Jenson Button rushed a sensational victory from Sebastian Vettel on the final lap of a Canadian Grand Prix that took four hours to whole and featured a red flag and four safety car periods.
Pole-sitter Vettel led almost the entire distance through both segments of an strange race that was bifurcated by a rain delay lasting almost two hours. But when the final safety car period set up a 10-lap sprint to the finish on an almost-dry but still treacherous track, Button reeled in Vettel at a prodigious rate and harassed him into an uncharacteristic slip-up halfway round the last lap.
It capped a excellently tenacious, never-say-die drive from the McLaren driver, who overcame all manner of setbacks that necessitated six pit visits, including a drive-through penalty and collisions with team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, the final causing a punctured tyre.
Vettel improved from his last-lap miscue to finish a contented second, the top step of the podium eluding him for only the second time this season.
Mark Webber spent the whole race in recovery mode after get in touch with with Hamilton on the opening lap left him mired deep in the midfield, but the Australian gradually worked his way back up to an eventual third place.
He only just kept a charging Michael Schumacher at bay as the seven-time world champion put in the most persuasive performance of his Formula 1 comeback, holding second place at the final restart before falling victim to DRS-assisted passes.
The stirring finish was a fitting reward for the typically stoic and passionate Montreal fans, who endured the lengthy safety car and red flag periods, not to talk about teeming rain for much of the day.
Although it wasn’t raining a lot at the scheduled start time of 1pm and there was no substantial standing water, the officials left nothing to chance and deployed the safety car to give the drivers an opportunity to measure the conditions.