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GP Week : Issue 120
McLaren were the luckiest team in the pitlane on Sunday evening in Montreal after coming away with an unlikely victory having come so close to a double retirement in a collision involving both their cars. Although Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire as a result of the contact, team- mate Button went on to take a stunning victory, moving him into second place in the drivers’ championship. Having started ahead of Button on the grid, contact with Webber at the first corner when racing resumed after the first safety car put Hamilton behind his team-mate. Three laps later and Hamilton was right on the tail of Button, and after a slow exit from the last chicane, Hamilton mounted a challenge for sixth place. However Button didn’t see his team-mate coming up on the outside and, while taking the normal racing line, unknowingly closed the door on Lewis, forcing him into the pitwall and causing terminal damage to the MP4-26. Although the stewards did see fit to investigate the incident after the race, they deemed that Button had not seen Hamilton coming up on the outside before moving across the track to take the racing line. Like the stewards, McLaren team personnel took the view that the collision had been a pure racing incident, and Button was able to keep his win. “In our view it was just a racing incident, and both Lewis and Jenson share that view,” said team principal Martin Whitmarsh. “So did the FIA stewards, who did an excellent job in tricky conditions today. Sometimes an accident is no-one’s fault, and this was one of those occasions.” Hamilton was also sure that his team- mate hadn’t moved across the track on him intentionally. “It felt to me like I was halfway alongside him down the pits straight – but, as he probably hadn’t spotted me, he continued moving across on the racing line,” he said after retiring. “ There was no room for me, so I hit the wall. Of course, I don’t think it was intentional: I know Jenson well enough and I know he wouldn’t do that. He’s a good guy.” Michael Schumacher was left with mixed emotions after coming home a season- best fourth place, drawing him level with team-mate Nico Rosberg on points. However, having run in second place with just five laps to go, the German was left to ponder what might have been after one of the best drives since his 2010 comeback. Starting eighth, Schumacher made immediate progress to fifth once racing began, but erroneously pitted for intermediates in the middle of a lull in the showers early in the race. An early pitstop for intermediates on lap 34 turned his race around though, as he was catapulted up to seventh place. A handful of overtaking manoeuvres later and he was sitting second with Webber and Button breathing down his neck. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to hang on to any podium position, and lost places to his chasers thanks to the DRS on the long back straight. “I am leaving this race with one eye laughing and one eye crying, as I am not sure if I should be excited or sad about it,” said Schumacher after the race. “Having been in second place towards the end, I would obviously have loved to finish there and be on the podium again. But even if it did not work out in the very end, we can be happy about the result and the big fight we put in. “A good strategy after the red flag made it possible, and I am very happy for our team. “I would also like to send a big compliment out to the spectators who stayed with us in those difficult circumstances for so long and even cheered us up. That was impressive, and I am glad that I could play my part in entertaining them.” Missed ... by that much! McLaren says no-one to blame FIA stewards agree F1 CANADA >> 27