An entertaining Canadian Grand Prix weekend saw Lewis Hamilton equal his idol’s, Ayrton Senna’s record of 65 poles. He then led Valtteri Bottas home for a Mercedes 1-2 finish.
The race itself was exhilarating as Ferrari, Force India and Red Bull battled for the last podium spot. There were also some competitive fights down in midfield for the lower points.
As Formula one heads to Azerbaijan in a fortnight, what did we learn from this weekend?
- McLaren troughs behind
McLaren have made decent progress lately but their lack of straight line speed is still hampering them.
The McLaren powered Honda is 9km/h off that of top teams like Mercedes, costing them time. If they had better straight line speed, its probable that they might of snuck into Q3 and therefore had a better race.
Race day brought a surprisingly impressive performance but Fernando Alonso will be disappointed with a late retirement.
Azerbaijan will be tough but the race progress surely stands McLaren in good stead, should there be more chaos in a fortnight.
2. Mercedes bounces back
After a disappointing performance in Monaco, Mercedes were back on top form.
Pirelli brought the same tyre compounds as used in the Principality, surely unsettling expectations amongst those on the Silver Arrows’ pit wall.
Montreal however is more of a power circuit than Monaco, which played perfectly into the Mercs’ hands.
With another power based track in Azerbaijan coming up using same compounds, this was always going to be a true indicator of the Mercs’ true pace and boy did they deliver with a 1-2 finish.
3. Red Bull vs Force India
If were in doubt as to who were Red Bull’s main rivals, this race definitely confirms that Force India are going to threaten them all the way to Abu Dhabi.
Sergio Perez maximised his Mercedes engine to keep pressure on Daniel Ricciardo throughout the race, after a chaotic start. This is a clear demonstration that Force India are definitely on a evens kneel with the 2010-13 Constructors champions, despite a late fall back to 5 & 6th places.
Esteban Ocon too is definitely showing his potential, having managed 32 laps on the ultra softs before pitting. Those around him however pitted much earlier so to beat Raikkonen says a lot about his talent and how far the team has come.
With Baku being similar in terms of power, I fancy Force India to build on this performance and really stir things up at the front like they did last season.
4. Skiddy prancing horses
After a strong start to the season and weekend, Ferrari hit the skids in the race.
Considered to be the team that nails race starts, they certainly didn’t do that in Montreal as Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas bogged Sebastian Vettel down to fourth.
Matters didn’t improve when Perez overtook Kimi Raikkonen, prior to part of Vettel’s front wing flying off creating a tougher strategy.
Vettel managed a excellent recovery despite needing a second pit stop alongside Raikkonen and managed to somehow secure a late fourth place from Sergio Perez.
All in all, a decent result for the ‘prancing hoses’ after a madder race for them than expected.
5. No more strolling
Williams should be worried about Lance Stroll’s performances after a poor start but there were signs of improvements here.
Saturday saw the 18 year old Canadian top the speed trap data so the speed is definitely there. The issue now seems to be translating that into stronger lap times because single lap pace has clearly been his hindrance.
Sunday saw a better performance with his first points finish in F1, having taken advantage of the early retirements.
Realistically the jury is still out on Stroll but if he can use this performance as his season starter, he could well prove his doubters including me wrong.
If missed other races and want a brief round up, click on the links below.