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GP Week : Issue 86
Team-By-Team: Canadian Gra Team principal Martin Whitmarsh may not have been banking on a victory in Canada at the weekend, but anything other than maximum points would have been a massive disappointment for the team on a track that should have played right into their F- duct hands. Even though tyres proved to be the talk of the day, McLaren eventually got the upper hand and scored a promising 1-2 finish to retake the lead of the drivers' championship and extend their constructors' title advantage. However, Ferrari were a lot closer to them on race pace than was expected, and McLaren may even have stayed behind Alonso had he not run into traffic problems. Red Bull's crumbling reliability record continued to hamper them in Canada, as both Vettel and Webber were compromised by gearbox issues. Webber had to drop from second to seventh after an unscheduled gearbox change on Sunday morning, while Vettel had to limp to the finish with a gearbox leaking oil. Their decision to start the race on the more durable medium compound didn't pay off and they were unable to match the sheer pace of McLaren and Ferrari at the front. The team also tried to differ their tyre strategy during the race, but could not make up the ground to challenge for the podium. The team was surprised to be as close to the McLarens as they were, however. Robert Kubica kept his points tally ticking over with a solid if unspectacular seventh place. He said it was the toughest six points he has ever scored, after suffering with rear tyre degradation for much of the race. He opted for three stints on the medium compound before pitting late on for a short stint on the super-softs, and despite his best efforts he was unable to challenge Rosberg for sixth. Team-mate Petrov endured a penalty-stricken afternoon, first for a causing a collision off the line and then for a jump start. He eventually finished two laps behind and was even beaten to the flag by Heikki Kovalainen in the Lotus. Nico Rosberg avoided some major embarassment at Mercedes GP at the weekend after rescuing a sixth place finish in what was an otherwise disastrous event for the constructors' champions. Although Rosberg's fastest lap was the third fastest of the race overall, he finished almost a minute down on winner Hamilton in a car that was very hard on its tyres. Nico said sixth was the maximum he could have achieved. Team-mate Schumacher finished outside the points in 11th after kerfuffles with numerous drivers on-track, including Kubica and Massa. He ran 37 laps on the super-soft tyre for his final stint and was unable to resist Force India's Liuzzi and Sutil on the final lap, dropping him from ninth. Williams endured their third non-scoring race in succession this weekend, with Nico Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello finishing 13th and 14th after incident-filled races. Barrichello's points-scoring chances were ruined on lap 11 after a collision with Jaime Alguersuari (Jaime was subsequently reprimanded), resulting in temporary brake problems, although he did recover to 14th. Although Hulkenberg's race started well with him jumping from 12th to 9th on the first lap, he lost his front wing in a collision with Sutil on lap 6, forcing an unscheduled stop, before he copped a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane. A points finish would otherwise have been possible. Fernando Alonso can be rightly aggrieved at finishing just third in Canada on Sunday, after losing places to Hamilton and Button due to lapped traffic at different stages of the race. The Spaniard was in contention right from the start and re-emerged from his first pitstop ahead of Hamilton although he lost the place later in the stint. He should then have retaken the place after their second pitstops but ran into trouble when lapping a Lotus, resulting in him resuming behind Hamilton once again. He then dropped to third in the final 15 laps when Button nipped past after he lost speed behind Karun Chandhok's HRT. Massa's race was ruined from the first corner when he collided with Liuzzi, but should have finished ninth only to collide with Schumacher in the final laps. 34