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Canada 2011 - Race highlights - Full coverage of the Formula One action in Montreal

Published by Christine

The cars kicked up some great spray as they navigated the first few laps
The cars kicked up some great spray as they navigated the first few lapsCredit: Force India F1

The Canadian Grand Prix started behind the Safety Car, and although the rain seemed to be getting better for a moment, it suddenly began to pour down, and that brought out the red flags.

Unfortunately, the Factbyte Factbox coverage could only run until 8pm GMT+1, and that means there's only half a race here. The less exciting half too. If you don't find what you're looking for, I can highly recommend perusing the live thread for some great comments.

For now, though, here's the first three hours of what was a lengthy Canadian Grand Prix Sunday.

As it happened: 2011 Canada - The Race

  • 16:59

    Hello and welcome to the Factbyte Factbox for the Canadian Grand Prix. Are you ready?

  • 17:01

    It's raining in Montreal at the moment, and has been on and off all day. This could be a particularly mixed up race - even more than we'd normally see in Canada.

  • 17:02

    TweetTweet from @MauriceHamilton: One hour before start and rain has increased. Heading towards a Safety Car start? Maybe..

  • 17:03

    It doesn't look like it's that heavy at the moment, but there is still plenty of time for the weather to change.

  • 17:04

    As ever, Sebastian Vettel is on pole position, having posted a pretty dominant lap time yesterday. Teammate Mark Webber was fourth, setting that time with no KERS available to him.

  • 17:05

    There's a 60 second roundup of qualifying available via F1Minute:

  • 17:06

    If you've missed out on any of the news yesterday, it's worth mentioning that Sergio Pérez won't be driving today. He withdrew from the weekend after FP1, telling the team he wasn't feeling 100%.

  • 17:07

    He'd been cleared to race by all the medical checks following his accident in Monaco, but Pérez made the brave decision to pull out. McLaren's reserve driver Pedro de la Rosa has stepped up to fill in.

  • 17:07

    If you're watching the action this afternoon, why not join in the fabulous Sidepodcast comments?

  • 17:08

    You can also visit the thread directly, where there's a poll waiting for your vote. When will we first see the safety car today?

  • 17:10
    Qualifying Position
    1Sebastian VettelRed Bull
    2Fernando AlonsoFerrari
    Felipe MassaFerrari
    4Mark WebberRed Bull
    5Lewis HamiltonMcLaren
    6Nico RosbergMercedes
    7Jenson ButtonMcLaren
    8Michael SchumacherMercedes
    9Nick HeidfeldRenault
    10Vitaly PetrovRenault
  • 17:11

    The Ferrari drivers seemed to show improved pace yesterday, whilst there was a big question mark over what kind of setup McLaren were using.

  • 17:11

    Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh said they'd gone for a wet setup, given the 60% chance of rain, but post-qualifying Button said no, when questioned about it.

  • 17:13
    Circuit Data
    Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
    Local timezone-0400 GMT
    First race1982
    Number of laps70
    Circuit length4.361km
    Race distance305.270km
    Start offset0.000km
  • 17:14

    TweetTweet from @JennieGow: Remember no DRS in the wet so it could add to the fun here in Montreal #F1

  • 17:15

    Some other links you might find useful, the official live timing: Although it did break yesterday, so your mileage may vary.

  • 17:16

    The BBC have a live stream and text updates: Autosport will also have text updates:

  • 17:17

    TweetTweet from @CroftyF1: In the comm box, just beat a fresh shower. Want to clarify guys Mclaren not running a wet set up just a set up that's better in the wet

  • 17:18

    Toro Rosso are starting Alguersuari from the pitlane, hoping to change him to a wet setup.

  • 17:19

    Alguersuari qualified 18th, so he won't be losing too many places, and may have more to gain if he gets the setup right.

  • 17:19

    Jérôme D'Ambrosio qualified outside of the 107% regulations but will be allowed to start the race.

  • 17:20

    The FIA gave him special dispensation as he had been driving a new chassis due to a crash in Free Practice.

