The Canadian Grand Prix is usually action packed, whether it is because of the proximity of the walls, the fast street circuit nature of it with packed grandstand right on the track, or that it almost always follows the Monaco Grand Prix and as such has a very favourable yardstick to compare against when talking of on track action.
All of the below was originally posted in the Fox Sports Academy. Just to save ourselves from copying.
Those in Australia who choose to start the week with a few hours less sleep are usually rewarded, and the 2017 edition didn’t disappoint.
An early crash wiped out some of the usual contenders for the best of the rest like Felipe Massa and Carlos Sainz at the third corner of the first lap, bringing out the Safety Car. A Virtual Safety Car was implemented not long after to collect the unfortunately stricken Red Bull of Max Verstappen who had sensationally climbed from fifth to second from the start.
Sebastian Vettel needed an early stop to change broken front wing, which sent him down the field, so early on Lewis Hamilton’s most likely opposition had taken care of themselves. Not that he probably wouldn’t dominated anyhow, given his love of the track.
Bottas too had enough speed to stay well in front of the 5 car snake that was the lone Red Bull of Ricciardo and the two Ferraris and Force Indias. He made it a one-two for Mercedes, a result which has become refreshingly less frequent in 2017.
Daniel Ricciardo made it three podiums in a row, but he was pushed hard all the way by the cheeky Force India driver Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon. His battle to keep third place was the interest of the last part of the race.
All in all it was an interesting race, and despite the action petering out as the race wore on, it had enough to reward the extra sleep lost for the loyalty.
Onto to quick review of the race, by nominating the Good, Bad and Ugly from the race.
Things could hardly have gone better for the now 5 Time winner of the Canadian Grand Prix. Pole, Win, dropped points for Championship rival. Tick, tick, tick.
The Briton took a pole which equalled his idol Ayrton Senna’s number of career poles. And for that was presented with his helmet, a scarcely beatable reward.
We didn’t see much of Lewis Hamilton during the race, such was his dominance in front, but that lack of TV exposure would matter very little to him as he was simply on another level to the rest during the race.
WOW, what a start from the Dutch youngster, although clipping Vettel’s front wing won’t have increased his chances of a Christmas card from the German, it was a sensational start that deserved praise. Shame about the Red Bull’s reliability 11 laps later.
As ever, when there’s trouble amongst the front runners, Force India are usually there to pick up the scraps on offer, and in particular Sergio Perez. Was running seventh after the first lap carnage required a Safety Car, then took advantage of Kimi Raikkonen almost putting it into the wall, and when Vettel needed an early pitstop, the Mexican driver was sitting fourth. He almost stole third place off Daniel Ricciardo during the first pitstop sequence too and pressured him strongly thereafter rather than having to hold off Ferraris behind for most of the second half of the race. But he couldn’t hold off the charging Vettel on the second last lap.
The other Force India driver did well too. On a different strategy to the rest of the front runners, he was left in second place after the first round of pit stops, and did a sterling job holding off the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas for as long as he did. When he did pit, he came out in front of Sebastian Vettel in 6th, and was hassling his team mate Perez as the two Force India drivers sniffed a podium at the expense of Daniel Ricciardo. His attempt to snatch fourth from his tea mate cost him a place to Vettel in the closing laps.
Would probably have snapped the hand off of anyone offering up a podium before this weekend given the Red Bull’s like for the track and Renault engine’s performance, so another podium will do very nicely. Although he went down to teammate Max Verstappen in qualifying and benefitted greatly from his car failure, and was holding off a Force India rather than pressuring the Mercedes in front.
A welcome point scoring drive for the much maligned rookie in the Williams. Has been accused throughout 2017 that his money rather than talent had landed him the drive with Williams, so a point scoring finish in his home race is not a bad start at the response.
With Lewis Hamilton winning, his main job was to finish second and to take points off Ferrari. Job done.
After the disappointment of Monaco he needed a big performance here to show that Ferrari were wrong not to have helped him out more on strategy in Monaco. He dropped to last of the big 6 at start and after that he ran onto grass (although did extremely well not to ran it into wall) to be demoted further still by Perez after SC.
His race was compromised after that but not as bad as his teammate, but he didn’t recover as well as the German who had to come back from a lot further back after his early pit stop. Indeed he finished behind his team mate again despite Vettel going to the back of the field.
The German’s race wasn’t any better than his team mate’s, although he recovered well after an early pitstop to change a front wing.
But being beaten to pole, demoted a few places at the start, and losing a chunk of championship points to Lewis Hamilton is enough to deem it a pretty bad weekend.
He still leads the Championship, which will be just about all he will take out of the weekend.
The instigator of the first lap crash. Whilst what he did to cause it was no worse than most other drivers do when defending position, his move ended in a car heading into a braking zone out of control. And in the process ruined two other driver’s races in addition to his own.
Another good weekend ruined by McLaren reliability. Maybe he will stay in North America and head to the Indycar scene. Has threatened to quit if the car is not looking capable of winning by September. That looks highly unlikely, so the guessing game for the new team or form of motor sport will start soon no doubt.
THE MASSA-SAINZ CRASH
Could have been so much worse. An out of control Toro Rosso flying into the braking zone with an unsuspecting car in the process of turning right unaware of the missile coming. Thankfully it wasn’t one of the more high speed
deceleration zones. Pity it took out two of 2017’s best from the midfield. For all FIA’s talk of “Racing Incidents” and being lenient, I can’t see Romain Grosjean not getting some kind of penalty for the next race.
MARTINI-CHAVES MEDAL FOR GURGLER BEST/WORST OF THE YEAR
Here is where we tally up all the good, bad and ugly for the season.
+ 1 Point for Good
– 1 Point for Bad
-0.5 for Ugly
There are bonus points as below. Drivers/Teams listed below have received a good and/or bad-ugly. Those with an overall score of 0 have had good and bad. Those not listed have been mediocre and been neither good or bad.
ULTIMATE WINNERS AND LOSERS
Here’s where an extra bonus point is added and subtracted for the very best and very worst. Plus a valuable one point for the Free Practice hero of the weekend, to the driver that got a chance to shine where they normally never get the chance to in big sessions.
WINNER – Lewis Hamilton – didn’t see him much during the race, and that’s because he had it all under control. Took Pole and easy win. His main rival finished back in the field too and closed up the Championship.
LOSER – No one really.
FREE PRACTICE HERO – FELIPE MASSA – up the front of the best of the rest battle across all three practice sessions.
2017 MARTINI-CHAVES MEDAL FOR GURGLER BEST/WORST OF THE YEAR
7.5 Points – Sebastian Vettel
5 Points – Lewis Hamilton
3 Points – Sergio Perez
3 Points – Felipe Massa
3 Points – Valtteri Bottas
2 Points – Fernando Alonso
1.5 Points Max Verstappen
1 Point – Esteban Ocon
1 Point – Pascal Wehrlein
1 Point – Carlos Sainz
1 Point – Jenson Button
0.5 Points – Dan Ricciardo
-0.5 Point Lance Stroll
-1 Point – Marcus Ericsson
-1 Point – Antonio Giovanazzi
-1 Point Romain Grosjean
-2 Point – Kimi Raikkonen
-2.5 Points – Jolyon Palmer
3 Points – Force India
1 Point – Ferrari
1 Point – Toro Rosso
0 Point – Mercedes
0 Points – Haas
-1 Point – Williams
-1 Point – FIA
-1 Point – Renault
-1 Point – Sauber
-1.5 Point – Red Bull
-6 Points – McLaren