Formula One comes and goes when it comes to racing North America. While new grands prix are slated for Texas and New Jersey, the Canadian Grand Prix has – with few exceptions – been a steady event on the F1 calendar.
Heading into Montreal, Ferrari pilot Fernando Alonso was just ahead of defending champion Sebastian Vettel in the standings, with Lewis Hamilton in third ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Mark Webber, Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg. But would Alonso be able to hold on to his lead in pursuit of his third title, or would he be pipped by one of his eager competitors? Keep reading to find out.
Related Gallery2012 Canadian Grand Prix
Once Saturday's qualifying was complete Vettel found himself on pole alongside Hamilton, followed by Alonso, Webber, Rosberg, Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean, Paul di Resta, Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button, with Raikkonen in twelfth behind Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi. Every driver on the grid managed to come in below the qualifying threshold to start the race as planned, but Williams ace Pastor Maldonado was relegated to the back of the field after hitting the wall in qualifying and changing his gearbox.
Once the race got underway the four leaders held position while Mercedes prodigy Paul di Resta steered his Force India past the Lotus of Romain Grosjean. Felipe Massa showed he had more fight left in him as he briefly passed Nico Rosberg on the third lap for sixth place, but then spun out, dropped to twelfth, went into the pits and rejoined in twentieth. Meanwhile, up at the front, Vettel held his lead but Hamilton and Alonso weren't letting him get away with much as Webber drifted behind in fourth.
After the first round of pit stops – the only round for some drivers – Alonso emerged in the lead ahead of Hamilton and Vettel, but the McLaren driver soon took the Ferrari thanks in no small part to the DRS rear wing.
Narain Karthikeyan became the first to retire when his HRT spun out on lap 24, soon to be followed by his teammate, Pedro de la Rosa. Schumacher found his DRS stuck open a few laps later and retired into the Mercedes garage, with Timo Glock joining them later on as his Marussia made the final retirement of the day.
Hamilton would eventually pit, surrendering his lead to Alonso with Vettel in tow. But the McLaren driver didn't hold off for long. With fresh rubber he soon caught Alonso, whose worn tires subsequently dropped him behind Grosjean and Vettel, too.
And so Lewis Hamilton became the seventh race winner in as many races this season, which is shaping up as one of the most contentious in history. Grosjean and Perez took the remaining podium positions, with Vettel, Alonso, Rosberg, Webber, Raikkonen, Kobayashi and Massa taking the remaining points.
The results leave Hamilton in the lead with 88 points to Alonso's 86 and Vettel's 85 in a hotly contested battle atop the standings. The constructors' standings, however, are far more stable as Red Bull holds the lead with 164 points to McLaren's 133, Lotus' 108 and Ferrari's 97. The circus sets sail back across the Atlantic for the European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain, in two weeks.