Toros rise to the occasion in the rain – CANADA 2011

Rain is always a popular topic in Formula 1 circles and in the build up to just about every race on the calendar, a website can be found predicting terrible conditions for race day.

Toros rise to the occasion in the rain – CANADA 2011

 

In the vast majority of cases, the forecast turns out to be wrong, but today it seems we got an entire season’s worth of water in one go. Having opted for settings that would have better suited dry conditions on Jaime’s car during Qualifying, the decision was taken to inform the FIA we wished to start him from the pit lane, rather than his eighteenth place grid position. This means the car can be worked on and so, its settings were changed to suit the rain which had started to fall intermittently on Montreal as from Saturday night.

The race began behind the Safety Car which stayed out for four laps and one lap after that Jaime had moved up from the back of the pack to twenty second. On lap 6, Sébastien lost a place to Barrichello to go sixteenth, but after Hamilton had to park his McLaren on the side of the track, when he drove into his team-mate Button, the Safety Car reappeared, by which time Jaime was 20th. The race was back underway on lap 13 and Jaime soon passed both Lotus cars to go 17th. Out in front, Vettel still led from pole followed by Alonso, Massa and the two Mercedes. By lap 18, as others pitted Jaime was up to 13th, Sébastien having changed tyres on lap 17. However, the rain then got so heavy that conditions were deemed too dangerous even to run behind the Safety Car which came out on lap 20 and the race was red flagged on lap 25, after 45 minutes of racing. At this point, Vettel led from Kobayashi, who had not changed tyres and Massa was third, with Jaime 14th and Sébastien 18th.

The race restarted behind the Safety Car and Sébastien was one of the first to switch to intermediate tyres on lap 34, followed by his team-mate one lap later. Lap 37 saw the Safety Car back in action as Alonso crashed out, having collided with Button, who had to pit with a puncture and at this point Jaime was up to 13th, one place ahead of Séb. Three laps later and the race was on again and the excitement continued with collisions for Rosberg, Sutil and Di Resta so that Jaime moved up to 11th and Sébastien to 13th, although our Spanish driver dropped a place as Button was climbing his way back up through the field.

Finally, with 20 laps to go, a dry line appeared on the track and drivers began to come in for slicks. While Vettel was alone out in front, behind him, Massa was all over second placed Kobayashi, but as these two tripped up over one another Schumacher took both of them to make it a short-lived German one-two. As Massa needed to change the nose on his Ferrari, Jaime was now ninth and then eighth after Heidfeld retired after tripping over his own front wing, following a collision with Kobayashi. This meant it was time for yet another Safety Car and when it pitted with ten laps to go, there was a fantastic battle for second place between Schumacher, Webber and Button and Jaime was doing his best to fight off Massa, but on lap 65 he had to let the Ferrari man pass. For a while it did not look as though our Swiss driver was going to add to his points tally, but when Rosberg was in trouble, tenth place came his way. Out in front, Button then began an assault on Vettel which paid off on the final lap. The Englishman is now second in the Drivers’ table, 60 points behind the Red Bull driver, whose team still has a massive 69-point lead over McLaren in the Constructors’ classification. It was an unforgettable day, for Toro Rosso, for Button, but most of all for the sport.