BMW Sauber finally took their long overdue maiden victory in Montreal on Sunday, as Robert Kubica led Nick Heidfeld home in a fabulous one-two on a day when early leader Lewis Hamilton inadvertently crashed his McLaren into Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen in a pit-lane collision during the first round of refuelling stops.
As a result of his first win, Kubica now leads the world championship fight with 42 points to Hamilton and Massa’s 38 and Raikkonen’s 35.
At the start Hamilton sprinted away from pole position, leaving Kubica to fend off Raikkonen. But the safety car neutralised that when it was deployed to recover Adrian Sutil’s Force India from a dangerous position on the 17th lap.
All of the leaders pitted on Lap 19, and as Hamilton rejoined, having dropped behind Raikkonen and Kubica after a longer stop, he ran into the back of the Finn, whom he suddenly realised was stopped by the red pit-lane exit light. Both the Ferrari and the McLaren were too damaged to continue. Nico Rosberg also damaged his Williams by running into the rear of Hamilton in the incident. An additional pit visit for a new nose thus dropped the German out of contention after running fourth early on.
Heidfeld now led as, at stages before their own pit calls, did fellow one-stoppers Honda’s Rubens Barrichello, Red Bull’s David Coulthard and Toyota’s Timo Glock. Heidfeld was able to pit and rejoin ahead of Kubica, but on his two-stop strategy the Pole was clearly faster and Heidfeld had no choice but to let him go on Lap 31.
In the second part of the race the greatest threat to the Swiss-German cars came from Fernando Alonso, who was pushing his Renault hard. On Lap 44 he sneaked by Heidfeld at the hairpin, only to slide wide. A lap later he got on the power a fraction too soon exiting the second corner, and suddenly the R28 was rotating out of the race.
Kubica and Heidfeld were thus able to cruise home to a great success, as Coulthard made the most of his opportunities with a solid third place for Red Bull. A strong drive saw Glock hang on for fourth place just ahead of Massa, who had to stop twice early on after a refuelling problem, and recovered brilliantly with a drive that at one time saw him jump both Barrichello and McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen at the hairpin.
Toyota’s Jarno Trulli got ahead of Barrichello when the Brazilian made a mistake late in the race, and Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Vettel hung on to take the final point after a gutsy performance, having started from the pit lane. Kovalainen was an unhappy ninth ahead of the recovering Rosberg, Honda’s Jenson Button (who also started from the pit lane after making some suspension set-up changes), Red Bull’s Mark Webber who ran strongly until his pit stop dropped him back and he later spun, and Sebastien Bourdais who also spun his Toro Rosso.
Giancarlo Fisichella crashed his Force India, Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima was a points contender before damaging his front wing on Button and then tobogganing into the pit wall when it folded back beneath his wheel; and Renault’s Nelson Piquet spun and retired with an unspecified mechanical problem.
BMW Sauber’s great day jumped them back to second in the constructors’ stakes with 70 points to Ferrari’s 73 and McLaren’s 53.