F1 2012 Grand Prix Du Canada

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve: The seventh race of the season took place at the Montreal, Quebec race track which is uniquely situated on a man-made island on the St. Lawrence River which was originally constructed for the 1967 exposition. The race is scheduled for 18 laps on the 4.36km circuit making a total distance of 78.5km and 252 turns.

Montréal is a quick and tight track with several barriers running close to the racing surface. The most notable boundary being the “Mur du Quebec” wall (now called “The Wall of Champions”) which has claimed several drivers champions during the course of multiple race events. The street circuit consists of a number of slow corners contrasted by extended straights, the longest being an incredible 1km in total length.

Sunny skies and clear weather are predicted across all three sessions and my objectives for the weekend are to qualify 6th and to finish the race in 3rd position or better.

Prerace and Qualifying

My teammate Daniel Ricciardo is presently in 17th position and P1 on the team while I am leading the Drivers’ Championship but in P2. The win in Monte Carlo at the previous race improved my final standing on form from 3rd to 2nd, but has not affected my place on the team as second driver.

There is a weird anomaly here in that the car shown in the background is not always my specific ride, or team as in this case.

During the practice session I am afforded the opportunity to gain an additional upgrade which will reduce drag by 5%.

This is not a concern for me as I am used to running the opening sessions with DRS (Drag Reduction System) employed at every opportunity to increase speed and decrease lap times.

Three laps were run during practice on the R&D stint using the yellow option tire and I finished with a session best time of 1:19.678, 1.523 ahead of second place Nico Hülkenberg.

The first qualifying segment was run using the red option tire and I would improve my time to 1:19.254, but would lose the top spot to Nico by 0.018 seconds.

During the second qualifying session I would improve my time yet again to 1:19.016, but fall further down the standings to P5 at 0.234 seconds off of the leader. This however was enough to get me into the shootout.

The final qualifying segment was also run on the red option tire and I slipped a bit to 1:19.093, but retained P5 on the starting grid, 0.392 off of the pole sitter Sebastian Vettel.

Race Strategy

Two races prior at the Circuit de Catalunya I was held in the pits after my stop was complete for a total time of 13.921 and I was not able to figure it out until I read a post in the F1 2014 forum about a perceived bug in these games where if you enter the pits with other cars in close proximity you will be held until everyone completes their stop and is allowed to go before you (talk about a game killing bug). 

While it seemed to me that other drivers were also being held in the pits, I could not determine the cause, and that post is the closest I have come to explaining what happened. As a result I am trying something new here: adjusting my pit stop from lap eight to lap 10 in an attempt to pit away from other drivers to avoid this possible issue from occurring again.

The tradeoff is the increased wear on the tires (even one extra lap can make a huge difference).

Track Overview

I have P5 on the grid while my teammate Daniel Ricciardo is in P9. Note in the track image how close the first turn is to the start finish line.

Event Information

Beautiful weather across the board should allow for a decent race unaffected by the subtleties of the dynamic weather program.

Research and Development

Previously I gained the Suspension Arm Improvement (which increases mechanical grip by 10%) at the Chinese Grand Prix in week three, and this weekend I added the Rear Wing Update upgrade (which reduces drag by 5%).

Car Setup

I am leaving everything in place for the race regarding the setup package and am content to run the race with the DRS improvement and the adjustment to the pit stop.

Race Laps 1-5

For the first time this season I chose not to employ KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) at the start of the race due to the close proximity of the first turn to the start finish line (I would save it for the long 1km Casino Straight backstretch).

This does not hamper my progress towards the front as I am able to maintain position between the two Lotus cars through the Virage Senna (turns one and two).

This also allows me to pass Kimi Räikkönen through the turn and challenge Lewis Hamilton for P3.

Here at the beginning of sector two heading into turn six I would make a risky move by throwing my vehicle into the turn and taking the position from Hamilton, for which I would earn a stern rebuke from my crew chief (full flags are on so it was just a hair before receiving an actual penalty).

Normally I wait until the end of an event before I start trying to lose a race (sarcasm), but here in Canada I seem ready willing and able to do it on the first lap.

I was consistently fast through sectors one and two, and here through the tight hairpin at turn 10 I managed to close on Vettel running in P2.

Unfortunately I was just as consistent in sector three but not in a good way, here in particular with “The Wall of Champions” which I would glance off of negating and otherwise terrific lap.

DRS would be enabled at the beginning at lap three, and with having the upgrade reducing drag by 5% and the long Casino Straight, I was hoping to use it to setup a pass.

However I could never get within one second of the car in front of me while in the DRS zone to actually use it in race conditions which was very disappointing.

Running up on the turns three and four chicane Vettel would leave the door open on the outside which I would seize to take over P2.

However down the long back straight he would be close enough to employ DRS to sail past me heading into turn 12.

As we are approaching the 100m marker on the left Vettel holds his line and does not move in front of me to block my approach to the turn.

This proves to be a costly mistake as I hold the throttle down to the last possible moment before out-braking him through the incredibly tight chicane leading onto the front stretch to again take over P2.

