Max, Master of Montreal: Your Recap of the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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On the 50th anniversary of the safety car being introduced to F1, and a wet weekend forecast at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the atmosphere was tense all through practice and qualifying. A CCTV mishap during the practice sessions threw everyone into a bit of chaos but the technical difficulties were soon rectified.

The track was originally the Île Notre-Dame Circuit but renamed the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in honour of the Canadian driver. He won the inaugural Canadian Grand Prix in 1978 but was tragically killed in a qualifying accident at the Belgian Grand Prix in 1982.

Image Credit: F1

Red Bull are continuing to widen their championship gap, after Max Verstappen won for the 7th time this season. It’s his 41st Grand Prix win and puts him equal with legendary driver, Artyon Senna da Silva. Red Bull have won all eight races and it’s no surprise with their rocket of a racing car.

Sergio Perez, who won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, did not have as much luck this weekend but is still in 2nd place in the Driver’s Championship. He still finished in P6 but the pressure from Red Bull is mounting.

The Redbull victory in Canada means that the team has won 100 Grand Prix’s in the teams history. It’s a monumental achievement and puts them 5th in overall wins.

Image Credit: F1

The controversial driver of the weekend was Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr who was penalised for impending Pierre Gasly in qualifying.

 “It makes no sense for him or Ferrari. It’s unacceptable.” 

Martin Brundle, SkySports

It isn’t the first time the Spaniard has been punished for this and I doubt it will be the last.

His teammate, Charles LeClerc, did not qualify past Q2. However, things got better for the Monegasque driver who took P4 in Sunday’s race. Sainz finished in P5, so things are starting to look a little brighter for the Ferrari team.

“Considering where we started from it was the best we could have done today. We did a good job… The good feeling I had on Friday in the race simulations was confirmed today. The compounds we used, we were quite competitive with. So some positives to take.”

Charles LeClerc, SkySports

The dark horse of Canada was Williams driver, Alex Albon. The Thai driver had a superb qualifying and started in P9. He held off Ocon, Bottas, Norris and Stroll during the Grand Prix, keeping them in a DRS train behind his car.

Albon’s impressive driving solidified the young driver as the SalesForce ‘Driver of the Day ‘ and has opened up questions about whether his talents are wasted in a Williams, or if he will be the driver to bring Williams back to their competitive racing days.

Image Credit: F1

“The car feels very similar to pre-upgrades but we know it has more downforce… We have made a step forward and everyone has done such an amazing job. Two weeks ago I was at the factory and I don’t want to call it a crisis but we were quite low on parts….We had a meeting with everyone and had to sacrifice their weekends and work all day and night… They changed PU and I actually felt some pressure because everything was on me. I’m just so happy.”

Alex Albon, SkySports

Mercedes has also continued to improve, albeit only slightly. Lewis Hamilton finished in P3, alongside Fernando Alonso, who drives for Aston Martin. It meant the podium was made up of 3 drivers with 11 World Championships between them.

Unfortunately for George Russell, he had to retire his car. He had a massive shunt and ended up hitting a wall. Despite his attempts to continue the race, the call was made for the driver to DNF.

Image Credit: F1

Another controversy of the weekend was the stewards’ decision to hand McLaren driver, Lando Norris, a 5-second penalty for unsportsmanlike behaviour. Despite the British driver’s best efforts, he ended up outside of points and finished in P13 overall.

I’m not unsportsmanlike, so it’s impossible… It doesn’t make sense to me.

Lando Norris, F1

The full results of the Canadian Grand Prix can be found on the official Formula 1 website.

Here’s how the standings look after Montreal, and make sure to catch the next race weekend in Austria, from June 30 to July 2.

Image Credit: F1
Image Credit: F1
Image Credit: F1

Featured Image Credit: F1

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3rd year English and Journalism student, passionate about social change, Formala 1 and everything in between.

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