Front to back: the Canadian Grand Prix

Our review of every F1 team and driver from Sunday’s race in Montreal.


Lewis Hamilton:
qualified 1st, finished 1st
Nico Rosberg: qualified 2nd, finished 5th
The record books will show Hamilton won from pole at the circuit that has become his happiest of hunting grounds, but this was far from a routine victory, the Briton’s blood pressure surely rising when he made another poor getaway off the line to be mugged by Vettel into the first corner. But Mercedes kept their nerve where Ferrari arguably lost theirs, sticking with their original plan to pit the reigning world champion just once and banking on track position being king around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The decisive moment of the race came on lap 61, when the pursuing Vettel ran wide at the final chicane for the second time – the same lap race-leader Hamilton did his best lap of the race to extend his margin to over six seconds. Hamilton’s fifth win in Canada makes the Montreal circuit the most successful in his 10-season career. Rosberg’s championship lead, 43 points just three races ago, has been slashed to just nine on a weekend where he could never keep his teammate’s pace, and was elbowed out of the way at the first corner by Hamilton in a dismissive manner reminiscent of 2015. After dropping to 10th on lap one, an unscheduled pit stop for a slow puncture enlivened Rosberg’s race for the final 18 laps and he had several goes at Verstappen at the final chicane, but a spin on the penultimate lap saw him consigned to fifth, and left Hamilton breathing down his neck in the title chase.

Sebastian Vettel:
qualified 3rd, finished 2nd
Kimi Raikkonen: qualified 6th, finished 6th
Was this a race Mercedes won, or one Ferrari lost? Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene chose the latter after the race, where Vettel relinquished his advantage earned from a quite brilliant start to pit on lap 11 when the virtual safety car was brought into play after Button’s McLaren retired, a move that committed him to a two-stop strategy that proved unnecessary. “We overestimated the degradation on the tyres,” a glum Arrivabene said post-race, “and we called him in – it was the wrong decision.” After Australia, where Vettel led only to be placed on a strategy that was as conservative as it was wrong, that’s two victories the Scuderia has arguably gifted a team that’s quite clearly good enough to win races without anyone’s assistance. Vettel was left with too much to do and not enough laps to do it after his final pit stop on lap 37, and while he spent a lot of his race ranting about backmarkers over the radio, he was – publicly at least – quite pleased after the race, knowing Ferrari has the raw speed (if seemingly not the strategic sharpness) to fight with Mercedes on track. Qualifying and finishing sixth was an apt return for an anonymous race for Raikkonen, who finished 58 seconds behind Vettel on an identical strategy. The Finn drove a clean race and didn’t make any mistakes, which perhaps is easier to do when the car isn’t being pushed to its capabilities.

Front to back: what happened at Monaco?

Felipe Massa:
qualified 8th, did not finish
Valtteri Bottas: qualified 7th, finished 3rd
Unexpected joy for Williams in Montreal, with Bottas taking the team’s first podium of the season to replicate his third place at the same circuit last year. The Finn used a one-stop strategy and made the most of the prodigious straight-line speed of the Mercedes-powered Williams to take the first podium for the team since Mexico late last year, and won the race within a race between himself, Raikkonen, the recovering Rosberg and the two Red Bulls, given Hamilton and Vettel were so far up the road. Massa on the other hand had a disastrous trip to Canada – he’s never out-qualified a teammate in Montreal in 13 visits, and his race ended abruptly on lap 37 when his engine temperatures skyrocketed while he was running in the back-end of the top 10. It ruined the Brazilian’s record of being the only driver to have scored points in every race this season.

Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo:
qualified 4th, finished 7th
Max Verstappen: qualified 5th, finished 4th
Like Monaco last time out and Spain before that, Ricciardo’s Saturday promise turned to disappointment on Sunday, the Australian finishing seventh in a race where he expected to be in the mix for a victory. It didn’t take quite as long in this race for things to go pear-shaped – Ricciardo made a good initial getaway but snatched a brake into turn one, and then found himself having to take avoiding action from Rosberg as the Mercedes re-joined the circuit after his brush with Hamilton, Verstappen jumping him in the chaos. A direction from the pit wall for Verstappen to let Ricciardo come past wasn’t heeded by the time of the virtual safety car for Button’s demise on lap 11, and a flat spot after braking too late for the final chicane – and a stuttering pit stop to replace the damaged tyre on lap 39 – put paid to any chances Ricciardo had of getting back into the podium fight. Verstappen showed his attacking and defensive qualities in equal measure, scooting off after Vettel and Hamilton in the early stages, and then defending for all his worth against Rosberg to retain fourth in the final laps, forcing the championship leader into a spin at the last chicane with some wise racecraft. Eighteen points for the team was reasonable, but more would have been expected given where both cars started. Statistical footnote: by qualifying fourth on Saturday, Ricciardo is the only driver not to have been beaten in qualifying by a teammate in seven races this season.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg:
qualified 9th, finished 8th
Sergio Perez: qualified 11th, finished 10th
It wasn’t quite the high of a third (Perez) and sixth (Hulkenberg) for Force India two weeks’ ago in Monaco, but five points between the drivers on Sunday kept the team in fifth place in the constructors’ standings, and was achieved completely on merit. Hulkenberg was a lapped eighth but did all that could have been expected of him, while Perez elected to start on the soft tyre and try another of his trademark one-stop economy runs to the flag, but had to take a second set of tyres late in the race to ensure a points finish, the “summer” temperatures of 12 degrees (air) and 22 degrees (track) making for higher than expected tyre wear.

