Kovalainen resists Petrov’s attack (Canadian Grand Prix analysis)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Massa was on course for eighth place before his collision with Schumacher
Massa was on course for eighth place before his collision with Schumacher

How did Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus keep Vitaly Petrov behind for ten laps? Why did Michael Schumacher try to go half the race distance on a set of super-soft tyres? And where would Felipe Massa have finished if he hadn’t tangled with Schumacher?

Examine the Canadian Grand Prix in detail with the interactive data below.

Lap 1

Lap 1 position change
Lap 1 position change (click to enlarge)

While the top four held their places at the start two collisions mixed up the field behind them. Felipe Massa and Vitantonio Liuzzi tangled, and Vitaly Petrov comprehensively took out Pedro de la Rosa.

Kamui Kobayashi was among those to profit from this, gaining eight places at the start before sticking his Sauber into the ‘Wall of Champions’.

Pit stops

Pit stops
Pit stops (click to enlarge)

Teams tried a variety of strategies to cope with the rate at which the super-soft tyres were deteriorating on the low-grip surface – and the higher than expected temperatures which also changed the behaviour of the tyres.

Ultimately it seems the best strategy was to start the race on the super-softs, then switch to mediums and a further set of mediums. This was the strategy adopted by the top three finishers.

Mark Webber left his super-soft stint until last, forcing a long middle stint on the medium compound tyres in which he lost a lot of time.

Robert Kubica ran a similar strategy and came close to recovering the place he lost to Nico Rosberg – he was just 1.2 seconds behind the Mercedes at the end having caught Rosberg at up to a second per lap.

Michael Schumacher was in a similar position but opted for an early switch to super-soft tyres. That left him trying to complete more than half the race on a set of super-soft tyres – and some rather desperate attempts to keep rivals behind him.

Race progress

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Tick/untick drivers? names to show their laps, click and drag to zoom

Heikki Kovalainen did a fine job keeping Vitaly Petrov behind in the closing stages.

The Renault driver had the benefit of fresher super-soft tyres when he caught the Lotus with ten laps to go. But Kovalainen kept Petrov behind and crossed the line just half a second ahead of the R30. It’s further evidence of the impressive progress being made by Lotus.

Looking at Felipe Massa’s line it seems he would have had a good chance of passing Sebastien Buemi to finish eighth had he not collided with Schumacher.

Drivers’ lap times

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The lap times chart shows the extent of the Red Bull duo’s problems at the end of the race. The pair backed off by up to six seconds per lap, despite which Nico Rosberg was still 16 seconds behind at the finishing line.

It also shows how much time Michael Schumacher lost on his badly worn super-soft tyres, beginning around lap 47.

Lap chart

Lap chart
Lap chart (click to enlarge)

The Canadian Grand Prix had four different leaders including – for one lap only – Sebastien Buemi.

2010 Canadian Grand Prix

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