  • 17:20

    A Ferrari mechanic appears to be hoovering the pit box, although it's probably some kind of dryer. He's in for a long afternoon's work.

  • 17:23
    Historical Session Times
    Year: 2010
    Free Practice 1J Button1:18.127
    Free Practice 2S Vettel1:16.877
    Free Practice 3L Hamilton1:16.058
    QualifyingL Hamilton1:15.105
    The RaceL Hamilton1:33:53.456
  • 17:24

    The fastest lap of the race last year was Robert Kubica in the Renault with a 1:16.972. That became the lap record as well.

  • 17:25
    2011 Race Wins
    1Sebastian Vettel5
    2Lewis Hamilton1
  • 17:26

    Ron Meadows from Mercedes gives a weather update: The race could start without any rain falling, but the track is wet enough for a safety car start.

  • 17:28

    TweetTweet from @MikeGascoyne: Very wet here but rain will stop in 5 mins and then quite a period dry, but humidity is very high so will not dry quickly

  • 17:28

    With thirty minutes until the start of the race, the weather is the only topic on anyone's mind.

  • 17:32

    The BBC are showing a great little track walk segment, with David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher. The German seems in a great mood, even sharing a joke with Sebastian Vettel.

  • 17:34

    The pitlane has opened, engines are firing up, and cars are making their way to the grid.

  • 17:36

    Lewis Hamilton is on his outlap now, he's kicking up quite the spray around the back of the circuit. He disappears into the mist.

  • 17:36

    A lot of the cars are doing an installation lap and then returning to the pitlane to tweak their setups. Practice starts are also the order of the day.

  • 17:38

    TweetTweet from @clubforce: It's looking mighty wet out there. Most guys heading to the grid on full wets.

  • 17:40

    Vettel is putting on some rubber shoe covers to get out of the car, save his fireproof boots getting wet as he leaves the car on the grid.

  • 17:44

    Turn 10, otherwise known as the tight hairpin at the opposite end of the circuit to the start.

    Braking Analysis
    Turn 10
    (forecast data from Brembo)
    Initial speed300km/h
    Final speed55km/h
    Stopping distance124m
    Braking time3.18s
    Maximum deceleration5.14g
    Maximum pedal load136kg
  • 17:44

    Mark Webber on the grid says that he might have preferred to do two laps to get to the grid but the team strategy is to only do one.

  • 17:46

    Ross Brawn on the grid: "No chance of intermediates at the moment. But of course there's no more rain so that could change pretty quickly. The only information we have is a bit of wet running in winter testing."

  • 17:47

    Alonso gets to the gridFrom @easonF1, Fernando Alonso makes his way to second on the grid.

  • 17:49

    Jenson Button heading to the grid: "Track was very slippery. There's a lot of standing water out there. If it was going to be like that for the start, I think you'd be very wary. It's stopped raining, it's getting warmer, we've just got to decide what we're going to run. I think we'll make the right call."

  • 17:50

    Sébastien Buemi on the grid: "It's a difficult call to be honest. We went out on extreme, it seems to be quite slippery. At the moment we're still looking at how the weather will change in the next few minutes. I don't have a full wet setup but obviously they're trying something with him [Alguersuari]. We'll see how it goes."

  • 17:51

    Colin Farrell and Eric BoullierColin Farrell is a guest of Renault's this weekend.

  • 17:52

    Christian Horner on the grid: "When you're starting from pole, you don't want to take that many risks. I haven't spoken to the drivers yet but it's difficult to say at the moment. When you look at the install laps, it looks like full wets but it changes so quickly."

  • 17:52

    BBC's Jake Humphrey just said they'd heard it would be a safety car start.

  • 17:53

    I've closed the poll and 82% believe there will be a safety car somewhere between 0 and 25 laps. A Safety Car start probably falls in this category.

  • 17:53

    No one thinks we'll get more than fifty laps into the race before seeing that Safety Car do it's stuff.

