Formula 1’s visit to its third continent in seven races brought much excitement, with the prospect of a Hamilton/Vettel fight promising to come to fruition.
Sadly, it never came to a head due to a questionable strategy call from Ferrari, but the race was not short of action
Williams: The conquerors (of third place)
It’s been quite a week for Williams F1 Team.
Deputy team principal Clare Williams was named in the Queen’s birthday honours list, and picked up an OBE for her services to motorsport.
The awards and accolades rolled over into the weekend, with Valtteri Bottas picking up the first podium for himself and his team all season, with their last trip to the rostrum being in Mexico last year.
It’s a good step for the team with the quickest pit stops around, and so if their race pace is up to scratch in matching their tyre changing speeds, and with the long straights of Baku coming next, it could be the start of an upward trend for the team.
Bernie says drink. But don’t drink and drive
In the days leading up to the Canadian GP, a ‘significant’ title sponsor and global partnership between F1 and Heineken was announced, leading the walls and advertising hoardings of the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve becoming covered in green Heineken adverts.
It can appear a bit hypocritical – having a beer company all over the place but with the slogan ‘If You Drive, Never Drink’, but Johnnie Walker has sponsored McLaren for years, recently pushing the #JoinThePact slogan to never drink and drive far more than their own product.
But while drinking and driving seem like odd bedfellows, it’s important to remember that F1 used to be built on millions upon millions in cigarette sponsorship. With the ciggies gone, something else lucrative has to pick up the slack, and if a beer company is the answer, why not…especially when it leads to Photoshop opportunities like this:
Do your worst, Reddit!
Kimi ******* Raikkonen
A few weeks ago in Russia it was Sebastian Vettel turning the scarlet Ferrari a positively blue hue with his exasperated bemusement at being taken out by Dany Kvyat, but this week it was team mate Kimi Raikkonen’s turn.
The Iceman first entertained with the line “I cannot take it easy!” when told to conserve his tyres, but his quip “Get this ******* Manor out the way!” was perhaps the most memorable.
It wasn’t just the Ferrari driver either – fellow blonde bombshell Nico Rosberg said he was “pissed off” about going wide at turn 1, when Lewis Hamilton shoved him wide.
Let’s hope they’ve washed their mouths out by Baku…or not!
Yet another STR-ong performance
Starting from the back of the grid after smashing into the Wall of Champions on Saturday afternoon, Carlos Sainz put in a monster performance to finish ninth, well inside the points.
Rally Champ Junior has had something of a renaissance since Max Verstappen’s premature promotion to fully-fledged Red Bull, putting in three ace performances to score 14 points in his last three races, compared with just one for new team mate Daniil Kvyat.
As any maths fan will tell you, that’s an increase in points of 1400%, which sound mental, but perhaps even crazier is that Sainz has now matched his 2015 points tally in just 7 races, and last year’s car was considered a more complete package. Epic stuff!
Praise – as if there was any more need for it – should also be handed out to Verstappen, who put in a blinder of a shift holding off a very speedy Nico Rosberg, eventually pushing the championship leader into a mistake.
Oh come on, did you expect it to be anything else?
Sebastian Vettel’s perception is an incredible thing. He went from being an excited puppy in an unlikely Toro Rosso seat in 2007/08, highly-praised for his sensational Monza win in 2008.
In 2010, though, when he became a title contender in the best car on the grid at Red Bull, he gave off the impression of being impetuous and somewhat spoiled, throwing his toys out of the prams at the slightest notion of misfortune or difficulty.
It took him a while to shift that image among all the dominant races and “Multi-21” nonsense, but since joining Ferrari he’s become a fan favourite, often making the Mercedes boys blush in press conferences for their corporate and frankly boring answers compared to his cheeky German banter.
Of course, this weekend it was all about the birds for Seb, refusing to answer any questions about the race without mentioning the feathered fiends that decided to relax on the exit of Turn 1.
It resulted in perhaps one of the best bits of TV seen on an F1 program in recent history, with Lewis Hamilton’s interview with Sky sabotaged by him.
It’s akin to things we’ve seen on the F1 Forum in the BBC days, or things that Murray Walker would have got up to, like when he hit Nigel Mansell on the head with his microphone. It was brilliant – Seb, never change!