As Formula 1 entered the Canadian Grand Prix weekend in Montreal, there was a theme to the 2019 season already and apart from Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas fans, you might find that the storyline for the year so far was a bit oppressive. Mercedes has dominated every race so far this season with a 1, 2 finish with little hope of Ferrari taking the fight to them or anyone else for that matter.
It has been this way since the regulations changed in 2014 with five titles on the trot and the season looks all but sewn up entering the 7th race of the year. You can imagine the F1 fanbase stirring from their comas slightly when Ferrari took pole position for the race on one of the few tracks that may give them the ability to run with Mercedes.
Could Ferrari manage to convert Sebastian Vettel’s pole lap into a win and hold off the Mercedes duo? The answer is yes but in doing so, Vettel ran wide at turn three as he was following lapped traffic, lost the rear and glided through the small run-off area made of grass. As he slid through the grass area and back on to the track, he barely managed to keep control of the car and in doing so, squeezed Hamilton wide but retained the lead.
For that action, the FIA stewards handed Vettel a 5s penalty which reduced him to second place and also created some anger in the German in the process that required a very circuitous route to parc fermé prior to standing on the podium.
A win for Ferrari who managed to perform at the one track their car had a slight advantage at. The long straights meant their straight-line speed was going to be difficult for Mercedes to cover and it proved to be for most of the race. Vettel drove a good race weekend with pole and then trying to manage overheating brakes, fuel and pace. He was in a conservation race against a speed and power competitor and that’s not easy to manage.
A big win for Daniel Ricciardo and Renault for reasserting themselves in the best-of-the-rest hunt by finishing in 6th place with a spirited and determined race from the Aussie. His teammate, Nico Hulkenberg had a great run to finish 7th even though he was having gearbox issues for most of the race. Renault brought upgrades and Ricciardo said they were legit, will they be for the balance of the season and are Renault back in the hunt?
A win for hometown hero Lance Stroll who managed to bring his Racing Point car home in 9th with good strategy but also a good drive and passing to secure points for his dad’s team.
A win for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who started the race on the back foot but managed to claim 5th and also for junior team, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat who took the final point in 10th.
A win for Mercedes who had a damaged car on Friday, after Lewis hit the wall, and then a serious hydraulic issue with his car just ahead fo the race as well as a brake line bleeding event on the grid just minutes before the start. Great teamwork.
A big fail for the FIA and Formula 1. The penalty was nonsensical and even some of the most ardent Hamilton fans I know were a bit sheepish about this win. Lewis said it isn’t how he wanted to win and it wasn’t his decision but he was quick on the radio to ask the team to check with race control regarding the incident. To be fair, if you are Lewis or Mercedes, that’s what you do in situations like this but that is where the FIA stewards need to have perspective. The penalty ruined the first competitive race of the entire season and the crowd in Canada could be heard with their displeasure.
Armchair drivers in social media had it all sussed out as to how Vettel could have turned slighty here and there and lifted this much…not one of them, in the same situation, would be able to keep it out of the wall and Seb did. He re-entered the track with opposite lock still on trying to collect the car and keep it going. There’s no shortage of Lewis Hamilton fans on the Sky Sports F1 crew and all of them agreed that it was the wrong call.
A fail for Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly who started toward the front but finished in 8th well behind his teammate. He was in a position to pick up the mantle due to Verstappen’s poor qualifying but didn’t.
A fail for McLaren who looked poised to be best-of-the-rest this weekend but both drivers sank out of the points.
A WTH for Lando Norris’s brakes system that seemed to catch fire and destroy his right-rear suspension after running very well early on.
A WTH for Haas F1 with the radio message from Kevin Magnussen saying it was the worst car he has ever driven and some back and forth with the tired team who stayed up all night trying to fix his car after he crashed it in qualifying. Perspective, Kevin.
Canadian GP results
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||70||57.655s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||69||1 Lap|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||69||1 Lap|
|8||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||69||1 Lap|
|9||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||69||1 Lap|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||69||1 Lap|
|11||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||69||1 Lap|
|12||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||69||1 Lap|
|13||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||69||1 Lap|
|14||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||69||1 Lap|
|15||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||69||1 Lap|
|16||George Russell||Williams/Mercedes||68||2 Laps|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||68||2 Laps|
|18||Robert Kubica||Williams/Mercedes||67||3 Laps|
|–||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||59||Retirement|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||18|