  • 17:54

    TweetTweet from @MyTeamLotus: The race will start behind the safety car, so the full wet tyre is mandatory for everybody

  • 17:56



    Wind speed4.5mps
  • 17:56

    Live timing has reset, we've got just a few minutes to go now.

  • 17:56

    Race Control: Race will start behind the Safety Car.

  • 17:56

    That's bad news, but hopefully it won't be for too long.

  • 17:57

    We have seen a lot of incidents throughout the weekend already, and that was before the track was wet.

  • 17:59

    TweetTweet from @joesaward: Rain expected in half an hour. Race will start behind Safety Car. Very dull way to do things. Track dries quickly in Montreal and warm.

  • 18:00

    The mechanics are clearing the grid, Alguersuari has made his way to the end of the pitlane.

  • 18:00

    Green flagRace started.

  • 18:00

    Behind the safety car there's no formation lap, so the race has begun. Always an anti-climax.

  • 18:01

    RadioTeam radio to Schumacher: "We are going to start on extreme wets behind the safety car, but we're not expecting rain until 15 minutes into the race."

  • 18:01

    Race Control: DRS disabled.

  • 18:02 Lap 2

    One lap down and the Safety Car is still going. It doesn't look too bad out there, but that's easy for me to say sitting under my roof.

  • 18:04 Lap 2

    QuoteComment from Steven Roy: So Toro Rosso gained a huge advantage by being useless yesterday and guessing there would be a safety car start.

  • 18:04 Lap 2

    RadioTeam radio to Massa: "At 15-20 minutes, rain should be coming, reasonably heavy."

  • 18:05 Lap 3

    Ted News: It looks pretty clear and bright down here in the pits. The weather is coming in from downtown Montreal. I can't see anything at the moment, but 15 minutes is a long time.

  • 18:05 Lap 3

    RadioTeam radio from Hamilton: "This is okay. It's wet, but normal visibility is okay."

  • 18:07 Lap 4

    Race Control: Safety Car in this lap.

  • 18:07 Lap 4

    Alonso on boardOn board with Fernando Alonso.

  • 18:08 Lap 4

    Vettel starts to back up the snake of cars as they round the hairpin towards the line.

  • 18:08 Lap 5

    Green flagTrack is clear.

  • 18:09 Lap 5

    Alonso was right up behind him across the line, and the pair are side by side. Vettel ahead.

  • 18:09 Lap 5

    Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber collided, with the Red Bull spinning. Both continued onwards, but lost places.

  • 18:09 Lap 5

    Onboard with Hamilton we see Button running wide, losing places to his teammate and Michael Schumacher.

  • 18:10 Lap 5

    Order for now, Vettel, Alonso, Massa, Rosberg, Schumacher, Hamilton and Button.

  • 18:10 Lap 6

    Lewis Hamilton is close up behind Schumacher, desperate to get past. Rosberg is managing to gain a bit of a gap on his teammate.

  • 18:11 Lap 6

    The two Ferraris are also close together, with Massa catching Alonso. Vettel has disappeared into the distance.

  • 18:12 Lap 6

    Lewis Hamilton tried to go round Schumacher at the hairpin, but the Mercedes squeezed the McLaren onto the grass. Lewis ran terribly wide.

  • 18:13 Lap 7

    Hamilton only lost the one place to Button. Thanks to the first corner incident with Hamilton, Webber is down in 12th place, behind Petrov.

  • 18:13 Lap 8

    Race Control: Incident involving Hamilton and Webber under investigations by the stewards.

  • 18:14 Lap 8

    CrashLewis Hamilton and Jenson Button came together. Hamilton's car is completely wrecked, but he's making his way back to the pits slowly.

  • 18:14 Lap 8

    RadioTeam radio from Button: "What is he doing??"

  • 18:14 Lap 8

    SC BoardSafety car deployed.

  • 18:14 Lap 8

    Hamilton has pulled to a stop on track.

  • 18:15 Lap 9

    Lewis Hamilton was chasing down Button for 6th. Button pushed him towards the wall and Lewis' left rear wheel clipped the pitwall.