Jolyon Palmer: qualified 17th, did not finish
Kevin Magnussen: qualified 22nd, finished 16th
Palmer’s wait for a first F1 points finish continues, the Briton sidelined on lap 18 with a water leak after frustratingly missing Q2 on Saturday by just 0.015 seconds. Teammate Magnussen saw the end after seeing the start from the very back, the Dane not able to take part in qualifying on Saturday after a big shunt in the final practice session. Finishing just 16th and behind one Sauber (Ericsson) and in a fight with the Manors and the other Sauber of Nasr wouldn’t have improved his mood, though.

Toro Rosso
Daniil Kvyat:
qualified 13th, finished 12th
Carlos Sainz: qualified 16th, finished 9th
Hamilton took the win, Vettel the plaudits for a supreme start, and Bottas the pats on the back for a surprise podium – but there’s an argument for Sainz being the man of the Montreal match after the Spaniard scythed his way from 20th on the grid into the points on race day. Sainz came off second-best with a meeting with the infamous ‘Wall of Champions’ in Q2 and then had a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, but finishing between the Force India drivers was an excellent two-point reward for an afternoon of never giving in. Kvyat’s weekend was compromised before he even got to Montreal after carrying a three-place grid penalty into the race after his incident with Magnussen at Monaco, and he’s managed just one point in three races since being demoted from Red Bull Racing, Sainz scoring 14 across Spain, Monaco and now Canada.

Felipe Nasr:
qualified 20th, finished 18th
Marcus Ericsson: qualified 19th, finished 15th
The good news after Monaco was that the Saubers didn’t hit one another in Canada; the bad news for Nasr was that someone else hit him, as Magnussen spun the Brazilian at Turns 3-4 on the first lap. A pit stop on lap 10 had him nursing his tyres to the end, with no chance to score some first points for 2016. Ericsson had a three-place grid penalty after Monaco for the aforementioned Sauber shambles, and finished a lonely race eight seconds behind Grosjean in 14th, and 10 seconds ahead of the trailing Magnussen.

Jenson Button:
qualified 12th, did not finish
Fernando Alonso: qualified 10th, finished 11th
A disappointing day for McLaren where points were always going to be hard to come by, the team still finding its speed deficit on the long straights to be its Achilles heel. Button was the first driver to retire after his engine cried ‘enough’, while Alonso questioned the merits of continuing to the end with six laps to go when running half a minute outside the points, but was cajoled into seeing the chequered flag after a race that snapped the team’s modest three-race run of points finishes.

Pascal Wehrlein:
qualified 18th, finished 17th
Rio Haryanto: qualified 21st, finished 19th
Manor’s straight-line speed wasn’t an issue – Wehrlein was fourth-quickest through the speed trap in qualifying – but the corners proved more difficult for F1’s minnows, who were anchored towards the back for the entire weekend. Wehrlein pulled out a superb lap in qualifying to miss Q2 by a mere 0.020 seconds, and the German finished a whopping 44 seconds ahead of his Indonesian teammate, Haryanto never really getting back on terms with the track after clouting the wall in Q1.

Romain Grosjean:
qualified 15th, finished 14th
Esteban Gutierrez: qualified 14th, finished 13th
Grosjean started behind his teammate for the second straight race and got a little too close on lap one, the cars touching and Grosjean complaining of front-wing damage in the first stint. There’s no question that the car is being pushed to its limit by both drivers, Gutierrez finishing half a second ahead of his teammate after 92 minutes of racing, but the early-season deluge of points has turned into a trickle for F1’s newest team, Haas managing just four points total across the past four Grands Prix.


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