8 June 2008
Canada 2008: Kubica 'does a Hamilton' in Montreal.
Robert Kubica made history in the landmark 2008 Canadian Grand Prix – the 40th anniversary of the race's debut and its 30th appearance in Montreal – by doing just as Lewis Hamilton had done this time last year, and keeping his head whilst many around him lost theirs'.
On a chaotic day when drivers were being requested to stay away from the apexes at turns two, five and seven – with fears over the disintegrating track surface – and thunderstorms threatening (though happily never materialising), the Pole produced a supremely fast, composed and mature performance to secure his breakthrough Formula 1 victory at only his 29th attempt – at the track where just twelve months ago he had suffered the most terrifying crash of the season and one that kept him out of action for two weeks.
BMW-Sauber team-mate Nick Heidfeld made it a one-two for the Munich and Hinwil-based concern, with David Coulthard racing to the bottom step of the rostrum to deliver RBR their first podium of the campaign and kick-start his season with a vengeance.
Hamilton retained his pole position advantage as the lights went out to signal the start of the race, with no trouble through the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve's notorious opening two corners, though Fernando Alonso was forced over the kerbs as he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, surrendering a position to the aggressive Nico Rosberg in the process.
Also in aggressive mood was Felipe Massa, who in attempting to mitigate a tardy getaway forced McLaren rival Heikki Kovalainen out wide, the Finn consequently losing a place to Honda's Rubens Barrichello, though he would grab the position back again before the first lap was out.
Duelling similarly hard were the two Toyotas, repeatedly going side-by-side as Jarno Trulli found a way past team-mate Timo Glock, with Heidfeld the next to be frustrated by the fast-starting Barrichello, though the German would also make his way by the Brazilian before much longer, dropping the Honda back into the clutches of Kazuki Nakajima's Williams and the Red Bull Racing pairing of Mark Webber and Coulthard.
With Hamilton pulling away out front to the tune of four tenths of a second a lap, and Kimi Raikkonen making precious little impression on second-placed Kubica, Massa was looking the raciest as he began to pile the pressure on Rosberg and Alonso just ahead of him.
Indeed, the Brazilian's attentions on the back of Alonso allowed Rosberg some breathing space, whilst Ferrari team-mate Raikkonen was almost a full eight seconds adrift of Hamilton with only nine laps run. Further back, the under-pressure Nelsinho Piquet put a good move on Glock into turn one for 14th spot, leaving Trulli just ahead the next man in the Renault rookie's sights.
A brave move up the inside of the hairpin from a long way back – giving Trulli the option of either getting swiftly out of the way or else coming together – earned the 22-year-old 13th place, as he threatened to begin turning his season around in much the same manner as did his predecessor Kovalainen this time last year, though the Finn was enjoying no such good fortune this time around, coming under increasing pressure from Heidfeld behind and lagging some 22 seconds adrift of team-mate Hamilton.
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