  • 18:15 Lap 9

    Hamilton climbs from his car. Button has pitted for checks and intermediate tyres.

  • 18:17 Lap 9

    Race Control: No further action on the Webber versus Hamilton clash.

  • 18:17 Lap 10

    RadioTeam radio from Button: "Is there any damage to the car?"

    "All looks okay to us Jenson."

  • 18:18 Lap 10

    Race Control: Incident involving Hamilton and Button under investigation by the stewards.

  • 18:19 Lap 10

    Hamilton remains by his car as it is lifted away by the tractors. His helmet is off, so he may not be in such a grump as he was at the last race.

  • 18:19 Lap 11

    Broken HamiltonHamilton's broken McLaren.

  • 18:20 Lap 11

    The rain is starting to fall now, and big black clouds are looming.

  • 18:21 Lap 11

    And, of course, if the rain is incoming, Button is on the wrong tyres. He chose intermediates when he stopped after the crash with Lewis.

  • 18:21 Lap 12

    RadioTeam radio to Webber: "I'm sure you've noticed. You have an intermittent downshift problem. It's the paddle itself. When you do a pitstop, when we get to that point, we're thinking of a steering wheel change."

  • 18:22 Lap 12

    Hamilton and Button are also under investigation for speeding during the Safety Car period.

  • 18:22 Lap 12

    Race Control: Safety Car in this lap.

  • 18:23 Lap 12

    Towards the hairpin, Vettel is backing the pack up again. That's what he did last time, so he'll need to watch out for Alonso again.

  • 18:23 Lap 12

    Green flagTrack is clear.

  • 18:23 Lap 13

    Alonso is nowhere near Vettel this time. Schumacher makes an attempt on his teammate but it goes nowhere.

  • 18:24 Lap 13

    A clean getaway by all involved.

  • 18:24 Lap 13

    Race Control: Drive through penalty for Button - Safety Car speed limit.

  • 18:25 Lap 14
    Driver Positions
    101Di Resta
  • 18:26 Lap 14

    Jenson Button takes his drive through penalty straight away.

  • 18:27 Lap 15

    He's returned to the track down in 14th place, but seems more comfortable on the intermediate tyres. We're expecting rain any second though.

  • 18:28 Lap 15

    Webber tries to pass Petrov, but the Renault runs side by side until the next corner. Webber makes it stick.

  • 18:28 Lap 16

    Button passes Barrichello, Sutil and Maldonado in the blink of an eye. He's got a bit of a gap and the tyres are clearly the ones to be on.

  • 18:29 Lap 16

    Barrichello pits.

  • 18:30 Lap 17

    Ted: "It is raining now, so the people on full wets are waiting for this spell to finish, which shouldn't be long now, then they'll pit for intermediates. Barrichello did take on intermediates."

  • 18:31 Lap 17

    Mark Webber has made his way up to 7th now, whilst Button is up to 11th.

  • 18:31 Lap 17
    One to Watch
    Paul di Restavs.Jenson Button
  • 18:31 Lap 18

    Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg both pit.

  • 18:32 Lap 18

    Alonso feeds back out on track between the two Renaults in 8th place.

  • 18:32 Lap 18

    Race Control: Incident involving Button and Hamilton will be investigated after the race.

  • 18:33 Lap 18

    The order currently is Vettel, Massa, Schumacher, Kobayashi and Webber. None have stopped yet.

  • 18:33 Lap 19

    Wait, Schumacher pits just as I typed that.

  • 18:33 Lap 19

    Fernando Alonso just drove around Heidfeld for 5th position. Button is making his way past the Renaults now.

  • 18:35 Lap 20

    SC BoardSafety car deployed.

  • 18:35 Lap 20

    Both Alonso and Button have pitted. We don't know what the Safety Car is for.

  • 18:35 Lap 20

    Rosberg also. Actually, every driver on intermediates appears to be changing their mind.

  • 18:36 Lap 20

    There's no car stopped on the live timing. Is the Safety Car out just because it might rain? That's madness.

  • 18:36 Lap 21

    Sebastian Vettel comes in for his first stop.

