12
Jun
11

2011 Canadian GP

That was — eventually — a pretty great race.

First of all, Jenson Button.  When the man gets in the groove, he can fly, and he was surely in the groove today — on intermediates before the red flag and on slicks after the restart.  He wrung some incredible pace out of the McLaren, and seemed a lot more comfortable out on a drying track than anyone else.  (The two, of course, are related.)  Kudos to him for a well-deserved win.

Vettel, by comparison, was quick on the wet track but seemed a bit hesitant as the dry line formed, taking very slow out-laps on inters and slicks after the restart.  I suppose that’s only natural, given that the teams have very little experience with the intermediate tires and with the Pirellis in changing conditions in general.  In the end I don’t think it hurt him as much as the last safety-car restart: Vettel kept generating huge gaps to P2, then watching them disappear behind the SLS AMG.

DRS didn’t annoy me nearly as much as I expected, but it was still annoying.  The late-race battle between Schumi, Webber, and Button featured some solid defensive driving by the first two, and Webber made it pretty clear that passing under DRS isn’t as simple as “press button, drive around”.  On the other hand, Button made quick work of both Webber and Schumacher when he got a clean drive out of l’Epingle, which takes some of the emphasis away from racecraft and surely allowed him to work his way up for the win.  Furthermore, Massa’s DRS-enabled photo finish over Kobayashi rubs me very much the wrong way.  Stylized “don’t be in the lead on the last lap” passes like that annoy the hell out of me in restrictor-plate and Indy-car oval racing, and the fact that the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has right-hand turns doesn’t make me any less annoyed.

That said, there was plenty of passing elsewhere on the track, aided by the drying-but-still-slippery track, and that was plenty satisfying.  There were also plenty of “racing incidents”, and this time I thought the stewards displayed appropriate restraint.

Finally, I think this is the best form we’ve seen out of Michael Schumacher since he made his comeback last year.  Good to see him get back up to speed, and I hope that continues.  Both Mercedes and Renault looked quick this weekend, and I surely don’t mind the pair of them giving Red Bull, McLaren, and Ferrari some competition at the front of the pack.

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