Highs and Loews: Canada

Highs

Lewis Hamilton – 1st
Mercedes and Hamilton needed to make a statement after the fiasco in Monte Carlo, and this was it. It was difficult to judge how qualifying was going to go right up until Q3, when Hamilton suddenly blew the field away. To be three tenths ahead of Vettel and seven in front of Bottas is mightily impressive, to do it at a track that’s as short as Canada makes it even more so. Managed to get off the line well which kept him clear of the problems behind, and cruised to victory thereafter. Hamilton now has a 60% win ratio in Canada from his 10 races there, which is staggering.

Valtteri Bottas – 2nd
May not feel great given how far short of his teammate he was, especially on a track that had treated him well in the past, but as shown above not many get close to Hamilton in Canada. Bottas’ 2nd means Mercedes get their first 1-2 of the season, so they’ll be delighted even if Bottas feels somewhat dissatisfied.

Daniel Ricciardo – 3rd
Third straight podium despite not being third quickest driver over the weekend has got to feel good on some level. Verstappen looked to have the beating of Ricciardo before his battery failure, and the Force Indias seemed quicker, but Ricciardo held on thanks to a great defensive display. Sergio Perez said after the race that Ricciardo didn’t put a foot wrong, and it’s hard to argue, will just want to be looking forward rather than in his mirrors in future. Also gets credit for having Patrick Stewart do a shoey, which was a wonderful sight.

Esteban Ocon – 6th
Drove splendidly again, and found himself in a position where he was putting real pressure on Perez. Won’t have been happy to hear that his teammate defied team orders (more on that later), which may have cost him a podium, but his public outlook was both dignified and professional, which some of the elder statesmen of the sport could take learn from.

Nico Hulkenberg – 8th
Got into Q3 and about as high as he was likely to be able to get, given the engines of those in front. Went forward in the race, too, and scored more vital points for the team.

Lance Stroll – 9th
Let’s not beat around the bush, the Williams in Canada has more potential than 9th. However, let’s also give Stroll some credit, he deserves some recognition for breaking his duck. He has become the second youngest driver to score points, and as we were reminded a few times on Sunday, the first Canadian not carrying the name Villeneuve to score. More of the same required, but for now, he should enjoy his first points, especially as they were achieved at his home race.

Romain Grosjean – 10th
Qualified 14th and was involved in the first lap incident that ended Sainz and Massa’s races, yet still managed to sneak into the top 10. A job well done, considering.

Fernando Alonso – DNF
The superlatives thrown at Alonso this season have been plentiful, but at no point undeserved. He will score points for McLaren this season, which will be an incredible achievement, they just need the car to be able to go the distance.

Patrick Stewart – DNS
Dr. Charles Xavier did a shoey and the world loved it.

Loews

Sebastien Vettel – 4th
Yes it was a great recovery drive, but after such a good weekend in Monaco, he’ll have wanted to continue to put the squeeze on Hamilton. As it is, his title rival will leave Montreal with a renewed sense of optimism. Hamilton is susceptible to momentum, both good and bad, Vettel will not want to gift him the chance to go pick up pace.

Kimi Raikkonen – 7th
Nearly half a second down on his teammate, eight tenths down on the pole position, which after his performance in Monaco will come as a massive disappointment. On Sunday, fell behind the Force Indias and was unable to regain position.

Stoffel Vandoorne – 14th
Qualified 16th but on race day managed to finish behind Ericsson in the Sauber. This is a nightmare debut season for a driver said to have huge potential, not helped by having a teammate finding far more time than the McLaren realistically has. But is Alonso hugely overachieving or Vandoorne underachieving? The truth is probably both.

Pascal Wehrlein – 15th
Crashed in qualifying which led to a pit lane start, then finished dead last and the only driver 2 laps down. On a weekend where Esteban Ocon (his Mercedes development rival) impressed, it was certainly a step backwards for the German.

Carlos Sainz – DNF
Less than a week after I wrote this about Sainz, he goes and has weekend to forget. Firstly he criticises the team for what he felt was favouritism in qualifying, then he causes a first lap incident that ended not only his, but Felipe Massa’s race too. His move across Grosjean was dangerous, to do it a second time meant it came as no surprise that carbon fibre began to fly. He later said he wasn’t aware he was there, but on the first lap, you need to be more aware of the possibility of such positions.

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