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Formula One

The eight biggest talking points from the Canadian GP

Highly unpredictable race ends in highly predictable way

Canadian Grand Prix
  • Is Mercedes… back?

    Canadian Grand Prix

    We’ve had any number of false starts over the last couple of seasons, but has Mercedes… finally cracked ground effect? The team has been quietly adding upgrades to the W15 lately and in Canada, it was arguably the fastest car on the grid.

    Cut to George Russell’s first pole position for two years. He set the exact same time as Max Verstappen in Q3, but he grabbed pole because he got the lap in before the Red Bull driver. That set him up to pull away at the start, only to be jumped by Lando Norris and then Verstappen after going off track on lap 21.

    Russell had another wobble - which cost him a place to Norris again - on lap 51, but it was a bodged overtake on Oscar Piastri with seven laps to go that ended his hopes of winning the race. He eventually got past the Aussie and teammate Lewis Hamilton, but still felt “disappointed” with P3.

    Meanwhile Hamilton paid the price for starting P7, stuck behind Fernando Alonso until the first safety car and then unable to claw himself into the fight after that.

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  • Norris thinks he should’ve won

    Canadian Grand Prix

    Like Russell, Norris was dissatisfied with yet another P2, having cruised into the lead and pulled out a massive eight-second advantage when the safety car was called out on lap 25.

    The team kept him out for an extra lap and that ultimately handed the lead to Verstappen - payback for the opposite happening in Miami last month - and staying out two laps longer on inter tyres cost Lando again when it came to switching to slicks later in the race. After that Verstappen seemed to have the pace to cover off Norris and Russell, and both Brits were left wondering what might’ve been.

    Still, this is vastly better than the one-man domination we’ve been used to seeing, right?

  • Ferrari gonna Ferrari

    Canadian Grand Prix

    Nature is healing. Two weeks after dominating the Monaco Grand Prix Ferrari reverted to type, qualifying badly and then falling to pieces in the race.

    Charles Leclerc was initially held back by an engine problem, but then he and the team inexplicably gambled on dry tyres when everyone at the circuit and the entire TV audience could see it was… about to rain. He was immediately 18 seconds a lap slower, quickly lapped, and Ferrari soon retired the car. Oops.

    Compare that with Carlos Sainz, who spent the race flailing about outside the top 10 before spinning off on lap 54, taking out potential future teammate Alex Albon in the process. Double oops.

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  • All hail Alex Albon’s double overtake

    Canadian Grand Prix

    Albon’s blameless DNF was scant reward for what might be the overtake of the season so far. On lap 30 he drafted his way past Daniel Ricciardo on the back straight, and then somehow squeezed into the Williams-sized gap between the Aussie and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon under braking into the chicane.

    That vaulted him from P11 to P9 in one move, and he was a strong contender for points until he was Sainz’d. Unlucky.

  • Jacques Villeneuve called out Daniel Ricciardo…

    Canadian Grand Prix

    … and Danny Ric took that personally. This was after the 1997 world champion - on media duty this weekend at what used to be his home race - questioned why Ricciardo was still in the sport having failed to show his best form for several years now.

    Spurred on by Villeneuve’s very public burn, Ricciardo grabbed P5 in quali - less than two tenths off pole - and finished P8 in the race; his first non-Sprint points of 2024. Cue his trademark grin, and many unprintable words directed at JV…

  • Perez celebrates contract extension by crashing out (again)

    Canadian Grand Prix

    Many eyebrows were raised when Red Bull announced that it had extended Sergio Perez’s contract - possibly until the end of 2026 - despite the Mexican driver’s dire recent form and the availability of several other talents. Heck, even Seb Vettel has sounded out a comeback.

    Those eyebrows ventured even further north when Perez failed to escape from Q1 (again) in Canada, and was in full Lap of the Skull territory when he binned his car in the damp on lap 53… having been so anonymous up until that point that the commentators forgot he was in the race.

    That’s two DNFs in a row now to follow up a miserly P8 in Imola. Explain that new deal to us one more time?

  • Alpine gonna Alpine

    Canadian Grand Prix

    By finishing P9 and P10, Alpine got both cars in the points for the first time this season… but inevitably there was a ding dong along the way. Esteban Ocon - having announced his departure from the team at the end of the season - was left furious by a late request to swap positions with Pierre Gasly so the latter could chase after Ricciardo in P8.

    Ocon finally obliged under the impression he’d be given the place back if Gasly didn’t overtake the RB, but when that didn’t happen… he got even more cross.

    Surely it can’t go on like this? There’s six months still to go!

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  • With regret… Logan Sargeant isn’t it

    Canadian Grand Prix

    Sigh. Logan Sargeant comes across as a very likeable chap but this was another hapless performance from the US driver, who fell off the track multiple times in the wet before crashing out completely on lap 25.

    You have to wonder if a mid-season switcheroo is imminent. Rumour has it that Mercedes offered Williams rookie driver Kimi Antonelli until the end of 2024, and with team boss James Vowles openly courting Carlos Sainz for the seat in 2025, it’s clearly a matter of when, not if, Sergeant is replaced.

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