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FORMULA 1 star Lewis Hamilton won the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal
Hamilton becomes the record seventh different driver from the opening seven races to take the chequered flag this season.
1 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
2 Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
3 Sergio Perez (Sauber)
4 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
5 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
6 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
7 Mark Webber (Red Bull)
8 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
The world of Formula 1 heads to the Americas for the first time in 2012 this week for the Canadian Grand Prix. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is named after one of the most exciting drivers of all time, and the races it produces are usually among the best of any given season.
The race, which is scheduled to take place over 70 laps, will be the seventh round of the 2012 Formula One season, and the first of two North American rounds. It will be the 49th Canadian Grand Prix, and the 33rd to be held at the circuit since its début on the calendar in 1978.
Last year’s grand prix was packed with action all the way to the final lap. The race was won by McLaren driver Jenson Button who overtook Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel on the last lap, making a total of 34 passes throughout the race. The race made new records with it being the longest in Formula One history, lasting 4 hours 4 minutes and 39 seconds after the race was suspended for approximately two hours due to heavy rain. The safety car was also deployed six times, which broke the record for the most times a safety car has been deployed in a single race.
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
The circuit, at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Notre-Dame, a man-made island in the St. Lawrence River that is part of the city of Montreal, was originally named the Île Notre-Dame Circuit. It was renamed in honour of Canadian Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve, father of Jacques Villeneuve, following his death in 1982.
Barriers run close to the circuit and many experienced drivers have been caught out by them. A particularly famous part of the circuit is the wall on the outside of the exit of the final chicane before the start/finish straight. In 1999 the wall, which bears the name Bienvenue au Québec (“Welcome to Quebec”) giving it the nickname “Mur du Québec” (Quebec Wall), ended the race of three Formula One World Champions, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve along with FIA GT champion Ricardo Zonta. Since then the wall has been nicknamed “The Wall of Champions”. In recent years 2009 world champion Jenson Button (2005) and 2010 World Champion Sebastian Vettel (2011) have also fallen victim to the wall. Juan Pablo Montoya (2006) and Vitantonio Liuzzi (2007) have also crashed there, while in 2010, Kamui Kobayashi also collided with the wall.
As part of Parc Jean-Drapeau, the Circuit is open to visitors, between races, for walking, running, biking, in-line skating, and of course, driving.
Sebastian Vettel`s last lap skid at the Canadian Grand Prix last year was a minor diversion on his way to the 2011 Formula One championship. Now he has a chance to make up for that rare mistake.
Vettel earned the pole position for the Canadian GP on Saturday, finishing qualifying with a fastest lap of 1 minute, 13.784 seconds that was more than a quarter-second faster than No. 2 qualifier Lewis Hamilton. It is the 32nd pole position of Vettel`s career, and his second straight at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
“This track is very special,“ Vettel said. “It would be a great race to win, for sure.“
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:13.784
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:14.087
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:14.151
4 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:14.346
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:14.411
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:14.465
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:14.645
8 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:14.705
9 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:14.812
10 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.182
Montreal (French: Montréal) is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada. Originally called Ville-Marie, or “City of Mary”, the city takes its present name from Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill located in the heart of the city. The city proper covers most of the Island of Montreal at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers. French is the city’s official language and is also the language spoken at home by the majority of the population in the city of Montréal followed by English.
Old Montreal (French: Vieux-Montréal) is a historic area located southeast of downtown containing many different attractions such as the Old Port of Montreal, Place Jacques-Cartier, Montreal City Hall, the Bonsecours Market, Place d’Armes, Pointe-à-Callière Museum, the Notre-Dame de Montréal Basilica, and the Montreal Science Centre.
Few places embrace their Grand Prix as enthusiastically as Montreal. The city grinds to a halt over the race weekend as fans from around the world descend on Quebec for a non-stop party. Formula One fever – street parties, driver appearances and F1 exhibitions – is focused in one area of town: Rue Ste Catherine. It is the focal point at which race fans can meet. But there is plenty to see and do elsewhere because Montreal seamlessly mixes the old with the new. There is the 400-year-old charm of ‘Vieux Montreal’, which sits in surprising harmony with the grid pattern and skyscrapers of the modern city.
Locals still idolise Gilles Villeneuve, father of 1997 world champion Jacques, who won the city’s inaugural Grand Prix in 1978 and after whom the circuit on the Ile Notre-Dame is named.
“Montreal is a great city,” says Jacques Villeneuve. “The people are very friendly and there is lots to do. Then, of course, you have to visit my club, Newtown – Thursday night is a good night, but the food is really good all the time.”
Where to go?
For good shopping, lively nightlife and lots of Formula One excitement head to Rue Ste Catherine. It has an abundance of everything. Try out a restaurant called Le Queue du Cheval. The food’s excellent, but that’s not the reason for the recommendation. In 2005, F1 veteran Jarno Trulli persuaded the restaurateur to stock his very own Podere Castorani wine – and very good it is too.