Montreal Grand Preview: Hamilton takes the 2012 win with just 2 stops

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Lewis Hamilton won the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix for McLaren despite two slow pit stops, sliding past the fading Fernando Alonso in the DRS zone with less than ten laps to go. Alonso went right down the order at the end, having attempted to keep the advantage he gained with a leapfrogging single pit stop, ending the race fifth.

Romain Grosjean, Sergio Perez, and Sebastian Vettel finished second through fourth in a race generally uneventful until pit strategy called the racing order into question. The race saw some drivers and teams going for a single stop strategy and others for a two-stopper under the hottest temperatures of the weekend in Montreal.

The tyre degredation issue that has plagued this season was not nearly in effect for Montreal in 2012, as evidenced by Alonso’s single stop during the race. Though his tyres lasted not as long as he had hoped then, it feels as though a single stop strategy would fail far more miserably this season.

Vettel had started on pole, with Hamilton behind at the start. The German only lost his lead after the first set of stops, as track action was limited on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Though Webber qualified third, he also struck out in pit strategy. By halfway, Hamilton led Alonso, Vettel, Raikkonen, Perez, Webber, Grosjean, Massa, and Di Resta as the top ten.

Soon thereafter, most drivers made their second stops. Schumacher had a dismal time with his DRS, as it stuck open as he pitted, forcing the Mercedes crew to fix it. Then the German ran over the grass on his out lap and pitted again for more work. It would be his final stop, as Mercedes retired the former world champion.

For a brief moment the heat of the track action matched that of the tarmac as Rosberg, Massa, and Perez fought over fifth position. Rosberg cut the chicane to pass Massa, had to give the position back, then both came under attack from Perez, who moved up to fifth. Rosberg managed a clean pass on Massa, then Webber attacked the Brazilian, who immediately pitted.

At the end, Alonso and Vettel looked clear to finish one-two in that order. Hamilton was six seconds behind Alonso, who had a three second gap behind to Vettel. Then the Pirellis dropped off the cliff. Hamilton took first Vettel through the DRS zone, then Alonso. The Spaniard dropped down the order, allowing Grosjean and Perez through. Vettel meanwhile had hit the wall of champions and dropped to finish fourth.

2012 Canadian Grand Prix Results:

 DriverTeamGapPit
1. Lewis HamiltonMcLaren2.52
2. Romain GrosjeanLotus5.21
3. Sergio PerezSauber7.21
4. Sebastian VettelRed Bull13.42
5. Fernando AlonsoFerrari13.81
6. Nico RosbergMercedes15.02
7. Mark WebberRed Bull15.52
8. Kimi RaikkonenLotus24.41
9. Kamui KobayashiSauber25.21
10. Felipe MassaFerrari37.62
11. Paul Di RestaForce India46.22
12. Nico HulkenbergForce India47.02
13. Pastor MaldonadoWilliams64.41
14. Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso1 Lap2
15. Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso1 Lap3
16. Jenson ButtonMcLaren1 Lap3
17. Bruno SennaWilliams1 Lap1
18. Heikki KovalainenCaterham1 Lap2
19. Vitaly PetrovCaterham1 Lap2
20. Charles PicMarussia3 Laps1
 Timo GlockMarussia14 Laps2
 Michael SchumacherMercedes27 Laps3
 Pedro de la RosaHRT46 Laps1
 Narain KarthikeyanHRT48 Laps
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