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2017 F1 Grand Prix of Canada — Results & aftermath

Mercedes’ Hamilton returns to form with dominant win in Montreal, teammate Bottas P2; Ricciardo takes P3 for Red Bull, Vettel a valiant P4 for Ferrari

The Canadian Grand Prix nearly always seems to be the tonic Lewis Hamilton needs to get back to his winning ways. And two weeks after his disappointing 7th place finish in Monaco the Mercedes ace dominated this race yet again, running away from the field after a terrific start from the pole. Leaving all pursuers in his wake at the place where he won his very first F1 race in 2007, Hamilton romped to his remarkable sixth career victory at the beautiful parkland course on the Ille Notre Dame in Montreal. There are some tracks that simply suit certain drivers and Hamilton has repeatedly proven that Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is his personal playground. With his teammate Valtteri Bottas finishing a distant second place some 20 seconds behind it was an all round excellent day for the Mercedes factory team but an even better one for Hamilton and his championship aspirations.

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Not only was Hamilton dominant but the expected dual with his nemesis, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, never materialized. While the German points leader started from P2 on the grid and looked for all the world like he had the pace to battle Hamilton for the win he got away slowly and was tagged at the very first turn by the overtaking Red Bull of Max Verstappen. That clout damaged his Ferrari’s front wing. But when a safety car was deployed on that opening lap due to the spinning Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz collecting the Williams of an unlucky Felipe Massa neither Vettel or the team noticed the damage. By the time they did and called Vettel into the pits for a wing change the safety car period was over and cars were back circulating at race pace. That cost Vettel a ton of track position and when he rejoined he was back at the tail of the field in P18. Nevertheless, with some patient but forceful driving and clever pit strategy to switch to two stops for tires instead of only one, Vettel worked his Prancing Horse back through the field and into contention for a potential podium. While that huge task eluded him he was able to overtake the dicing Force India’s of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon due to his relatively fresh Ultra Soft tires, locking up a valuable P4 at the checkered flag. So though Hamilton trimmed the points lead back down to just 12 with his win it was still a good day of damage control for Vettel. However, with the Mercedes one-two Ferrari lost their lead in the Constructors’ battle and now find themselves 8 points behind the Silver Arrows.

The Scuderia was not helped by Kimi Raikkonen’s subpar performance. After also getting away slowly at the start and losing positions from his P4 grid spot, Raikkonen’s attempt to battle back into contention was thwarted late in the race by incurable break issues that forced the Iceman to back off on his pace. Running in conservation mode Raikkonen could do no better than P7. Ferrari’s misfortune was Daniel Ricciardo’s opportunity, as the senior Red Bull driver took advantage of a good start to ward off all comers and secure P3, his second consecutive podium. But all was not well for Red Bull because Ricciardo’s teammate Max Verstappen did not complete the race. Despite a lightning getaway and surviving the early contact with Vettel, the Dutch wunderkind’s troubled 2017 season continued when his car lost a battery on Lap 11 and he was forced to retire. Versttappen has now retired in three out of seven races to start the year and has only one podium so far, a P3 in China. With Red Bull’s woes and third-best status in the paddock it is distinctly possible that the talented youngster will be looking to jump to a team with greater reliability and performance next year so he can fulfill what everybody believes is his championship potential.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Canadian Grand Prix - Race Day - Montreal, Canada

What should have been a banner day for overachieving Force India was marred somewhat by internal team dissension. While Sergio Perez finished P5 and Esteban Ocon came home P6, an extremely valuable trove of points for the little squad, it seemed that for want of a little more cooperation between their drivers they could have done even better. With Ocon running faster times on fresher rubber due to pitting after Perez the young Frenchman had the pace and potential to take the fight to Ricciardo and perhaps onto the podium. Perez refused to yield his position pleading with his team to let him be the one to attack Ricciardo. But lap after lap Perez failed to get by Ricciardo while Ocon was stuck behind Perez as his tire advantage dissipated. And that enabled Vettel to pip both of them for P4 in the final laps. So while in other races Force India would be giddy with a 5-6 finish, in Canada it felt a bit like they had left points on the table.  It also remains to be seen how the two previously friendly teammates deal with Perez’s stubbornness. Ocon was certainly disappointed at not having the chance to fight for a podium during the narrow window when he had the pace in his tires to do so.


