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GP Week : Issue 222
Had he needed to, there's little doubt Lewis Hamilton could have simply lifted the pace. simple fact is, he didn't need to. Hamilton has begun to make an art out of winning by small margins. Not because he's pushed hard or hanging on to victory but because that's all that's required. Any more is simply taking more out of the car than is necessary. In an era where life cycle management of all components is critical it shows Hamilton to be a complete driver. His two second margin over Rosberg was absolutely managed. He protected the cars brakes, managed its fuel while at the same time ensuring Rosberg was never close enough to pose a serious threat. It was everything the Monaco Grand Prix had been until the final safety car. What made it clear that Hamilton was managing things is that Nico Rosberg was clearly giving him the hurry along. The pair finished more than 40 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas. It was a dominant performance by Mercedes, but that margin suggested they'd used more of their cars than they needed. That was driven by Rosberg, whose pace Hamilton had to at least match. That 40-odd second margin was somewhat artificial. Bottas was not the third best driver on the day. The Finn benefitted from Sebastian Vettel's qualifying woes and when Kimi Raikkonen had an engine map issue following his pit stop and spun it gifted the position to the Williams driver. Vettel put in a strong shift to move from the rear of the field to fifth. His Ferrari engine was a key component of that, the long back straight enabling the German to ease by his rivals. In many instances he did it twice following a head-scratching early stop for soft tyres. Exactly why Ferrari pitted him is unclear as it ultimately brought them next to nothing. He initially dropped through the pack before racing back up to the gearbox of Felipe Massa, much as he'd been prior to his stop. Vettel made up ground, but whether he needed to is questionable. Massa and Vettel were the early protagonists in what was a measured opening stint. Starting out of position their charge through the field added life to a race that was strangely processional for a Canadian Grand Prix. There were no safety cars, no serious yellow flags and little to set excited tongues wagging. Instead it painted an accurate picture of engine quality. It showed us there is little difference between a Ferrari and a Mercedes while the Renault remains as useful as a blind, three-legged donkey. Down the long back straight the likes of Vettel and Massa didn't need bother with the slipstream from the Red Bull or Toro Rossos as they were mugged with particular ease. The Renault engine though remains third best, with significant problems becoming evident at Honda. From surprisingly early in the race both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button were told to save fuel, the Honda slow and thirsty. Both drivers retired, officially with exhaust problems - the exhaust doesn't generally work when the engine isn't sending anything through it. The team's two ultra competitive drivers were less than happy, and no amount of PR spin can hide that. Eric Boullier branded the race disappointing, which far more polite than how most others would describe it. There are similar frustrations building at Red Bull. Daniel Ricciardo finished outside the points on merit. There was no spin, no sticking tyre at a pit stop, just a complete lack 22 GPWEEK.com // 22 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> CANADA PARTNERS: