Oh Canada! Kubica Wins While Hamilton, Raikkonen and Alonso Watch
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is located in Montreal, but it may as well be in Bizarroworld.
If anyone were to tell you yesterday that Ferrari and McLaren would be closed out of the podium, you'd have called them crazy.
Not so much today.
In what has become one of the most entertaining races on the Formula One calendar, the Canadian Grand Prix saw a little bit of everything.
Qualifying set the stage for anybody's guess, but a fair assumption. Lewis Hamilton took pole, and roared off to the lead. He scored his first F1 pole and win at this race last year, but a momentary lapse of reason would change his fortunes today.
Robert Kubica landed his BMW Sauber in P2 on the grid, and a brilliant move on the start kept defending World Champion Kimi Raikkonen at bay in third. Fernando Alonso's Renault started fourth, and Nico Rosberg had a stellar Q3 to start fifth on the grid.
Another unusual occurrence was the fact that all cars made a clean start and run through the first few turns. Normally two or three cars wind up with damage as drivers in the pack try to win the race in the first corner. Not today.
But in keeping with tradition at Canada, a safety car was brought out when Adrian Sutil's Force India car stopped in a precarious position. This would bunch the field up behind Hamilton, and set the stage for a crowded pit road.
Hamilton would come in first, but Kubica and Raikkonen would beat him out, at least to the red light at the end of the pits. With the Ferrari and BMW stopped, Hamilton apparently missed the red light and tried desperately to stop his McLaren, only to slide into the back of Raikkonen, taking both cars out of the race.
Opportunity knocked, and BMW gladly answered the door.
The team fueled Nick Heidfeld to the max, choosing a one-stop strategy for his car, while Kubica would try to put distance between himself and his teammate to allow for a second stop.
Later, Heidfeld was running with Fernando Alonso close in tow, and the Renault driver made attempts to get by the young German, only to lose grip on the dirty track and find himself chasing again. Heidfeld's crew advised him to let Alonso by, knowing he would have to pit the Renault one more time. Alonso would make a mistake, uncannily common for the two-time Champion at Canada, and would spin the car, damaging the gearbox and forcing him to retire.
The top three drivers in F1 were out of the race.
There was some drama when Kaz Nakajima clipped the back of Reubens Barrichello's Honda, damaging the nose of the Williams. As Kaz steered for the pit lane, the nose detached and wedged under the left front tire, causing the car to steer into the wall, and ending what was a good day for the young Japanese driver.
Kubica built enough of a lead over his teammate that his final pit stop saw him return to the track with Heidfeld in his mirrors, and the Pole wouldn't look back.
The waning laps were rather mundane up front, but a good battle took place as Ferrari's Felippe Massa knifed his way through the field, at one point passing two cars in the treacherous hairpin turn.
He would then find himself the beneficiary of a mistake by Toyota's Timo Glock, who went wide in a turn, and cut off his teammate Jarno Trulli, allowing Massa the position. Glock would drive skillfully to the checkers for his career-best finish of fourth. Massa followed in fifth, and Trulli's Toyota sixth.
Robert Kubica gave BMW-Sauber their first Formula 1 win, and Heidfeld's runner-up finish moved the team ahead of McLaren into second in the constructor's standings. McLaren would score no points as Heikki Kovalainen was unable to get past Sebastien Vettel in the STR-Ferrari for the final points-paying position of eighth.
David Coulthard would demonstrate he still has what it takes to race in F1, as his Red Bull Renault would hold together and come home third.
With his first win in F1, Robert Kubica takes the points lead in the World Driving Championship, and has probably attained "National Hero" status in his home country of Poland.
Results from the 2008 Grand Prix of Canada
|1||4||Robert Kubica||BMW Sauber||10|
|2||3||Nick Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||8|
|3||9||David Coulthard||Red Bull-Renault||6|
|12||10||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault|
|Ret||21||Giancarlo Fisichella||Force India-Ferrari|
|Ret||20||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Ferrari|
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