Nico Hulkenberg had another solid run for the Renault factory team finishing in P8. And after his teammate Massa crashed out on the opening lap, young Canadian Lance Stroll flew the flag for Team Williams in his home Grand Prix scoring his first F1 points in his seventh career race with a well driven P9. After a poor start to his F1 career the 18-year-old sorely needed a good result and scoring points in front of his ecstatic countrymen should give Stroll the confidence boost all drivers require to succeed. Finally, Haas’ Romain Grosjean managed to survive the Sainz-induced opening lap shunt and, despite an early pit stop for repairs, managed to grab the last points paying position in P10.

Top 10 finishers at the Canadian GP:

1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 70 1:33:05.154 25
2 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 70 +19.783s 18
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 70 +35.297s 15
4 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 70 +35.907s 12
5 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 70 +40.476s 10
6 31 Esteban Ocon FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 70 +40.716s 8
7 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 70 +58.632s 6
8 27 Nico Hulkenberg RENAULT 70 +60.374s 4
9 18 Lance Stroll WILLIAMS MERCEDES 69 +1 lap 2
10 8 Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI 69 +1 lap 1

Complete race results available via Formula1.com.

The next race is in two weeks time with the second running of the cool Baku City Circuit in Azerbaijan. With the fight between Vettel and Hamilton and Mercedes and Ferrari tight as a tick every race takes on major significance, so best not to miss any of them. Hope to see you then!

2017 F1 Grand Prix of Canada — Qualifying results

Hamilton blisters track record to score pole in Montreal but Vettel right behind in P2; Bottas P3

Mercedes ace Lewis Hamilton set the all-time fastest lap on the ultra-quick and treacherous Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on Saturday logging a blistering 1:11:459 on Illes Notre Dame in Montreal, Canada and besting his closest pursuer, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, by 3-tenths of a second. Desperate to make amends for his subpar Monaco qualifying performance, which saw him bounced in Q2 en route to a damaging P7 finish, Hamilton’s superb effort gave him his 65th career pole. That tied the Englishman with his personal hero, Ayrton Senna, and after the session was over the Senna family presented him with a period official publicity helmet from the late F1 legend with a promise of an actual race worn version to come. Hamilton was visibly moved by the gracious gesture and it should give him even more motivation to run to victory come Sunday on a track where he has often dominated and where he has 5 career wins, including his first ever top step in F1 back in 2007 when he was a rookie with McLaren.

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

But as dominant as Hamilton’s Mercedes was Ferrari and Vettel must be well pleased to have ended up so very close to the lead Merc. The Monaco winner and points leader slotted in at P2 with the only other time below 1:12 and it will be all to play for when the lights go out so look for some fierce dicing between these ultra-competitive pilots, as well as key strategic decisions between the two mega-factory teams. Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valterri Bottas was just a bit behind the elite duo in P3, while Vettel’s wingman Kimi Raikkonen, still stewing over a potential Monaco win that he failed to convert from pole, took P4. The start of the tomorrow’s race with those mixed Silver and Red front two rows should be very interesting indeed.

The Red Bulls were once again the best of the rest, with Max Verstappen laying down a time good enough for fifth on the grid and Daniel Ricciardo following up his excellent Monaco podium with a P6 start. Felipe Massa showed one again that the Williams is suited to tracks with long straights and nabbed a P7 starting spot, while Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon both showed  good pace for Force India with laps good enough for P8 and P9 on the grid respectively. Renault’s excellent Nico Hulkenberg gave a good effort to get into Q3 and will start P10.

Top 10 Qualifiers for the Canadian Grand Prix:

1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:12.692 1:12.496 1:11.459 21
2 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:13.046 1:12.749 1:11.789 21
3 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 1:12.685 1:12.563 1:12.177 20
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:13.548 1:12.580 1:12.252 23
5 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:13.177 1:12.751 1:12.403 26
6 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:13.543 1:12.810 1:12.557 28
7 19 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:13.435 1:13.012 1:12.858 27
8 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:13.470 1:13.262 1:13.018 22
9 31 Esteban Ocon FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:13.520 1:13.320 1:13.135 22
10 27 Nico Hulkenberg RENAULT 1:13.804 1:13.406 1:13.271 24

Complete qualifying results available via Formula1.com.

Tomorrow’s race airs on NBC proper live starting at 2PM Eastern here in the States. With Hamilton and Vettel nice and tuck and the Mercedes-Ferrari dual as close as possible it’ll be game on in Montreal to see who bag glory and the most points out of this demanding and fast race. Hope to see you then!

