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Hamilton takes stunning Montreal victory

NEWS STORY
10/06/2012

Whatever one might think of gambling, in a season notorious for its unpredictability, today is a day when those that do indulge are going to have to earn their money.

On the face of it, Red Bull, which, despite the various FIA rulings, is clearly back on top of its game; strangely enough at a circuit on which it has never really shone, while Sebastian Vettel is clearly a man on a mission.

However, despite the expected fear of tyre wear, Lewis Hamilton is looking good here this weekend as is Fernando Alonso.

One thing is certain; and we're sticking our necks out here, it appears that Chris Freer's prediction that Kimi Raikkonen will win here was wide of the mark.

Montreal has a reputation for throwing up surprises, not least way back in 1978 when the man after whom the track is now named took an audacious win, indeed his first world championship Grand Prix win. There have been many more surprise results since then - Alesi in 1995 - not least last year when, against all odds, Jenson Button came through from last, surviving a crash with his teammate, to take victory on the last lap when Vettel made a rare error.

With the Englishman enjoying a difficult return here twelve months later, no wonder team boss Martin Whitmarsh insists on reminding him that it can be done.

However, other than Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso, let's not forget Webber, while Massa has been looking good of late. Then there's Rosberg, who finally broke his duck this year, and, of course, his teammate, Schumacher, a six-time winner here.

While some are given to hyperbole, at Pitpass we do our very best to avoid it. Nonetheless, we have no hesitation in stating that this is a race where anything can happen and most probably will.

In recent years it has been shown that pole is not vital here, though Vettel will aim to capitalise on it. On the other hand, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has a reputation for first lap incidents - and let's not forget the legendary Wall of Champions. Like Monaco, mistake here rarely go unpunished.

One thing pretty much for certain, especially in view of last year, the longest race in the history of F1, the weather is unlikely to play a significant role in today's race, at least in terms of rain. On the other hand, temperature fluctuations could play havoc with tyre strategies this afternoon, a factor on which some drivers are building their hopes.

Unlike last year, there is but one DRS zone here today, with activation shortly after the hairpin on the straight leading to the pit entrance. Tyre options, like Monaco, are soft and supersoft.

While most are expecting a two-stop strategy, other believe a one-stopper is possible, Perez and Button immediately springing to mind.

A late decision to change the gearbox on Pastor Maldonado's car - the result of his clash with the Wall of Champions in qualifying - sees the Williams driver incur his third penalty in two races. Having qualified seventeenth he now moves back to twenty-second.

The pitlane opens and the first drivers start making their way to the grid. Air temperature is 27 degrees C while the track temperature is 45 degrees. Humidity is 28 percent while the wind speed is 1.7 mps.

Adrian Newey walks the grid checking out the opposition, he pays the Lotus particular attention… then moves on to the McLaren.

Of the front five rows, all but Button are starting on the option rubber (super soft), the exception being Button who starts on the prime (soft).

They head off on the warm-up lap, all get away cleanly; Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Perez, de la Rosa and Maldonado, like Button, on prime rubber.

They're away, Vettel gets away cleanly and as they head through the first corner there are no significant incidents. A poor start from Alonso who is caught napping while Massa closes on Rosberg.

At the end of lap 1, it's: Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Webber, Rosberg, Massa, di Resta, Grosjean, Schumacher and Button. Massa is all over Rosberg. Maldonado up to nineteenth from twenty-second.

Next time around Massa sweeps past Rosberg going into the final chicane. Vettel posts the fastest lap (20.663).

As a queue forms behind Rosberg, Raikkonen is eleventh, ahead of Kobayashi, Perez, Hulkenberg, Kovalainen and Senna. Di Resta, making use of his DRS, leaves Rosberg for dead. Button lapping over a second off Vettel's pace.

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