For some time this Montreal race is going to be talked long after for all the reasons right from the rains to the crashes to the last lap finish by Jenson Button and ofcourse for being the longest race in f1 history in the recent past. Even before the cars arrived at Montreal, there was a lot of action off the track. While the FIA and Formula One seemed to have blinked without realizing the implications of interchanging the Indian dates with Bahrain, we at Indian were a little too happy with the grand finale being hosted here and ofcourse only problem was going to be the dew factor forget that this is not cricket.
F1 as a circus has this habit of making news even during weekdays and it remained successful in creating a lot of news with the reinstatement of Bahrain GP, while the organizers seemed to have got the financial numbers right, the teams saw red and were upset with an extra race and more so with the political atmosphere at Bahrain. Not many would have forgotten the way they packed up mid way the testing at Bahrain driving across the road sighting many a battle tank and people protesting in the streets.
Coming back to Montreal we always knew going by the weather man’s report that it would be little unpredictable, but no one actually predicted the rain the way it poured. Someone said it was monsoon raging over an hour before the scheduled start and everyone on twitter were reporting that it was not going to get any less as the time approached.
Karun actually tweeted what’s the odd that the race could start with the safety car and end with one. Well the race started with the safety car with Vettel leading a train of cars. IT was damp and ofcourse they would have to get the heat into the tyre and safety car went in at Lap 5. The things looked going fine, then in 8th lap, coming out of a corner there were a clash of McLarens, you guessed it Lewis Hamilton almost ended both their races, going into his team mate, prompting Button to ask on the radio – ‘what was he (Lewis) doing?’ Another safety car!
After that the Ferrari made rapid strides with Alonso on the fast lap and also Massa gaining places. It was the week they had looked forward to all along the season with a nice qualifying on a Saturday afternoon. They did not want to miss it and their prayers went unanswered when the heavens opened up and the drivers complained that the visibility was almost nil. Button had worked up the order too. The safety car was called and then race was red flagged after 24 laps with the cars at the grid line, Vettel leading the race and Kabuyashi was cynosure of all eyes he was behind in P2.
All the while the fans were treated to quite a few interesting pictures via the twitter, from Karun to Karthikeyan to James Allen to the press wire it was all agog with F1. Lewis was almost condemned in no uncertain terms even before the race was officially deemed over. We saw Karthikeyan having a sip of coffee in the middle of the race. Some grid girls were doing their home work from school, how cute!
Else where down in America the NASCAR was going full throttle and one Jeff was making a mark again. And ofcourse the weekend also saw LeMans 24 hours happening.
The heavens didn’t relent for almost for almost two hours, prompting someone to say if they had planned a soccer match they would have had both the first half and second half over by then. People were waiting, the reporters had missed the deadline, the European fans were getting late for their bed. Meanwhile the cars had been fitted with full wet tyres as ordered by Race Control and safety car again led the train of the cars.
Then when the race began it was Schumacher rising like a phoenix only to be overtaken in the next few laps, it almost had sparks of a Mercedes renaissance a short-lived one though with DRS helping Webber. Alonso retired and a few laps later Massa after having contact with Narain also retired making it a forgettable weekend for Ferrari. In all this Button was going fast and with just few laps to go there was a safety car necessitate by the Heidfeld – Kobayashi contact. Now Button was going all over the cars in front of him and the car responded the way he wanted. Button overtook Schumi, then Webber and was gaining almost over a second and it was the last lap even before he could finish it the fans were pretty sure he had it in his bag, and it happened exactly.
Button had won and what a special win this one was taking it in the last lap of an incident filled race. It was worth the wait for all those fans in front of the TV sets and at the race. It was a moment which was a big advertisement for F1 because the races were getting monotonous and yes there is this human factor when it mattered the most for Button also for Vettel who erred a little and what a big difference it made. Well if you thought to err is human then it is Championship stuff to force it.
In the process, RedBull finished P2 and P3. Webber was happy and Schumacher was just off and was fourth. Waiting has its rewards literally, in all my watching the races for some years now this was perhaps the best one and the longest one I reckon. So there is more to come in the next few races we have a strong McLaren and a Ferrari which could make it a triangular contest, unless ofcourse Vettel takes a deep breath and finds inner peace!
R Senthilkumar Indian F1 fan