Lap Time Results

Lap 1: 1:29.360 (P3) 
Lap 2: 1:22.260 (P3) 
Lap 3: 1:22.015 (P3) DRS Enabled
Lap 4: 1:22.877 (P2) 
Lap 5: 1:20.950 (P2)

Race Laps 6-10

During the previous lap five I would achieve the fastest lap of the race to this point.

However I was still lagging some two seconds back from frontrunner Mark Webber and never close enough to employ the DRS upgrade on the Casino Straight.

Here on lap eight is the glamour shot of the race as the car is entering the tight hairpin at turn 10.

On lap nine Webber would pit allowing me to take over P1 while passing him. The two cars running directly behind me would also pit during this lap.

On lap 10 my crew chief would give the order to pit at the end of the lap. While not being able to successfully close on Webber in the previous laps, I would need his team to have a poor stop and my team to have a great stop in order to have any chance of maintaining the lead.

Unfortunately today would not be the day for that as the team puts up a mediocre at best time of 4.390. I will need to run a perfect race from here on out and hope that Webber experiences some difficulty to be able to catch him for the lead.

Lap Time Results

Lap 6: 1:22.277 (P2)
Lap 7: 1:22.118 (P2)
Lap 8: 1:22.173 (P2)
Lap 9: 1:22.144 (P1)
Lap 10: 1:35.632 (P2) Pit Entrance Lap

Race Laps 11-15

Exiting pit road into Virage Senna (turns one and two) the track is empty as Webber is long gone.

On lap 13 I would post a fastest lap of 1:20.920, but Sebastian Vettel running directly behind me in third would improve upon that time with a circuit of 1:20.875. At this point I am no longer racing to catch Webber, but struggling to stay ahead of Vettel.

Lap Time Results

Lap 11: 1:23.047 (P2) Pit Exit Lap
Lap 12: 1:21.168 (P2)
Lap 13: 1:20.920 (P2)
Lap 14: 1:20.883 (P2)
Lap 15: 1:21.071 (P2)

Race Laps 16-20

I would have a terrible sector two during lap 16 at 0.880 off of the race pace which allowed Vettel to close on me.

At the end of the lap Timo Glock would have an off (just under the crane at the left edge of the image) which might have caused Vettel an issue if he tried to pass me through the final chicane and onto the front stretch.

On lap 17 I would have again have a terrible sector two at 0.871 off of the race pace which allowed Vettel to tuck in behind my rear wing setting up this pass on the outside using DRS down the long Casino Straight.

Had he maintained that outside line I would have been forced to yield the position, but he begins a slight drift to the right.

Perhaps putting the entire season up to this point on the line, I move my car to the left and hold the throttle wide open which allows me to come alongside.

It was all or nothing at this point as I was not about to give in to the four time champion.

I will never know if he yielded the spot or what, but I managed to put myself in a halfway decent place to navigate the chicane.

Go big or go home…

This time my crew chief had nothing but praise for me on the radio.

Mark Webber takes the checkered flag as I am entering the final turn of the race (and the doomsday clock starts ticking!)

Damn straight this deserves a fist pump.

This has to be the most satisfying second place finish of my virtual racing career.

Lap Time Results

Lap 16: 1:21.454 (P2)
Lap 17: 1:24.384 (P2)
Lap 18: N/A

Race Result

In the end I was almost a full ten seconds off of the race winner Mark Webber, but managed to stay ahead of Sebastian Vettel to secure P2 and the 18 Championship Points that it brings.

Drivers’ Championship

What a difference a single race makes (again). There has been a major shakeup in the standings as Lewis Hamilton drops from P2 to P4, and both Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel move past him into P2 and P3 respectively. My lead in the points has decreased by six from 34 the previous week (over Hamilton) to 28 this week (over Webber).

The 18 points earned for the second place podium finish places me in first with 130 for the season.

Constructors’ Championship

Although I am having a stellar season my teammate Daniel Ricciardo is not and this is dragging Scuderia Toro Rosso down like an anchor, falling further back at 58 points behind juggernaut Red Bull Racing.

There is only so much one person can do…

Parc Ferme

Second place is awesomesauce!! I am the best loser!!!

An all Red Bull (and vodka) celebration: although I broke up their one-two finish, this was not enough to help Toro Rosso in the Constructors’ Championship (with not having a teammate capable of joining me in victory lane).

Race Recap

The fastest recorded lap of 1:20.883 must have occurred on the final lap (as there is no post lap image available of the time as the game launches into the post-race cut scene).

Team Mate Challenge Data

If this was a condensed season challenge effort I suspect I would have been moved to first driver on the team by now, but given that this is a full schedule career the perks that come with winning are slow to come my way. My teammate is not a challenge, and is weighing the team down in the Constructors’ Championship. If I were given an opportunity to race for Red Bull, I would leave in a heartbeat.

Post Mortem

Although I did not win this race was a fun race to run, for the most part because I have always enjoyed the Canadian event in several different games.

This post took me several days to write as I had some other things that I am working on gaming wise, and with the holiday coming up (for us Americans) finding time to game and post about it is becoming more of a challenge.

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