The Canadian Grand Prix proved to be an exciting and tense race, although it became fairly clear after the start – as Sebastian Vettel sustained damage in the typical Montreal mayhem that strikes here – that this was going to be a Mercedes benefit.
Vettel and his teammate Kimi Räikkönen, along with Max Verstappen, all found themselves eliminated from frontrunning contention. That allowed Daniel Ricciardo onto the final podium spot for another ‘shooey’ showdown, while Force India could consider themselves a little foolish for not implementing team orders to allow Esteban Ocon to have a shot at the Australian.
As it was, both he and teammate Sergio Pérez were overrun by Vettel in the closing stages, with the German running a lap shy of snatching third from Ricciardo.
There was also cheer for local driver Lance Stroll, who finally managed to get his act together and claim his first points’ finish.
The above sentences do bare justice in recapping an enthralling race, so make sure you head here for our complete race review.
In his first piece for MotorsportM8, Majd Khalil rates the winners and losers of Montréal…
Lewis Hamilton: Lewis won in Canada, and he won big. After equaling Senna’s pole record, Hamilton snatched the win and with Vettel fourth he is sure to come out ecstatic from this weekend after cutting Vettel’s championship lead to 12 points. Having bounced back from the disappointment of Monaco, we will probably see a livelier Hamilton in the next races. He did exactly what he needed to do, and drove a clean race on a difficult track where it is easy to lose concentration.
Valtteri Bottas: He did his team a big favour by passing Vettel at the start, and squeezing him just enough that the German’s front wing caught the Dutchman’s Red Bull. That ensured a much needed one-two for the team, but after what he showed in the last few races, perhaps we expected a bit more.
Daniel Ricciardo: He was slower than Verstappen in qualifying, but who knows what strategy the Dutch driver would have run in the race? While Ricciardo was again celebrating on the podium, his last two rostrum visits have come at events where Verstappen had his measure on sheer pace. He’s certainly a winner in one field: few people will ever claim to have made Sir Patrick Stewart drink from their shoe!
Esteban Ocon: He was consistent all year, and now he is showing some really good race craft and speed. The Frenchman will walk away from Canada believing he could have claimed his first podium finish. He was on much fresher tyres than his teammate Sergio Pérez and had a better shot at Riccardo, but instead found himself losing out to Vettel. When you compare his pace to that of the highly-rated man he replaced at Force India, Nico Hülkenberg, he’s already matching the German’s speed.
Fernando Alonso: With Fernando Alonso, winning or losing has nothing to do with his finishing order. He has been a clear winner all year, no mistakes, no accidents, just pure driving and pure speed. He still has the motivation to drive to the limits after three years with a frustrating engine behind his back and he still won the fans after his retirement. This was not the first time where Alonso retired in a points-paying position in the final five laps. Still, points can’t save Mclaren this season, only a good engine can.
Lance Stroll and the Canadian crowed: Stroll gave the Canadian crowed something to cheer about, although they were already very cheery. The Canadian fans are among the most passionate on the calendar, and their emotions were heightened when Stroll earned his first F1 points’ finish at his home track. He was still completely outpaced by teammate Felipe Massa all weekend leading up to the race, but will leave Montréal very proud – and just a little bit relieved…
Sir Patrick Stewart: From doing Shakespeare and Star Trek to doing a ‘shoey’, the man clearly has range. Usually the putting a celebrity on the post-race podium interview duties is utterly cringeworthy, but Stewart is a passionate F1 fan and added a splash of fun.
Sebastian Vettel: The Canadian Grand Prix is one of the few on the calendar where starting from pole is rarely a predictor for race victory. Sebastian Vettel failed to grab P1 on Saturday, but a front-row grid slot should have kept him out of trouble. At the worst possible time, his traditionally good getaway skills left him and he was gobbled up by Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen by Turn 1. Contact with the latter consigned him to a long recovery drive through the midfield – while he showed his overtaking prowess on a number of occasions, the fans were denied another epic battle between he and Lewis Hamilton.
Kimi Räikkönen: Canada delivered another one of those ‘nothing special’ weekends that were an all-too-familiar description of the Kimi Räikkönen of recent years. After missing out on winning in Monaco, the Finn looked hungry in practice, but fluffed his Q3 lap and then his race start. Bottled up between the Force Indias and unable to pass, he was caught by teammate Vettel in the closing stages after the German dropped to the back of the field. A brake-by-wire issue avoided a potentially embarrassing situation of Ferrari having to implement team orders.
Stoffel Vandoorne: After being once again outshone by teammate Alonso in qualifying, Vandoorne looked much better early in the race and ran close to his teammate. The interruption of the Virtual Safety Car seemed to throw him off his rhythm and he was rapidly overtaken by no less than three cars on one lap when racing resumed. He was, by his own admission, “a sitting duck” on the straights and slipped down the order as the race went by.
Torro Rosso drivers: A double-DNF was the worst possible result given the tight midfield battle it finds itself in with Williams, Renault and Haas, who all scored points. Carlos Sainz Jr squeezed Romain Grosjean twice on the opening lap until they crashed, and got a penalty for the next race for his troubles. Daniil was hit with no less than two penalties for failing to follow the rulebook and showed the sort of mental fragility reminiscent of his Red Bull Racing demotion with his vitriolic outburst about the FIA Stewards. It was hardly the behaviour of a champion, or even an aspiring one.
Sergio Pérez: The team told him politely that teammate Esteban Ocon had a better chance at overtaking third-placed Ricciardo, and his answer was “Let us race, please”. Pérez is known for landing Force India unexpected podiums, but in Canada he lost them one.
McLaren Honda:. At least they won the raft race!
Images via Red Bull Racing