The 2011 Canadian Grand Prix usually offers some fun on the banks of the St Lawrence, and with rain forecast will this race turn the form book on its head?
There is no point reporting the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix as we normally would.
There is no need to set the scene and go through the preamble, apart from perhaps to say that the Canadians can do rain even better than the Brits. And this race was all about rain. Rain and Jenson Button.
Rain saw the race start behind the safety car, and because of that every car had to start on full wets. The safety car came in after four laps and the mayhem began.
Lewis Hamilton – ITMA – tangled with Mark Webber on lap five, spinning the Aussie round but managing not to incur the wrath of the stewards in the process. Hamilton then tried to go the long way round Michael Schumacher but made and mess and lost a place to Jenson Button in the process.
Hamilton then did his best Jack Russell after a farm rat impression as he harried Jenson at the start of lap eight, looking to take Button on the inside through a gap that was never going to be there. The ensuing coming-together ended Hamilton’s race, and perhaps the last vestige of the pretence he and Button are ‘friends’.
That coming together saw another safety car and Button took the opportunity to jump in the pits to put on intermediates as the conditions improved, but he also picked up a drive-through for speeding under the safety car. But those inters saw Button scythe through the field – until his luck ran out as the rain came back in spades.
So bad was the rain, Charlie Whiting deployed the safety car before another incident ended the race. Five laps later – still under the safety car – the race was red flagged as the Montreal track became undriveable.
For the next two hours we were treated to surreal scenes. Mechanics stood by cars on the grid, which were covered in tarpaulins to protect them from the worst of the Canadian weather, whilst swilling tea and munching cakes; Rihanna bantered with Lewis Hamilton, having forgotten her Umb-er-ella, ella, ella, and Eddie Jordan auditioned for George Lucas.
Eventually – again under the safety car – the race resumed and the carnage continued. Button made a move on Alonso but the Spaniard wouldn’t yield. The coming together saw Button back in the pits with a puncture and the Spaniard beached – and the safety car out for the 93rd time (or so it seemed).
But something happened to Jenson whilst that tyre was being changed, and he emerged from the pits – in 21st place – on a mission; a man chasing his own destiny. He cut through the field as if it wasn’t there until he finally came up behind Webber and Schumacher fighting over second place.
With but a handful of laps to go he dispensed with Australia’s best and the most successful Grand Prix driver of all time, and set off after Vettel who, despite the weather, was still where he’s been all season.
Jenson hustled and harried the German until, with just seven corners to go, the young German proved he was human and succumbed to the pressure, sliding wide after braking too late. Button slipped past and drove to what was probably the best win of his career. This was Jenson’s Apotheosis.
And McLaren smiled.