Race Report: Canadian Grand Prix

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 18: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 18, 2023 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202306180937 // Usage for editorial use only //

The Canadian Grand Prix has been on the Formula 1 calendar for nearly 60 years. The track was built on a man-made island in the middle of the St. Lawrence seaway back in 1965. It’s a fantastic venue wrapped by a terrific city who love F1.

It makes for a nice venue for Red Bull Racing’s 100th grand prix victory and Max Verstappen’s 41st win equalling the late Ayrton Senna. The bigger question on Sunday was…who would complete the podium. That was answered by Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso in P2 and Lewis Hamilton in P3.

Win

A big win for Red Bull who secured their 100th grand prix victory as well as Max Verstappen who ties Ayrton Senna’s race win total at 41. Max drove a measured and composed race managing his tires and keeping the gap safe. It must be said that the gap was considerably smaller than the first seven races which might suggest a track-specific impact on their pace or that their competitors are closing the gap slightly.

A win for Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso securing 2nd place at a race Alonso described as the team’s most competitive pace so far this year. The upgrades weren’t completely revealed on Friday or Saturday int eh wet, the dry weather certainly would suggest they are on the right path.

A win for Mercedes who has been looking more consistent and more competitive since brining their upgrades a couple races ago. Lewis Hamilton looked good all weekend long and while George Russell struggled a bit in the free practice sessions, he came on song in qualifying and seemed to endorse the grains Mercedes has made. Lewis had a good race and despite getting beaten by Alonso, he was putting on a terrific show as he tried to haul the Aston Martin in on the final stint.

A win for Alex Alton who drove amazingly well all weekend and the team did an amazing job during qualifying to see him through to Q3. Converting that top-10 qualifying result into a P7 while holding off a charging Esteban Ocon was a great feat and terrific performance from driver and team alike.

Fail

A fail for both Sergio Perez who looked deflated all weekend and couldn’t recover from a poor qualifying onto the podium but in fairness, Max didn’t walk away from the field so perhaps the pace advantage we assumed he had that would allow him to scythe through the field just wasn’t there to begin with.

A fail for George Russell who was set to be well into he point if not podium tapped the wall via an unforced driver error and this ultimately led to a DNF. Not something you typically see from George so this one stung.

A fail for Haas and McLaren who both qualified well but drifted backwards to get squarely anchored in a DRS train and out of the points.

WTH

Ferrari may not have had a win or fail weekend but I’d say their qualifying was not well and their race was better even if I was doubting their strategy of keeping both cars out for track position during the first safety car. The strategy worked, however, but if makes you wonder what they may have done had they had a proper qualifying session.

Why was their limited coverage of the pit stops during the race? Very few pit stops were covered and that’s not good because it’s one of the few action points during a race and an opportunity to see what compounds they fit to the cars. Very odd.

Not sure what was going on with Nyck de Vries and Kevin Magnussen but that was fun.

I also liked the idea of the stewards not trying to make their voice heard by handing out a slew of penalties for the slightest infraction.

Pirelli Tire Story:

  • Max Verstappen won the FORMULA 1 PIRELLI GRAND PRIX DU CANADA 2023. It was his 41st victory, which puts him level with Ayrton Senna in fifth place on the all-time winners list which is headed by Lewis Hamilton on 103.
  • This was Red Bull’s 100th win from 355 Grand Prix starts. Its first dates back to 19 April 2009 when Sebastian Vettel won in China. Red Bull is the fifth team to have reached a century of wins in a category headed by Ferrari (242), followed by McLaren (183), Mercedes (125) and Williams (114).
  • Of the top ten finishers, six drivers stopped twice with only four making just the one stop. However, it is worth noting that Perez’s second pit stop, just two laps from the end was carried out purely to allow him to pick up the extra point for setting the fastest race lap.
  • 16 drivers opted to start on the Mediums: three of the remaining four – Perez, Bottas and Magnussen – chose the Hard tyre, while only Gasly preferred to start on the Softs.
  • As expected, the C5 was the least used compound in the race, completing just 12 laps: ten of those were in Gasly’s first stint and two with Perez at the end of the race.
  • The most used compound was the C3 (70.4% of all laps completed) but a significant number of laps (28.7%) were run on the C4.
  • In terms of stint length, the standout performance came from Albon, who is no stranger to this feat, running 58 laps on a set of Hards. He finished in an impressive seventh place. Leclerc drove the longest stint on Medium tyres doing 39 laps.

Canadian GP Results:

POSNODRIVERCARLAPSTIME/RETIREDPTS
11Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT701:33:58.34825
214Fernando AlonsoASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES70+9.570s18
344Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES70+14.168s15
416Charles LeclercFERRARI70+18.648s12
555Carlos SainzFERRARI70+21.540s10
611Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT70+51.028s9
723Alexander AlbonWILLIAMS MERCEDES70+60.813s6
831Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT70+61.692s4
918Lance StrollASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES70+64.402s2
1077Valtteri BottasALFA ROMEO FERRARI70+64.432s1
1181Oscar PiastriMCLAREN MERCEDES70+65.101s0
1210Pierre GaslyALPINE RENAULT70+65.249s0
134Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES70+68.363s0
1422Yuki TsunodaALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT70+73.423s0
1527Nico HulkenbergHAAS FERRARI69+1 lap0
1624Zhou GuanyuALFA ROMEO FERRARI69+1 lap0
1720Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI69+1 lap0
1821Nyck De VriesALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT69+1 lap0
NC63George RussellMERCEDES53DNF0
NC2Logan SargeantWILLIAMS MERCEDES6DNF0
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speedinian

Looking foreword to the podcast! Would like to hear the International’s thoughts on those pit releases.

Stroll managed much needed points (especially w/Russell’s retirement). But I can still dream about Albon getting his seat next year.

And what happened to Hass? We’ve seen some good qualifying efforts there before, but where are they going wrong in the long run? What has Williams got that Hass don’t? (Maybe y’all where right and it is Steiner.)

Xean Drury

Completely agree on the Haas front. It’s like Deja Vu all over again! They always start a season strong, then find the quickest way to the back of the grid from there.
According the The Geunt, they have an issue that the car is eating it’s tires when following other cars. So as long as they’re leading the race, it’ll be okay(??)
They say they’ve identified it so they can now work on it (but as a big Haas supporter, I’m very not confident on this assessment. I think it just eats tires. Like, yum yum.) ~X8

Fred

I wonder if Hamilton thought he could pass Alonso? I’m sure once he started to “handle it” he must of had a change of mind. Would of been fun to watch them tangle.

Juan

NC regarding the stewards not giving penalties, what is your opinion on Lando’s “unsportsmanlike conduct”? In all my years of watching F1, never heard of such penalty. My tinfoil hat says that it was made up, since they could not give Lando an unsafe release penalty without giving Hamilton one.

Juan

NC, you are correct, there have been penalties for backing up the field. The rule is that a driver needs to be no more than 10 car lengths (remember Ferrari asking Sainz to back up at least 10 car lengths in Silverstone to “protect” Charles?). But the penalty is called “Failed to adhere to Safety Car gap requirements or something like that, never have I ever heard called out “unsportman-like”.

Worthless Opinion

I can tell you what was up with de Vries and Magnussen – Nick de Vries is understandably getting pretty desperate to make something happen because F1 is slipping through his fingers. I would be as well. Sadly he’s making things worse, which is what happens when you drive desperate.

I agree it was nice the penalties weren’t heavy handed, but when it’s that way for one race the lack of consistency is problematic and confusing. The whole situation with stewarding is like Ferrari were running it – not quite F1 level.