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Hamilton extends title lead after close battle with Rosberg in Canada

Hamilton eases to Canada win


By Olivier Ferret

7 June 2015 - 21:40
Hamilton extends title lead after (...)

Lewis Hamilton extended his championship lead over team-mate Nico Rosberg to 17 points as he took his fourth win of the season in a closely-fought Canadian Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas scored Williams’ first podium finish since last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with third place, while Kimi Räikkönen took fourth ahead of hard-charging team-mate Sebastian Vettel who took 10 points after a P16 start.

When the lights went out, Hamilton made a good start and held his advantage over Rosberg into the first corner. Behind them Räikkönen briefly came under pressure from Bottas but the Ferrari driver held on to stay third, with Lotus’ Romain Grosjean fifth behind Bottas. Hulkenberg, meanwhile, passed Maldonado for sixth.

Unsurprisingly, with Massa, Vettel out of place, most of the action happened at the rear of the field. By lap four Vettel was up to 14th place from P16 on the grid and then passed Fernando Alonso into the chicane to claim P13. Massa, who had started 15th was already up to P12. At the very back Jenson Button, who had suffered a 15-place grid drop due to power unite parts replacement and thus had take a time penalty due to not taking part in qualifying, served a drive through and set off after P19 man Will Stevens.

Vettel’s progress through the order was hampered, however by a bungled first pit stop on lap seven. The German spent 6.6s waiting for his opening new supersofts to be exchanged for another set of the red-banded tyres and rejoined in last position.

By contrast, Massa was prospering. On starting soft tyres he worked a superb overtaking move on the supersoft-shod Marcus Ericsson on lap 10 to take 11th place.

At the front, by lap 12, Hamilton led Rosberg by three seconds, with Räikkönen a further 2.4 seconds back. The Ferrari driver was being shadowed by Bottas who was now two seconds behind in fourth. Grosjean held fifth ahead of Hulkenberg and Maldonado. Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat was 4.7s off the back of the Lotus but was inside DRS range of Force India’s Sergio Perez who had earlier passed Daniel Ricciardo for ninth.

Meanwhile, Massa’s charge continued. He dismissed Ricciardo with ease and then halted Perez’ pursuit of Kvyat by brushing past the Mexican to take eighth place. He then claimed the scalp of Kvyat, who was struggling with his supersoft tyres, on lap 21.

Vettel, too, was making progress after his poor stop. By lap 20 he was chasing down Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz and within two laps he had effortlessly dismissed the power-limited Toro Rossos to rise to P1. And as those around him pitted he was soon into the top 10 and harrying Maldonado, who had pitted for soft tyres.

At the front Hamilton pitted from the lead on lap 28 and in 2.8s had taken on soft tyres. Behind him on track, Rosberg pushed to make up ground during the stop but made a mistake and went wide at the hairpin. The German then made his stop on lap 29 stop for soft tyres and behind him Hamilton too outbraked himself as he tried to maintain the gap to his team-mate. When the pair crossed the line again Rosberg now found himself 2.3s adrift of his team-mate.

Behind them Bottas had risen to third place ahead of Räikkönen after the Ferrari man spun badly at the hairpin on cold tyres after his first pit stop. Massa, who had on lap 32 yet to stop, was now fifth ahead of Grosjean and the hard-charging Vettel.

After the Mercedes drivers’ stops, Rosberg immediately looked more comfortably on the soft tyres and closed the gap to 1.1s. Hamilton responded, however, and pulled out four tenths of a second on lap 34 to make his advantage more comfortable. Rosberg was then told that his brakes wear was “critical” and that he needed to fall back for 10 laps before attacking his team-mate.

Vettel made his second and final stop on lap 35,taking on more soft tyres. The visit to the pit lane dropped him to P9, from where he began his next assault.

Massa meanwhile made his sole visit to the pit lane, for supersoft tyres on lap 38 and rejoined behind Vettel.

On his way to seventh place, Vettel then clashed with Hulkenberg. The Ferrari man pulled alongside the Force India into the final chicane and Hulkenberg spun. Vettel was quickly on the radio insisting that there had been no contact and following investigation the race stewards ruled that no further action was necessary.

A more visible collision occurred moments later when Grosjean sustained a puncture when he closed the door to sharply on Will Stevens after passing the Manor backmarker. Grosjean was quickly handed a five-second penalty for his transgression.

Vettel’s charge continued and on lap 55 he passed Maldonado under braking into the final chicane. The German was now in fifth place and 12.8s behind team-mate Räikkönen, with the Finn now almost 10s adrift of Bottas was comfortable in third. At the front Hamilton had stabilised his advantage over his team-mate at 1.5s.

Further back, Massa passed Maldonado on lap 62, while Grosjean was told that he would have his time penalty added after the flag and that he needed to pass Kvyat for P9 and then gap the Russian sufficiently to claim the two points on offer.

The Frenchman could find no way past the young Red Bull driver, however, with the Russian having an excellent afternoon despite the power deficiency his Renault engine had at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The order elsewhere also remained static and despite Rosberg’s best attempts Hamilton took his fourth Canadian Grand Prix win comfortably. Rosberg crossed the line just over three seconds afterwards and Bottas took his seventh career podium finish.

Räikkönen claimed fourth ahead of Vettel, with Massa sixth and Maldonado scored his first points of the year in seventh. He was followed to the flag by Hulkenberg, while Kvyat held off Grosjean who took the final point on offer.

01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 70 laps - 1h31m53.145s 1
02 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG +2.285 1
03 Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes +40.666 1
04 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +45.625 2
05 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +49.903 2
06 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes +56.381 1
07 Pastor Maldonado Lotus Mercedes +66.664 1
08 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes +1 lap 1
09 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Renault +1 lap 1
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus Mercedes +1 lap 2
11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes +1 lap 1
12 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso Renault +1 lap 1
13 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault +1 lap 1
14 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari +1 lap 1
15 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso Renault +1 lap 1
16 Felipe Nasr Sauber Ferrari +1 lap 1
17 Will Stevens Manor Ferrari +4 laps 2
18 Roberto Merhi Manor Ferrari DNF 2
19 Jenson Button McLaren Honda DNF 3
20 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda DNF 2

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