2016 F1 Grand Prix of Canada — Results & aftermath

Hamilton roars back into contention with win in Canada, Rosberg struggles; Vettel a game P2 for Ferrari; Bottas brilliant for Williams in P3

Lewis Hamilton notched a superb win in the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday and it’s now well and truly game on in the Drivers’ Championship. Despite being jumped at the start by the flashing Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, the Mercedes pole-sitter was able to recover from a scuffle with his teammate Nico Rosberg to methodically hunt down Vettel’s blood-red car. And when the Scuderia made the questionable call to pit under a virtual safety car early in the race on Lap 13 and change to the non-mandatory Super Soft tires, Hamilton stayed out and nursed his Ultra-Softs in the cool conditions at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, just as he had babied his Intermediate wet tires in Monte Carlo until the weather cleared. This enabled Hamilton to make it a 1-stop race when he eventually came in for the mandatory Soft Perreli tires and to gain the critical advantage over Vettel on pit strategy. Hamilton then took the race lead on Lap 37 when Vettel made his second stop for the mandatory Softs. And it was a lead that Hamilton would never relinquish no matter how hard Vettel pushed him and let many wondering whether Ferrari had made the right call in pitting from the lead for a 2-stopper. For Mercedes there was no doubt that they had played it perfectly, resulting in Hamilton’s remarkable fifth career victory in Canada. The win also set the Englishman up for another championship run, as he pulled within 9 points of his Mercedes teammate and current points leader, Nico Rosberg.

Pix couretsy GrandPrix247.com

Pix couretsy GrandPrix247.com

For Rosberg the race was another challenge to his sometimes fragile confidence. He came off a decided second best when Hamilton bashed him off the track as they both pursued Vettel into turn one on the opening lap. Not only did he lose a passel of positions trying to rejoin the race but Rosberg’s Silver Arrow seemed to be down on pace after that incident. It wasn’t until late in the race when he was relentlessly harassing Red Bull’s precocious Max Verstappen that he seemed to find the fire again. But when he overcooked it on the final lap while attempting to pass on aging tires and spun, Rosberg’s fate was sealed with a P5. After winning the first four races of the year in dominant fashion, Rosberg has now scored a grand total of 16 points in the last three contests while his archival Hamilton has scored 50 with two consecutive wins. Of course, the Mercedes drivers took each other out in Spain and one wonders if Rosberg has been effected by that contretemps when many observers pointed the finger of blame at him for that double DNF. One thing is for certain: if the German contender wants to break through for his first F1 Championship and overcome his Mercedes teammate’s supreme confidence and form he is going to need to be mentally tougher when things go poorly for him. Otherwise it looks a lot like he is a very good driver who is prone to wilting when the pressure really ramps up, the kind of pilot who wins races but is never consistent enough to claim the Drivers’ title.

Williams had its best finish of the year when Valtteri Bottas was able to convert his seventh-place start on the grid into a P3 podium finish, also benefitting from running a 1-stop tire strategy. The fast park circuit on Ile Notre-Dame suited the Mercedes-powered Williams much more than the tight confines of Monaco, as did the cooler temps, and Bottas was able to drive both hard and smartly to take his first podium since Mexico last year. But the news wasn’t all good for Williams, as Felipe Massa was forced to retire on Lap 37, the first time this season the little Brazilian has not scored points. Verstappen was able to hold on to P4 after his titanic tilt with Rosberg, making his Red Bull very wide to keep the Mercedes man behind. But teammate Daniel Ricciardo was once again bedeviled by poor pit work, even if it wan’t quite as egregious as the tire-less stop in Monaco that cost him the race. After a overlong stop on Lap 39, Ricciardo was shuffled back and could only manage a P7. In truth, it seemed like Red Bull had lost a step to Ferrari, which showed greater straight line speed all weekend long, so they will probably have to wait for twistier tracks to take advantage of the superior downforce of their RB12 chassis and compete for podiums again.

Kimi Raikkonen never seemed to find the pace his Ferrari teammate unlocked in the SF16-H and finished a desultory P6, though one wonders if he might have fared better had Ferrari split their tire strategy rather than running duplicate 2-stoppers for both drivers. Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg made it two good points finishes in a row with a solid P8, while his teammate Sergio Perez took 10th for the game little team. And Carlos Sainz recovered from a big crash in qualifying to put in a tremendous drive and take P9 in his Toro Rosso after starting from way back in 20th, an impressive effort for the young Spaniard.