  • 18:38 Lap 21

    Felipe Massa pits from the lead.

  • 18:38 Lap 22

    Vettel returns to the lead, and Kobayashi is now up to second, although he has yet to stop.

  • 18:40 Lap 22

    RadioTeam radio from Vettel: "Just for information, from turn nine to turn thirteen, it's undriveable. It's undriveable."

  • 18:41 Lap 23

    TweetTweet from @OfficialLRGP: No pit stops for the boys yet, save the tyres

  • 18:43 Lap 24
    Driver Positions
    10Sebastian Vettel1
    211Kamui Kobayashi0
    30Felipe Massa1
    45Nick Heidfeld0
    55Vitaly Petrov0
    65Paul di Resta0
    7-3Mark Webber1
    8-6Fernando Alonso2
    98Pedro de la Rosa0
    10-3Jenson Button3
  • 18:46 Lap 25

    Red flagSession stopped.

  • 18:46 Lap 25

    The race is red flagged, so the drivers will return to the grid, and they will be allowed to make any changes to their car.

  • 18:46 Lap 25

    There will also have to be a ten minute warning before any restart.

  • 18:47 Lap 25

    QuoteComment from RG: This plays into Kobi's hands. He can change his tyres now to a fresher set of wets...

  • 18:47 Lap 25

    It is absolutely pouring down now. Red flag understandable, if only it had happened earlier.

  • 18:51 Lap 25

    TweetTweet from @InsideFerrari: Vettel and Kobayashi in the wrong position on the grid

  • 18:52

    Red Flag gridThere are a spare couple of grid slots there, but why are they wrong?

  • 18:53

    Montreal gridVettel and Kobayashi upfront, everyone else a bit further back.

  • 18:53

    TweetTweet from @MyTeamLotus: Sympathy for the crowd too, getting drenched down there. Luckily it's dry in the garage!

  • 18:55

    Interview with Lewis Hamilton: "It was tricky conditions, I was doing the best I could to keep the car on track. I think I had pretty good pace. Jenson made a mistake into the last corner. I haven't seen the footage but it felt like it was halfway up inside of him but he kept coming across and then I was in the wall. It was only the tyre that was busted, so I was going to drive it back to the garage but the team told me to retire."

  • 18:58

    The TV is showing replays of what has happened so far in the race. They've packed quite a lot in, considering most of it has been behind a Safety Car.

  • 19:00

    TweetTweet from @adamcooperf1: #F1 Not seen rain like this for years, it's like a Japanese monsoon. What a shame, we could gave had such a good race in the dry

  • 19:03

    A little steamroller is weaving around the track trying to displace some of the water. It's not having an easy time of it.

  • 19:04

    Timo Glock chats to the engineers on the pitwall, a giant umbrella protecting him from the weather. Others remain in the car. Heidfeld and Vettel are both still in their seats.

  • 19:05

    Raining at LotusRaining at Lotus.

  • 19:06

    Interview with Paul di Resta: "It just seemed to happen at one end of the track and then it continued. I thought they would have red flagged it sooner than it was because conditions are atrocious. I think it will take a while before we can run again, maybe we'll run a long time under the safety car."

  • 19:08

    RadioTeam radio to Vettel: "It looks like the rain is going to intensify again before it calms down. I don't think we'll be going anywhere for the next 20 minutes at least."

  • 19:08

    Red MercedesA red Mercedes takes to the track. That's not the Safety Car!

  • 19:10

    Swinging McLarenThe marshals recover Hamilton's McLaren to the pitlane.

  • 19:13

    Because it's starting to look like there's no letup in the rain, thoughts are turning to whether the race will get going at all.

  • 19:13

    The regulations in that case: If a race is suspended under Article 41, and cannot be resumed, no points will be awarded if the leader has completed less than two laps, half points will be awarded if the leader has completed more than two laps but less than 75% of the original race distance and full points will be awarded if the leader has completed more than 75% of the original race distance.

