Once again the Canadian Grand Prix delivered a spectacular race that was characterised by multiple safety cars and high drama, where the tyres played a central role. After a prolonged red flag period due to torrential rain, McLaren driver Jenson Button claimed his first win of the year, having used three different types of tyre from the Pirelli PZero Formula One range.
Button passed Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel on the final lap to win the race, despite a collision with his team mate, a drive-through penalty, and five pit stops: which at one point in the race put the Englishman as low as 21st. Nonetheless, the correct strategy calls in the constantly changing conditions – as well as a fantastic drive – enabled him to 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.
But the rain returned just over half an hour after the race started, bringing out the safety car. Shortly afterwards, on lap 24, the race was red-flagged as conditions were 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: the final battle for the podium was definitely one of our highlights of the year so far.”
Pit stop summary – 2011 Canadian Grand Prix
|Button:||WN||IN (8)||DT (13)||WN (19)||WN||IU (35)||IN (37)||SSU (51)||6|
|Vettel:||WN||WN (20)||WU||IN (37)||SSU (53)||3|
|Webber:||WN||WN (20)||WU||IN (36)||SSU (50)||3|
|Schumacher:||WU||IU (18)||WU (21)||WU||IN (34)||SSN (52)||4|
|Petrov:||WN||WN||IN (36)||SSU (53)||2|
|Massa:||WN||WN (21)||WU||IN (36)||SSU (53)||SSU (54)||4|
|Kobayashi:||WN||WN||IN (36)||SSU (53)||2|
|Alguersuari:||WN||WN (19)||WN||IN (33)||SSU (51)||3|
|Barrichello:||WN||IN (15)||WN (19)||WU||IN (34)||SSN (50)||4|
|Buemi:||WU||IN (17)||WN (20)||WN||IN (34)||SSN (50)||4|
|Rosberg:||WN||IU (17)||WU (19)||WN||IN (36)||SSN (53)||4|
|De La Rosa:||WN||WN||IN (35)||SSN (53)||2|
|Liuzzi:||WN||WN (9)||WU||IN (35)||SSN (52)||3|
|D’Ambrosio:||WN||IN (17)||WN (23)||WN||IN (33)||DT (36)||SSN (52)||5|
|Glock:||WN||WN||IN (34)||SSN (51)||2|
|Trulli:||WN||WN (19)||WU||IN (36)||SSN (52)||SSU (55)||4|
|Karthikeyan:||WN||WN||IN (37)||SSN (51)||2|
|Di Resta:||WN||WN||IN (35)||IN (43)||IN (50)||SSN (53)||4|
|Maldonado:||WN||IN (17)||WN (19)||WN||IU (35)||SSN (51)||SSU (61)||5NC|
|Heidfeld:||WN||WN||IN (35)||SSU (52)||2NC|
|Sutil:||WN||IN (16)||WN||IN (34)||DT (45)||IN (49)||4NC|
|Alonso:||WN||IN (17)||WN (17)||WN||IN (36)||3NC|
The first column denotes the tyres the driver started the race on.
S = Soft compound
SS = Super Soft compound
W = Wet tyre
I = Intermediate tyre
N = New compound
U = Used compound
DT = Drive through
NC = Not classified
The last column gives the total amount of pit stops.
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