Top 10 finishers in Canada:

1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 70 1:31:05.296 25
2 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 70 +5.011s 18
3 77 Valtteri Bottas WILLIAMS MERCEDES 70 +46.422s 15
4 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 70 +53.020s 12
5 6 Nico Rosberg MERCEDES 70 +62.093s 10
6 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 70 +63.017s 8
7 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 70 +63.634s 6
8 27 Nico Hulkenberg FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 69 +1 lap 4
9 55 Carlos Sainz TORO ROSSO FERRARI 69 +1 lap 2
10 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 69 +1 lap 1

Complete race results available at Formula1.com.

The teams have but one week to prepare for the European Grand Prix from the debutante city Baku, Azerbaijan a mere 8,000 miles away from Montreal. Hope to see you then to find out if Hamilton can keep on surging, Rosberg can stop the bleeding or Ferrari can break through for a victory!

2016 F1 Grand Prix of Canada — Qualifying results

Revived Hamilton grabs blistering Pole in Canada, Mercedes teammate Rosberg a whisker behind for P2; Vettel gives max effort for P3 for Ferrari 

When the story of the 2016 Formula 1 season is written it could well be that Monaco is the race we point to as the one that changed the momentum inexorably. Coming off of their double DNF in Spain when Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg took each other out, Hamilton dominated in rainy Monte Carlo two weeks ago to take the victory and plant the first real seeds of doubt in Rosberg’s previously supreme confidence. Hamilton carried that momentum over into Saturday qualifying in Montreal, Canada with a blistering lap to take pole for Sunday’s Grand Prix. With the Mercedes engine really getting a chance to stretch its legs on the long straights of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, Hamilton’s laid down an eye-popping 1:12.812 lap time. Still, it was only faster than Rosberg by a scant .062. With Mercedes back to their front row-lockout ways, it sets up for another potentially contetious start to the race, with Hamilton determined to press his new found advantage over his main competitor and Rosberg just as desperate to regain the momentum that seemed so effortless when he won the first four races to start the season.

Making a valiant attempt to keep up with Silver Arrows, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel also broke into the 1:12’s with a stout effort in Q3. Vettel will start P3 and is therefore in a fine position to capitalize if the two Mercedes cannot control their competitive instincts when the lights go out. Ferrari really needs a good result after a string of mediocre races and one-car finishes lately. And Red Bull is definitely nipping at the Prancing Horse’s heels. They showed excellent pace again in qualifying, with the unlucky Daniel Ricciardo rebounding from his Monaco heartbreak to take P4 and his upstart teammate Max Verstappen, who crashed out in the principality, grabbing P5. The Red Bulls are probably even better in race trim so Vettel had better watch his mirrors.

Vettel’s Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen was P6 and the two Mercedes-powered Williams also looked strong, with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa P7 & P8 respectively. Rounding out the Top 10, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg had a strong run for P9 on the grid and Fernando Alonso was P10 for improving McLaren.

Top 10 qualifiers for the Canadian Grand Prix:

1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:14.121 1:13.076 1:12.812 21
2 6 Nico Rosberg MERCEDES 1:13.714 1:13.094 1:12.874 19
3 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:13.925 1:13.857 1:12.990 24
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:14.030 1:13.540 1:13.166 20
5 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:14.601 1:13.793 1:13.414 24
6 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:14.477 1:13.849 1:13.579 23
7 77 Valtteri Bottas WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:14.389 1:13.791 1:13.670 20
8 19 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:14.815 1:13.864 1:13.769 21
9 27 Nico Hulkenberg FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:14.663 1:14.166 1:13.952 23
10 14 Fernando Alonso MCLAREN HONDA 1:15.026 1:14.260 1:14.338 24

Complete qualifying results available via Fomrula1.com.

Tomorrow’s race starts at a very civilized 2PM Eastern time and is broadcast live on NBC in the States. Hope to see you then to find out which driver can scrape the Wall of Champions on his way to victory and which may have their races undone by it.

