld, and the German admitted that he didn’t make it hard for the Pole to do that. Heidfeld was very quick on the soft tyres in the opening stages, and set the race’s second fastest lap. BMW Sauber’s superb one-two netted them 18 points and thrust them back ahead of McLaren in the constructors’ championship, only three points adrift of leaders Ferrari. Theirs was a massively popular victory.

Red Bull
David Coulthard, 1m 18.085s, P3
Mark Webber, 1m 18.201s, P10
Coulthard’s single-stop strategy worked superbly for Red Bull, and after Heidfeld and Barrichello finally stopped for fuel he led for a lap and came out still in contention for the final podium finish. He got it once Alonso had spun. Webber looked strong early on with a two-stop strategy, but lost too much time as the single stoppers ran so long and fell back to a disappointed 12th place finish.

Timo Glock, 1m 19.087s, P4
Jarno Trulli, 1m 18.870s, P6
Toyota’s similar strategy yielded a nice haul of eight points, with Glock breaking his duck in fourth and Trulli sixth. There was a point where the Italian was fending off Felipe Massa, only to get baulked by his team mate as the German made a mistake exiting the first corner. As Trulli had to get out of the throttle, the Brazilian pounced to split the Japanese cars in the finishing order.

Felipe Massa, 1m 18.006s, P5
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 17.387s, retired lap 19, rear-ended by Hamilton
Ferrari looked strong initially, with Raikkonen setting the fastest lap on soft tyres as he hounded Kubica early on. Then came the incident when Hamilton ran into the back of him while he was stationary at the red light at the exit to the pits. The impact removed his rear wing, and that was that. Compounding Ferrari’s frustration, Massa’s refuelling rig suffered a broken joint in the fuel line that same lap, necessitating a further stop next time around which threw him to the back of the field. His climb back to fifth was one of the race’s highlights, in particular his double pass on Barrichello and Kovalainen at the hairpin.

Rubens Barrichello, 1m 18.301s, P7
Jenson Button, 1m 19.352s, P11
Barrichello should really have taken fourth place after a solid single-stop run saw him lead for a while, but he slid off the road momentarily on the 59th lap as his second set of tyres lacked the grip of the first. Seventh nevertheless yielded two further points from a race in which he felt unwell. Button started from the pit lane after making unscheduled changes to the suspension set-up of his Honda, and endured a tough and ultimately disappointing run to 11th place.

Toro Rosso
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 18.532s, P8
Sebastien Bourdais, 1m 18.620s, P13
An eighth-place finish from a pit lane start was a testimony to the quality of Sebastian Vettel’s drive in Montreal, and to his single-stop strategy. The latter helped him to make places during everyone else’s first stops, but nearly backfired when he finally made his on the 37th lap due to a refuelling rig problem. Bourdais was the final finisher in 13th, after surviving a spin in the hairpin on lap 36. It was, he admitted, ‘a bad weekend all round’.

Lewis Hamilton, 1m 17.506s, retired lap 19, accident
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 18.462, P9
Hamilton appeared to own Montreal and was romping away until the safety car intervention. Then he made his mistake in the pit lane on lap 19, and that was it. Over and, embarrassingly, out. One of the people Vettel kept behind was Kovalainen, who had to endure yet another race for McLaren that just didn’t unfold for him. His first set of tyres suffered graining, and changing them didn’t help so he was never able to push as hard as he needed to.

Nico Rosberg, 1m 17.977s, retired lap 19, accident
Kazuki Nakajima, 1m 18.784s, retired lap 49, hit Button, hit pit wall
Rosberg looked set to make up for Monaco, but then compounded his errors there with another when he hit Hamilton in the pit road. Thereafter he showed what the Williams could have done by setting fifth-fastest lap. Nakajima ran well but hit the back of Button’s car while challenging the Englishman for seventh place on lap 47. The wing fell off as he reached the pit lane, and as it folded under his front wheels he tobogganed into the pit wall, doing even more damage. Williams dropped two places in the constructors’ championship after a tough afternoon.

Fernando Alonso, 1m 18.225s, retired lap 45, accident
Nelson Piquet, 1m 19.239s, retired lap 39, brakes
Alonso was the greatest threat to BMW Sauber’s one-two and sneaked ahead of Heidfeld briefly at the hairpin on lap 44 before sliding wide and losing the position. A lap later he made a mistake exiting Turn Two and spun, hitting the outer wall. On a bad day for the 2006 winners, Nelson Piquet’s more promising initial charge ended when he spun out the back of the circuit and then retired with a brake problem.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, 1m 20.666s, retired lap 14, lost gears
Giancarlo Fisichella, 1m 19.066s, retired lap 52, accident
Sutil was hanging on to the Toyotas early on, but stopped and triggered the fateful safety car intervention when he lost second and third gears. Fisichella’s race was compromised when his engine stalled during his pit stop, and ended after 51 laps after he had clobbered a wall.
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