Prolonged Canadian GP provides Pirelli F1 “highlight”
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has labelled the much-delayed and exciting closing stages of a sodden Canadian Grand Prix “one of our highlights of the year so far” as Jenson Button applied just enough pressure to draw a mistake from Sebastian Vettel on the final lap to take victory for the McLaren team. The Grand Prix provided a showcase for Pirelli’s PZero Orange full wet and its Blue intermediate tyres. Button survived a collision with teammate Lewis Hamilton – who had previously made contact with Mark Webber in his attempts to be aggressive – a drive-through penalty, and five pit stops to win, and had at one point occupied 21st place. The early strategy calls in constantly changing conditions helped Button win one of the most action-packed races of the year.
The race began in wet conditions behind the safety car for the first four laps, which meant that all the cars started on the PZero Orange full wet tyres: the first time that this has happened all year. Button was the first person to switch to the PZero Blue intermediate tyres on lap eight, giving the Italian intermediates their competition debut. The rain returned just over half an hour after the race started, bringing out the safety car until, on lap 24, the race was red-flagged as conditions were deemed undriveable. According to the rules, teams were allowed to change tyres and work on their cars while they waited for racing to resume.
The race restarted behind the safety car nearly two hours later, once again on the PZero Orange tyres. As conditions dried out, the leading runners moved onto intermediate tyres, then slick tyres. Button made a final stop for the PZero Red supersoft tyres on lap 51 to win the race by 2.7 seconds, having taken full advantage of one more safety car period with just 12 laps to go.
Vettel – who led every lap apart from the final one – finished second on the PZero Red supersoft tyres after three stops, while his team mate Mark Webber was third. The final eight laps saw a frenetic battle for the podium places, with Vettel defending from Button, Webber and Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher, before making a rare mistake.
At the finish, nearly four and a half hours after the race started, Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery said: “This was one of the most thrilling and unpredictable Grands Prix we have seen so far this season, with an amazing drive from Jenson Button and all three podium places decided on the very final lap. We finally got a wet race, which showcased the effectiveness of our PZero Orange full wet and also the PZero Blue intermediate tyre.
“Once the race re-started, it was very interesting for us to run the wet and intermediate tyre down to the crossover point, which we’ve never done before in competition: this proved to be a key point in the strategy as both Button and Vettel showed. We really enjoyed watching Kamui Kobayashi as well who delivered a fantastically spirited drive in a race that was well worth the wait.”