The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Hamilton's F1 championship hopes take a blow after being forced to retire

  • Print

MONTREAL - Lewis Hamilton's Formula One championship hopes took a serious blow in Montreal.

Hamilton lost more ground to Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg after being forced to retire from the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon due to brake failure.

Against all expectations, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo took the checkered flag for his first grand prix win, followed closely behind by Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.

Rosberg's second-place finish gave him an additional 18 points for 140 on the year, and the lead in the championship standings. Hamilton remains in second place, 22 points behind his teammate.

It all started to unravel on lap 46 for Hamilton, who started the race in second place and spent most of the day challenging Rosberg for the lead. Both men entered the pits for a soft-tire change, giving Felipe Massa the lead — the first car other than a Mercedes to lead at a grand prix this year.

Exiting the pits, Hamilton rejoined just ahead of Rosberg. On that same lap, the 2008 world champion ran wide at the hairpin and was passed by Rosberg, with their two cars seemingly making contact. Looking to immediately retake his teammate, Hamilton cut the corner, running over the chicane in the process.

That's when smoke began to emerge from the back of Hamilton's car, which subsequently lost a lot of speed. A technical issue with the engine overheated the Mercedes' rear brakes, and the active driver with the best record at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was forced to retire.

It was Hamilton's second retirement of the year after leaving the Australian Grand Prix on lap three when one of his cylinders failed.

"When you have DNFs (Did Not Finish), it's hard to fight for a world championship," said Hamilton, who watched the latter half of the race from the team paddock. "I lost some points now to Nico. I just have to keep my head up, look forward to the next race and hope that I come back strong."

Hamilton says he was still rooting for Rosberg after leaving the track despite the widening gap between both Mercedes cars in the standings.

"Every point will matter," said Hamilton. "But you know, these are experiences we learn as a team. We get stronger, and whatever happened today, we learn from our mistakes."

The Mercedes race cars, winners of every F1 event this year and seemingly impervious prior to the Canadian Grand Prix, gave Hamilton and Rosberg trouble all day.

On lap 37, both drivers reported a slight loss of speed and power, their lap times dipping two seconds below their best. The slowdown, cause by a malfunction in the cars' Energy Recovery Systems, allowed the trailing pack to gain some ground. On lap 44, the Mercedes team told Rosberg over radio that they couldn't do anything to resolve the issue.

Hamilton said the team was expecting some difficulties at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve because it is a course that demands hard braking.

"We thought that we would be okay to manage it," he said. "And that is why we were going at the pace we were going. When I jumped (Rosberg) in the stop, I was thinking, 'Wow, what an amazing feeling.' Then straight away that lap, the brakes failed. There was nothing I could do."

"It was very worrying in that moment because we have the same car and we were both trying to manage our brakes already. It didn't happen on my car, fortunately."

On the final lap of the race, with Ricciardo guaranteed victory, Felipe Massa made a final push for the podium, but was taken out by Sergio Perez in the process.

Having already passed Vettel, and gunning for third, Massa was in a good position to overtake Perez on the inside into the first corner. But the Force India driver changed his racing line at the last second, turning slightly left into Massa, enough for the cars' wheels to catch.

Both drivers were sent flying into the wall with a tremendous impact. They were then given preliminary medical checks at the track, and were subsequently taken to a local hospital as a precautionary measure. They were discharged shortly thereafter.

A few hours after the accident, Formula One stewards judged Perez was at fault for the crash, and hit the Mexican driver with a five-place grid penalty to take effect in the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix.

Notes: Hamilton has the best record at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve amongst active drivers with three victories. … The track temperature was 45 degrees Celsius at the start of the race. … This was Kimi Raikkonen's 200th career Grand Prix race. … The top-10 drivers started the race on supersoft tires. … The race was interrupted on the first lap when Marussia teammates Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi collided after just three corners.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Maurice Leggett on his three interceptions vs. Alouettes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • June 24, 2012 - 120624  -  Amusement riders on the last day of The Ex Sunday June 24, 2012.    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press
  • July 1, 2012 - 120701  -   Canada Day fireworks at The Forks from the Norwood Bridge Sunday, July 1, 2012.    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

View More Gallery Photos


How many wins do you think the Bombers will finish with this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google