2015 F1 Grand Prix of Canada — Results & aftermath

Hamilton regains momentum in Canada with decisive win, Rosberg a non-threatening 2nd; Williams’ Bottas breaks through for P3

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

After a gut-wrenching defeat in Monaco, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton righted the ship at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on Sunday with a wire-to-wire victory. Having earned an emphatic pole it seemed nothing was going to stop the reigning World Champion from holding off his charging rival and teammate Nico Rosberg. Come race day, nothing did. Rosberg was never able to mount a real threat and in the end both Silver Arrows sailed to a seemingly comfortable 1-2 finish with the rest of the field well behind. Hamilton’s win reestablished his dominance in the Mercedes team and built his points lead back up to 17 after Rosberg’s lucky 2-race victory streak. It was a much needed return to form that demonstrated not only Hamilton’s peerless skill as a racing driver but also his mental toughness in the face of adversity after the bizarre own-goal in Monaco.


For team Mercedes as whole, Sunday’s GP represented an ominous return to their untouchable speed and metronomic precision as a unit, particularly when compared with Ferrari’s stumbles this past weekend. After starting 3rd with an outside shot at victory, Kimi Raikkonen threw away a probable podium for the Prancing Horse with an unforced spin in the hairpin after his first stop for tires. That enabled his fellow Finn, the excellent Valtteri Bottas, to snatch 3rd and hold off Raikkonen for the position until the end of the race, earning team Williams its first podium of the season. On the other side of the Ferrari garage, Sebastian Vettel started from 18th on the grid with a poor Quali due to mechanical issues and a self-inflicted 5-spot grid penalty for passing under the red flag in rainy practice. But Vettel had a storming drive, slicing his way through the field to finish a remarkable 5th. His outstanding 2015 Montreal effort should be played as Exhibit A whenever someone whinges about how you can’t pass in Formula 1. Exhibit B could be Bottas’ Williams teammate Felipe Massa. Massa also started way back in the pack in 15th after technical problems in Quali. Yet the veteran Brazilian managed to fight his way up to 6th with another gutsy, aggressive effort from a savvy pro. So if the battle for the win seemed like a fait accompli, the fight for points behind the 1-2 slots was a wild ride all race long. Continue reading

2015 F1 Grand Prix of Canada — Qualifying results

Hamilton regains mojo after Monaco disaster, claims Pole in Canada; Rosberg just behind in P2 and Raikonnen flies flag for Ferrari in 3rd

The boys were back at it in Quebec for Qualifying two weeks after the bizarre and memorable Monaco Grand Prix. With heavy rain washing out a lot of Friday practice time, there wasn’t much dry prep for the drivers to show their true speed until this very sunny Saturday in Montreal. But if there were any doubts about Lewis Hamilton’s state of mind after the incredibly disappointing end to his dreams of victory in Monte Carlo the Englishman appeared to lay them to rest with the fastest lap in Q3, claiming Pole for Sunday’s race. It was the 44th of his career, perfectly matching the number on his Mercedes Silver Arrow. Putting behind him the inexplicable decision to pit late for fresh tires in Monaco that essentially handed his teammate Nico Rosberg the victory, the reigning World Champion has so far been the class of the field in Canada. And as fired up as he his to taste victory and wash away the last race’s bitter taste he should be very hard to beat come race day. Hamilton’s renewed dominance left Rosberg the one grumbling about tire strategy, as he questioned the Mercedes pit wall’s solutions for finding more grip in the Super Soft tires in the dying moments of Q3. In truth, he wound up only a little more than .3 behind Hamilton. But if he doesn’t manage to get by his nemesis early on Sunday Rosberg knows that his lucky two-race victory streak could be over.

With Sebastian Vettel’s qualifying coming to a stunning end in Q1 due to power-sapping electrical gremlins, it was left to Kimi Raikonnen to fly the flag for Ferrari. The Finn responded with his best effort of the year and grabbed P3, only .3 behind Rosberg, where he should be able to fight for a podium or pick up something even better if the Mercedes’ duo take each other out. His position for good points certainly looks more favorable than teammate Vettel’s, who will have to battle his way to the front from way back in 16th on the grid. Williams’ Valtteri Bottas rebounded from his dreadful weekend in Monaco to take P4 and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve looks well suited to the FW37’s pure speed. However, Bottas’ teammate Felipe Massa did not get the chance to make use of that advantage, as he too was bounced in Q1 with power plant woes.

Team Lotus looks to be making genuine strides after six race weekends with Romain Grojean and Pastor Maldonado P5 and P6 respectively. Now it remains to be seen if they can get a break from the woeful luck that has plagued them in 2015 and actually finish both cars in the points. Continue reading