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Hamilton's trials and tribulations finally pay off - Lewis stakes his claim as driver of the day for the Canadian Grand Prix

Published by Adam Barton

Hamilton takes it easy in Canada
Credit: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

So as the F1 circus leaves Canada after another fantastic Grand Prix, giving us a new record of seven different winners in seven races, no one is happier than Lewis Hamilton as he secured his third Canadian GP win. This season gets better and better as we travel around the world, still with no idea of who will be competitive when the teams rock up at the start of the race weekend.

Canada is my favourite race track on the calendar and it’s not hard to see why. There is barely a bad race there but more importantly, it requires the best characteristics out of a driver as they are forced to commit to the track or face the harsh reality of the uncompromising walls.

Hamilton back on top

The driver of the day has got to be the man who is quickly becoming the king of Canada

The driver of the day has got to be the man who is quickly becoming the king of Canada. In five attempts, Lewis Hamilton has three wins along with three poles, and has started on the front row on the other two occasions. He knows where the speed in the track is and from his first lap on Friday morning it was clear that he would contend for the victory come Sunday afternoon.

After being unable to beat Sebastian Vettel on his final qualifying lap, Hamilton always looked strong throughout the race and was able to pull away from Vettel and Alonso once he had clear air, although with the aid of an aggressive strategy. As he stopped once more than Alonso and Vettel’s original strategy, he was able to extract the maximum from the car and show that despite recent setbacks, McLaren does still have true pace.

Hamilton’s ability in Canada was made all the more obvious as teammate Jenson Button had no pace over the entire race weekend and his rotten race compounded by an inability to look after the tyres as he was the only man to stop three times on his way to 16th and one lap down.

In hindsight it was clear that a two stop strategy was right for Lewis but I can’t help but think about what his mood would have been like had Vettel and Alonso been able to look after their tyres and finish ahead of him with a one stop strategy.

It was just plain comical listening to the radio communication between Andy Latham and Lewis Hamilton as McLaren ensured Lewis that the others would be two stopping, until it was clear they wouldn’t. After lying to him so obviously in the public eye, I think it could have caused a clear divide between Hamilton and McLaren. In fact, I think if they had followed him home in second and third, Hamilton still wouldn’t have been best pleased.

Grosjean repays the faith

Romain Grosjean was another man who impressed in the Canadian sunshine. After a terrible introduction into Formula One at the backend of 2009, he is showing why Renault/Lotus stuck with him and gave him a second chance. Whilst he has made some silly errors, when he has finished, he has done so in style. The Canadian GP was the first time he had comprehensively beaten World Champion teammate Kimi Räikkönen and it was made all the more sweeter by his second trip to the podium.

After such a tough time in the past it is clear that Grosjean has the speed

Grosjean was the one man who made Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso’s one stop strategy work as he was able to make the soft tyres last for nearly 50 laps. Not only did he make them last, he was hunting Hamilton down at the end of the race, who was running with far newer soft tyres at the time. After such a tough time in the past it is clear that Grosjean has the speed, and the maturity that he has shown in Bahrain, Spain and now Canada will surely pay off eventually. It is fair to say that on current form he is probably the better bet to get Lotus’ first win of the season as Räikkönen continues to struggle to make it into Q3 on Saturday.

Perfect Pérez rewards Sauber

Sergio on a flyer in Canada
Credit: Sauber Motorsport AG

Rounding off the podium, Sergio Pérez had a stellar race and profited late in the race as Sauber’s kindness to their tyres paid off handsomely. It was arguably a stronger showing than his second place in Malaysia as he didn’t put a foot wrong and showed that Sauber can compete without the aid of the weather.

Pérez’s opinion of the car went up and down like a rollercoaster. On Thursday he said that a win was possible for the underdog Sauber team, only for him to say after qualifying on Saturday that he felt a podium was out of reach.

It is obviously a difficult position to start from, but it is still my target to score points tomorrow.

- Sergio Pérez

Having been running in the middle of the points for much of the race, charging late in the race to a podium must have been a pleasant surprise.

Pérez went a different way on strategy than everyone else. Having started on the soft tyres, he was able to run to halfway through the race before putting the supersoft tyres on, which lasted longer on a rubbered-in track. Pérez benefitted from the Sauber not taking too much out of its tyres and could have run longer on their first stint but fear of falling off the cliff caused them to stop when they did and put Pérez behind Räikkönen and Rosberg, forcing Sergio to overtake them on the track. But Pérez made it past, benefitting from a Nico Rosberg error on the final corner.

His fight through the field showed that Pérez is not shy of wheel to wheel racing

His fight through the field showed that Pérez is not shy of wheel to wheel racing, something we had yet to see him do. It's drives like these that put him so highly on Ferrari’s wish list. Will his podium performance speed up his move? It’s unlikely as Massa showed pace but was hampered by an early spin and struggled to make the soft tyres last for 40 laps of a 56 lap stint.

So looking ahead to the monotonous streets of Valencia, will we start to see someone surge ahead in the championship standings or will a running order be established. All that can be said is that if Formula One is even exciting in Valencia, then we really do have a brilliant Championship brewing.