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GP Week : Issue 14
F1 canada >> R OBERT Kubica rose above the chaos of the Canadian Grand Prix to record his first Formula 1 victory on the circuit that, 30 years ago, saw the great Gilles Villeneuve notch up his debut Grand Prix win. The Pole had made an excellent start from second position, and, despite falling behind pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren by a margin of almost seven seconds, had been able to keep Kimi Raikkonen’s speedy Ferrari behind him for the opening 18 laps of the race. The decisive moment in the Grand Prix came on lap 20 when, with the Safety Car out to retrieve Adrian Sutil’s Force India, the leaders pitted. In the pit exit confusion both Hamilton and Raikkonen were taken out of the equation and Kubica’s path to victory was created. The Pole fought through the midfield as those on a one-stop strategy peeled in for their solitary stops. After dispatching team-mate Nick Heidfeld, he set a 24s lead before taking his final stop, emerging in a lead he would hold all the way to the flag. Heidfeld had been left in the lead after the Safety Car, and after he had taken his one and only stop on lap 30, was left unchallenged for second place. The team’s strategy had paid off in the best possible way, and BMW Sauber was able to not only celebrate its first win, but its first 1-2. Third place went to David Coulthard. Another of the drivers on a one-stop strategy, he benefitted from the misfortune not only of the aforementioned championship contenders, but of the two Renaults. Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet had held potential podium places after the Safety Car period on two stop strategies, but their retirements left Coulthard in an unlikely and yet well deserved third position, which he held all the way to the flag. Behind the podium trio, Timo Glock came home fourth to score his best ever F1 result and his first points for Toyota. The German had battled hard with his team-mate for much of the contest, and in the closing laps held off the advances of the far faster Felipe Massa. The Brazilian’s race had been ruined by a refuelling problem under the Safety Car, and with an extra stop to contend with on top of his chosen two-stop strategy, he did well to get himself up into such a good position. His dispatching of sixth placed Jarno Trulli had been created by a slowing Glock on lap 68, whose mistake at Turn 2 had caused the Italian to brake hard in avoidance and had allowed Massa to pass. Seventh went to Rubens Barrichello after a plucky drive, with Sebastian Vettel a brilliant eighth after starting in the pits. After a difficult season so far, Nelson Piquet raced aggressively. While brake problems saw him spin and ultimately retire, he should take much heart from the performance … But the star of the show was Robert Kubica, who became F1’s 99th race winner. While the question now rests over who might become the 100th winner, Kubica’s success has secured his already rising stock. He now leads the championship on 42 points, four ahead of Hamilton and Massa on 38, with Raikkonen on 35. He may have said in Monaco that he didn’t see himself as a title contender, but the championship table and Canadian Grand Prix podium paints a different picture altogether. 29