F1 2016: ten talking points from the Canadian GP | Top Gear
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Subscribe to Top Gear magazine
Sign up to our Top Gear Magazine
Wednesday 4th October
Formula One

F1 2016: ten talking points from the Canadian GP

Hamilton wins as Vettel rues a team error: all the talk from Montreal

  • Lewis Hamilton won his fifth Canadian GP

    The world champion qualified in pole position on Saturday, but victory looked in doubt just seconds into the race as Sebastian Vettel stormed into the lead at the start.

    However Ferrari decided to put the German on a two-stop strategy during a Virtual Safety Car period, handing the advantage back to Hamilton who managed a 45-lap stint on soft tyres to take the chequered flag.

    The British driver was 43 points behind his teammate in the drivers standings heading into Monaco a fortnight ago: that gap is now down to just nine points with two thirds of the season left to race.

    “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” said Lewis on his victory lap, dedicating the win to the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

    Advertisement - Page continues below
  • Hamilton and Rosberg collided again

    The Merc drivers’ relationship has been severely tested in the previous two races; firstly in Spain when they crashed into each other and secondly in Monaco when a below-par Rosberg was forced to let his teammate through.

    And the two rivals made contact once again in Montreal, coming together seconds after lights out with a touch of wheels forcing Rosberg off the circuit as Hamilton held on to second place.

    The incident left Rosberg down in tenth, and a fightback through the traffic meant that the 30-year-old could only take ten points away from Canada.

    No prizes for guessing the main topic of Mercedes’ post-race debrief...

  • Ferrari’s strategy cost Vettel victory

    Sebastian Vettel was in control of the race after his scintillating getaway from third on the grid, but once again a decision from the pit wall cost him a place on the top step of the podium.

    With the field lapping slowly under Virtual Safety Car conditions, Ferrari appeared to have pulled off a masterstroke by bringing Vettel in on lap 11. They had hoped to capitalise on everyone else’s reduced pace, but the restrictions were lifted whilst he was still in the pit lane.

    This meant that any advantage he could have gained never materialised, and ultimately he had to settle for second.

    How much longer before Ferrari can put together a faultless weekend?

    Advertisement - Page continues below
  • Bottas got a timely podium for Williams

    Williams haven’t had much to cheer about in 2016, despite going into the race in Canada as the only team to have scored points with both cars so far this season.

    Although that run came to an end – Felipe Massa retired from the race on lap 37 – there was cause to celebrate as Valtteri Bottas secured a much needed third for the Grove outfit.

    Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has previously been a happy hunting ground for the Finn, and so it proved once again as he made the most of his car’s terrific straight line speed to keep Red Bull off the podium.

    Williams are now fourth in the constructors standings with sizeable gaps between their rivals in third and fifth. The odds of them being any higher or lower come November are looking incredibly low.

  • Red Bull told Verstappen to let Ricciardo through

    Daniel Ricciardo had been left distraught by results in the last two grands prix after mistakes by his team cost him likely race wins in Barcelona and Monte Carlo.

    As such, Red Bull were under a lot of pressure to give him a solid weekend and a good haul of points in Canada, the site of his first ever F1 win in 2014.

    With that in mind the team made an early plea to Max Verstappen to let the Australian through after the latter had fallen behind his teammate at the start, but the message fell on deaf ears as the Dutchman declined to yield.

    The teenager’s refusal to move aside meant Ricciardo emerged behind slower cars when he next pitted, eventually consigning him to a lowly seventh place.

    Tension must be brewing in the Red Bull garage...

  • Carlos Sainz showed he remains a hot prospect

    The weekend began badly for the Spaniard after a big hit with the infamous ‘Wall of Champions’ ended his qualifying session on Saturday, but it got even worse as a gearbox penalty left him on the back row of the grid.

    However Sainz wasn’t to be deterred, producing a consistent drive to claw himself back into ninth place come the end of the grand prix.

    Teammate Daniil Kvyat meanwhile could only manage twelfth, and the Russian hasn’t yet beaten Sainz since they started racing together at the Spanish Grand Prix last month.

  • McLaren-Honda’s engine still likes fire too much

    Last year McLaren were frustrated by the reliability (or lack thereof) of their Honda engine, as well as its horsepower deficit to others in the field.

    While 2016 has seen performance improve steadily, the power unit is still prone to the odd explosion, as Jenson Button found to his cost during Sunday’s race.

    The 2009 world champion was forced to retire just ten laps into the grand prix, with flames at the back of the MP4-31 suggesting that, as Jenson put it, the engine had “gone”.

    Fernando Alonso wants to compete for the title next year. The team’s fortunes are going to have to change massively to make that happen.

    Advertisement - Page continues below
  • Haas have lost their form

    The Americans made an amazing start to life in F1 as Romain Grosjean claimed sixth in Australia and fifth in Bahrain earlier in the year, but since then things have been far from straightforward.

    Esteban Gutierrez is yet to finish in the top ten this season, while Force India appear to have discovered a competitive edge that was missing in the first few races of 2016, leapfrogging the US team in the process.

    Gutierrez and Grosjean finished thirteenth and fourteenth in Montreal; easily their least competitive showing since their debut in Melbourne.

    With less experience than their rivals, the real test begins now.

  • Alonso and Raikkonen entertained on the team radio

    Rules introduced this season about what information teams can pass on to their drivers has limited a lot of chatter on the airwaves in recent races, but there’s still some humour to be found every so often.

    Kimi Raikkonen will need to top up his swear jar after uttering “What the **** is the Manor doing?” whilst struggling to guide his Ferrari past a backmarker en route to sixth place.

    Meanwhile a frustrated Fernando Alonso caused a stir after asking his team “Can I stop now?” in the closing stages of the race. “No Fernando, we want to keep going,” came the reply from his race engineer. “We want to make sure we get a point if something happens to other cars.”

    If you want to finish first, first you have to finish.

    Advertisement - Page continues below
  • The top three teams are getting closer

    Mercedes have dominated F1 since the start of the V6 hybrid era in 2014, however there is evidence to suggest that Ferrari and Red Bull are now seriously closing the gap at the top.

    The three teams qualified within about seven tenths of each other on Saturday, a remarkable fact given that good performance around the track in Canada is largely dependent on engine power.

    It’s a sign that recent upgrades for Ferrari and Red Bull have brought them closer to the frontrunners than at any point in the last two years.

    With 14 grands prix still to go this season, don’t rule out a third driver disrupting Hamilton and Rosberg’s fight for the title...

More from Top Gear

See more on Formula One

Promoted Content

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine

Get your first 5 issues for £5