  • 19:13

    Nick Heidfeld has finally got out of the car. Rosberg is still in his, Mercedes have put up an awesome little canopy to keep the rain off.

  • 19:15

    Pop up tentMercedes have a "pop up tent" on the grid. Very organised!

  • 19:21

    It's still pouring with rain. The McLaren mechanics are wiping down Hamilton's car in the garage.

  • 19:21

    TweetTweet from @jakehumphreyf1: Such a shame but not even Bernie can control the weather. Keep everything crossed the rain stops and we go racing again. #bbcf1

  • 19:22

    Martin Brundle fact: "If the race was called now, it would be the third shortest race in the history of F1."

  • 19:27

    The Safety Car is circling the track, testing out the conditions. It does look a little better than before, but who can say?

  • 19:28

    Vettel remains stubbornly in his car. The mechanics have multiple umbrellas and towels to try and keep him dry.

  • 19:30

    QuoteComment from Steven Roy: Those people are just playing in those course cars. I am 3000 miles away and I can see there is no chance of starting the race now. I don't need to drive round the track.

  • 19:30

    D'Ambrosio is also in his car, but the Virgin driver is holding his own umbrella.

  • 19:34

    Sebastian Vettel is out of the car now. Is anyone else left on the grid?

  • 19:34

    The rain looks to have eased now, but visibility will still be an issue.

  • 19:36

    Sam Michael of Williams: "You're not allowed to change any parts on the car that are not of the same specification. It relates to a regulation to do with weight. We just tried to do it ourselves and Charlie said no. Rubens wanted to go to a softer setup, we had a debate with Charlie, but we've had to leave it because he's got a lot on his mind. We'll have a chat with him after the race just to clarify."

  • 19:38

    Ooh, D'Ambrosio is still in his car, having a chat with his engineer. Resolute chap, that Jérôme.

  • 19:42

    TweetTweet from @joesaward: Just had a nice cup of coffee and a cream cake. Well done organisers!

  • 19:46

    Everyone is starting to look quite cold. Mechanics jumping up and down to keep warm, cradling their cups of tea.

  • 19:46

    Not at the same time, I hasten to add. That could be messy.

  • 19:47

    RadioTeam radio to Karthikeyan: "My personal feeling is no more action for the next thirty minutes, but I'll keep you updated."

  • 19:51

    Interview with Heikki Kovalainen with the question are we ever going to get going again?: "I suppose if it wasn't, we wouldn't be waiting for it. We'd be packing up and going home. It doesn't look good now but like last year in Korea, it eventually changed. It's good fun although now it's a little bit too wet. I think you're quite optimistic if you think it's easing off at the moment. It's still coming down quite strong. In the corners you could just about manage, but in the straight lines is where it's dangerous."

  • 19:52

    Virgin weather forecastsVirgin Racing keep a close eye on the weather.

  • 19:53

    There's still plenty of action on the track to try and clear it - sweepers, men with brushes - but the water doesn't seem to have anywhere to go.

  • 19:53

    Rihanna is spotted exiting one of the motorhomes, her time at the Grand Prix has been a damp one.

  • 19:54

    Tonio and GeoffTonio Liuzzi chats with Geoff Willis.

  • 19:56

    Looks like Rihanna is getting a tour of the McLaren garage. She gives Lewis Hamilton a big hug.

  • 19:57

    Rihanna and HamiltonThey chat for a moment, then he points at his car: "Have you seen one of these up close?" he says, before giving her a guided tour.

  • 19:58

    Jérôme D'Ambrosio must be out the car now: "It was very difficult, especially the last sector, I was out there on inters at one point and it was just impossible to get the power on, I was in third gear all straight long. It was a good call to stop the race, hopefully it will restart."

  • 20:03

    Right, chaps, I'm afraid I'm going to have to bid you adieu. I know the race has not been called one way or the other, but I have used up my allotted three hours.

  • 20:04

    I hope you get some action, and I also hope I can bring you full race coverage next time out in Valencia.

  • 20:04

    Stay safe, fact fans.

All content in the series Canada 2011