Oh Canada, you promised so much, but delivered so little. Despite the lack of an action packed grand prix, there’s still plenty to talk about. Chris Fawcett gives you the low down with the Top 5 from Montreal.
What now for Hartley?
There was one man who truly needed a great result in Canada; Brendon Hartley.
Due to those pesky, slippy tyres of Lance Stroll’s Williams, the likeable Kiwi never completed the first lap and ended the day with a precautionary trip to the hospital.
The week started bad enough with rumours about drivers such as Lando Norris and Pascal Wehrlein potentially taking his seat before the season ends. Chattering that he’s strongly denied and wants to put an end to.
It’s been pretty obvious that his team mate Pierre Gasly has been driving the wheel nuts off of the Toro Rosso this year, and with age a concerning factor (Hartley is 29 later this year) time is no longer on his side.
I wanted and expected a lot from Brendon Hartley, he needs to show it soon or I fear for his longevity in the sport.
Nightmare 300th GP for Alonso
Canada was the metaphorical alarm clock for Fernando Alonso. He’s been in dreamland over the past month or so with his efforts in the World Endurance Championship for Toyota. A debut victory in Spa, coupled with impressive Le Mans testing pace means that the Spaniard came crashing back to reality when he got to Montreal and he hit the ground hard with a retirement on lap 43.
This year should have been the year that the great McLaren team made headlines. Top tens aplenty with podium challenges thrown in for good measure. They were the vows made for a beautiful, new partnership with Renault. While it’s been promising at times, it hasn’t yet lived up to the expectations.
You can bet your bottom dollar that if Fernando gets a taste for victory again, this time at Le Mans of all places, his motivation in Formula One will be holding on by a thread, at least in comparison to his other ventures.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) June 10, 2018
Bottas bottled it again
Think back to Bahrain, the image of Valtteri Bottas hunting down Sebastian Vettel for the race victory, the opportunity was there to make the pass, he didn’t take it. He finished second best that day.
Canada presented another chance for the Finn to make a mark on this year’s Drivers Championship and prove he’s more than a number two. In the closing stages and Vettel hitting traffic at all the wrong times, the gap between them both was minimised to three seconds and an easy victory for the Ferrari man looked like becoming a tough day in the office. That was until Bottas took himself out of the equation by making a mistake at turn-one when trying to get past Carlos Sainz, undoing all of the hard work he’d done up until lap 56.
I feel I may be being a bit harsh, but the reality is, it was another day, another chance, another second best…Where’s the machine like precision from Russia last year? Without that killer instinct he’s resigned to be the Finnish Rubens Barrichello.
Valtteri Bottas claimed another valuable podium on Sunday 👏
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 11, 2018
It’s best for business
It may not have been pretty (exciting) but a near-flawless weekend for Sebastian Vettel has meant that the title race is again at a knife-edge, something I’m sure we all want for as long as possible. A considerable points swing means that Seb now holds a one-point lead over Lewis Hamilton heading into the French Grand Prix.
It’s pretty amazing to think that Vettel hasn’t finished on the podium since Bahrain, and that every time he’s got there this season, he’s stood on the middle step with the trophy aloft. To say I was a little concerned about the possibility of another slow-building Mercedes runaway season would be an understatement, but after this result at a power circuit nonetheless, I am a little more optimistic about what the rest of the season holds.
Make no mistake about it, this isn’t a happy hunting ground for Ferrari. Their last win around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was back in 2004 with Michael Schumacher on his way to his final World Championship.
Whether the idea to unveil a new power unit specifically for this race was planned, or a case of “get it in the car ASAP” it doesn’t matter, because the result is just the same. Ferrari now hold the power and with rumours of Mercedes struggling with reliability issues on their engine updates, you cant help but feel the guys and girls at Brackley will be putting in overtime to make sure that the prancing horse doesn’t gallop into the distance.
One point in it… 😬 pic.twitter.com/tUsWRbDJsk
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 11, 2018
Ah, the debacle that was the final lap, or second to last lap…however you see it.
For a sport as large as Formula One, it seems lacklustre on management’s part to allow something like this to even happen, so let’s get this clear straight away, it’s their doing, not Winnie Harlow’s.
With that said, this isn’t the first time it’s happened in recent memory. China 2014 was a balls-up when Lewis Hamilton took the victory but Kamui Kobayashi’s final lap pass of Jules Bianchi was swept under the carpet due to regulatory lap count backs.
However, something a little more relevant to Canada was footballing legend Pele not waving the flag for Michael Schumacher in Brazil back in 2002…the link? A celebrity outside of the sport. Just think about that for a minute. It’s like having Jeremy Clarkson on the pitch blowing the full-time whistle at a World Cup match or maybe Nigella Lawson doing the scoring for the darts. In short, it’s a farce to let anyone untrained, unqualified and uninterested (as she alluded to on the grid beforehand) to do something as important as waving the flag or starting the race officially.
FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting has clarified that it was a communication error, completely unrelated to that of the celebrity waving the flag which lead to the issue. To my ears this means that even the most seasoned pro can make an error, so why on earth would you give the duty to someone without the experience is beyond me.
I am personally sick and tired of seeing someone of stature interjected into a Formula One weekend unnaturally and interfering or taking the headlines afterwards. Please make it stop.
Charlie Whiting has clarified that it was a steward error that caused the #CanadianGP flag to be waved early.
Because, well, it was. https://t.co/0uEulQGK44
— Fantasy GP (@Fantasy_GP) June 11, 2018