So now we have seven different winners from the first seven races of the 2012 Formula One season. Fantastic and who would have predicted that at the start of the year?
It has been a terrific start to the season and once again we saw another intriguing Grand Prix at Canada. Lewis Hamilton put in a stunning drive to take his first win of the season. It was a win Lewis thoroughly deserved but lets be honest he could have won his first race of 2012 earlier in the season.
Romain Grosjean was able to make his one-stop strategy work and the Frenchman finished the race in a brilliant second place. Mexican Sergio Perez drove yet another excellent race to finish third. Both Grosjean and Perez have been on the podium twice in 2012.
Seeing three different drivers from three different Constructors on the podium was great to see and I hope that continues for the rest of the season. Lets just hope the unpredictability continues.
An eighth different winner of 2012? Surely not. But never say never.
Delight for Lewis
Lewis Hamilton has always been a Circuit Gilles Villeneuve specialist but to cross the finishing line in first place on Sunday will have been a huge relief for Hamilton and McLaren.
The 2008 World Champion has not really been at fault for any of the mistakes in the McLaren pit lane. There were minor mistakes made on Sunday but Hamilton more than made up for it.
McLaren’s pit stops to be quite frank have not been good enough this season and there have been too many mistakes. But I’m sure they will improve as the season goes on.
Winning in Canada was just what Hamilton needed and I am really happy for him. Lewis has definitely matured this year and he has been more consistent compared to last season. The Brit put in a faultless performance and hopefully this is just a sign of things to come.
Hamilton now finds himself leading the Drivers Championship but I know for a fact he will not get complacent along with his McLaren colleagues. There is still a long way to go and the McLaren can be improved further.
It is amazing what difference a year can make. Last year it was Lewis doing all the whingeing. Now it is Jenson Button who appears to be the one moaning constantly about the car.
Jenson had yet another disappointing race and was unable to make inroads towards the likes of Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso right from the word go. Once again being stuck in the midfield was where Button ended up.
The 2009 World Champion really does need a strong result in Valencia and he must improve his qualifying. He only just made it into Q3 on Saturday and for some reason he has been struggling in qualifying since Spain.
But I have no doubts that once Jenson gets a strong result, he will get back to his best. Button needs a good result from somewhere and if he can do that at the next Grand Prix, perhaps that could be the turning point of his season.
If you want to learn about how to make a one-stop strategy work, take a look at how well both Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez performed in Canada.
The Frenchman and Mexican were able to look after their tyres incredibly well and because they did that, they were able to make their way up the field. Perez’s performance in particular caught my eye.
Starting from 15th, Sergio did an excellent job from start to finish and he was even putting in fastest laps in the second half of the race. Who would have predicted at the start of the race that Perez would end up on the podium?
Sergio has proven that he can look after his tyres really well but for him to finish third was stunning. Lotus have done extremely well so far this year but still I was not expecting Grosjean to end up on the podium on Sunday.
Romain has had his high and lows in 2012 and he certainly has come back to Formula One with more confidence and belief. I have been impressed with how well the Frenchman has performed this season and he is even getting the better of his more experienced team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
Don’t be surprised to see both Sauber and Lotus challenging for strong points in Valencia and I wouldn’t bet against any of their drivers finishing on the podium.
Red Bull and Ferrari
It wasn’t quite the stellar weekend for both Red Bull and Ferrari but both teams were able to pick up points from Montreal.
Sebastian Vettel was not able to convert pole position into a race win and finished the race fourth. His team-mate Mark Webber was never really in the hunt to finish on the podium and the Australian could only manage a seventh place finish.
It was pretty inevitable that Seb was going to be overtaken by Lewis in the latter stages of the race which resulted in the German pitting for new tyres on lap 63. Vettel however was able to get past Alonso on the penalutimate lap to finish fourth.
I’m sure Red Bull will be right up there at the European Grand Prix and it should be a track that suits them. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Vettel ended up on pole.
Even though Seb finished just outside the podium places, he shouldn’t be too disheartened and coming home in fourth is not a disaster. There is a long way to go and Red Bull will win races between now and the end of the season.
Fernando Alonso was just unable to make his one stop strategy work and there was nothing he could do to stop Hamilton, Grosjean, Perez and Vettel getting past him. Going for a single stop race was a gamble that did not pay off and had Alonso gone for a two stop strategy, perhaps the Spaniard would have ended up finishing the race in the Top 3.
But despite the fact Fernando finished fifth, he is not far behind Hamilton in the Drivers Standings and it is still all to play for. Alonso will still be confident that Ferrari will improve the car further and there is no reason in my view why he cannot challenge for more race victories this year.
Felipe Massa finished tenth but there were signs once again in Canada that the Brazilian is starting to get back to his best. It was unfortunate he spun just after Turn One in the early stages of the race. Had he not done that, Felipe could have at least finished in the top six.
Final Thoughts and Valencia
Many people I spoke to before the Canadian weekend believed Mercedes would be in contention for the race win. But that never materialised. Michael Schumacher’s bad luck continued as he had issues with his DRS in the race. Nico Rosberg could only manage a sixth place finish. I genuinely hope Schumacher can turn his form round and he has been very unlucky this year.
The Canadian Grand Prix you could argue was a mirror image of Monaco. A procession at times but entertaining towards the end of the Grand Prix. But despite the processional feeling you still had the intrigue and belief that something would happen. That proved to be the case in the end.
Formula One is in a golden era and with the unpredictability continuing, it is difficult to say who will be on top week in week out which can only be a good thing in my view. It could be Red Bull on top one week, a McLaren another week or even a Williams.
I have never been a fan of the European Grand Prix being held at Valencia and have we ever had a decent Grand Prix there? Not really although the race in 2009 was decent with Rubens Barrichello winning in his Brawn car.
I just hope we get a decent race in Valencia and it would be great to see an eighth different winner. Possibly a Lotus winning or even a Sauber coming out on top. I can see Red Bull being strong here and I’m sure Lewis will be up for it as well. Tough one to call.
I would be interested to hear your predictions for Valencia? You can follow me on Twitter (@Baggies20) and listen to the latest F1 Forum for F1 in Pubs. Don’t forget you can also Tweet us #F1inPubs during and after the race. You never know your comments might be included in the Forum.