Guest Author - Christine Blachford
I think most Formula 1 fans had been lulled into a false sense of expectance, that the Canada Grand Prix would be a repeat of the Monaco procession. Whilst itís always difficult to overtake at Monaco, no one really expected the dominance of McLaren. It was eerily reminiscent of the Ferrari era, and may have signalled the start of a McLaren season throughout.
So, Canada was a bit of a revelation. Okay, yes, McLaren continued to dominate, but it was difficult to tell if that was only because they were one of the few teams to survive the race unscathed.
An unprecedented four safety cars led the majority of laps on the incident filled race. Before that, however, as everyone else pulled away from the grid, Jenson Button had gear trouble and went nowhere. His race was over before it had even begun. Fernando Alonso repeated his mistake of previous tracks, pushing too hard on the first corner and spinning off, only to rejoin a few places down the running order.
The first safety car was called out when a Spyker hit the wall. It was badly timed that Alonso and Rosberg both had scheduled pit stops just as the safety car was in position. The new rules for 2007 mean that the pit lane is closed for a couple of laps under the safety car, and any cars ignoring this get a 10 second penalty. The defending championís day just got even worse.
The safety car disappeared briefly, but was called out again when Robert Kubica had an enormous smash against the wall. He tripped over the kerb and hit one wall, then his car somersaulted over the track and hit the opposite wall, coming to a standstill on itís side. The medics and marshals were on the scene almost immediately, and although it took almost ten minutes to get Kubica out of the car, he escaped with only a sprained ankle to show for it.
Fisichella and Massa also fell foul of safety car rules, when they exited the pit lane through a red light. The pit exit is stopped whilst the safety car goes past, to avoid any collisions but the pair decided to ignore this. Both gained a black flag and had to retire.
With everyone pitting and getting stuck behind the safety car, it was difficult to tell which positions everyone was in, but one driver remained constant. Lewis Hamilton was on pole at the beginning, led the entire race and took the chequered flag at the end as well. On the one hand it was a stunning drive from him, with the added pressure of being unable to create a substantial lead. On the other hand, the lack of overtaking allowed under a safety car may have helped him out a bit Ė who knows?
Itís also worth mentioning that Takuma Sato in the Super Aguri was extremely strong towards the end of the race and overtook both Ralf Schumacher and Fernando Alonso before finishing 6th. A brilliant show from him, whilst his team mate struggled after hitting a marmot!
All in all, it was an amazing spectacle, if lacking the racing that we tune in for. So many incidents left little time for actual strategy, but it was a great couple of hours. Letís hope the US is a little calmer but still just as interesting.