What did we learn from the Canadian Grand Prix?

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Canada, Circuit Gilles Villeneuveca

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton emerged victorious from the Formula One Pirelli Grand Prix du Canada 2019 despite crossing the finish line only in second place. Having led the race from start to finish, Sebastian Vettel was robbed the victory for an incident on lap 48.

The Stewards imposed a five-second penalty on Vettel after he had gone off the track between turn 3 and 4 and rejoined it in a manner which was deemed unsafe by the race direction. The German past the checkered flag first, but five seconds were added to his race time, handing the victory over to Hamilton and relegating the Ferrari driver to second place in the standings, a second ahead of third place finisher Charles Leclerc.

The penalty caused an unusual amount of debate, with many fans and former drivers openly questioning the decision. Those who disagreed argued previous incidents were handled differently, frequently pointing to a manoeuvre of Lewis Hamilton’s on Daniel Ricciardo in the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix when the Briton squeezed the Australian against the wall to defend his lead after running off the track. Hamilton at that time escaped the incident without penalty on that occasion.

Not that bad! – Even if Williams have found itself at the bottom of the pecking order since the start of the season, the Grove-based team showed excellent performance in a certain area. The mechanics completed the fastest pit stop of the Montreal race during Robert Kubica’s second pit visit. This tyre change completed in 2.07 seconds was not only the fastest of the race, but the first seven grands prix of the 2019 season.

New lap record – Valtteri Bottas went on to set the fastest lap of the race. The Finn’s lap time of 1:13.078 was over a second faster than the fastest laps of their rivals, but that was down to a late pit stop. Until the dying moments of the race, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was holding the fastest race lap, but Mercedes fitted new soft tyres on Bottas’ car three laps before the end of the race to snatch away the one additional point from the Monegasque driver.The Finn set the fastest ever race lap on the Circuit GIlles Villeneuve, beating Rubens Barrichello’s former record which the Brazilian recorded in the 2004 Canadian Grand Prix.

Three nationalities – The Stewards who handed Sebastian Vettel the time penalty which cost the German the race victory were Gerd Ennser, Mathieu Remmerie and Emanuele Pirro. The line-up of stewards featured three nationalities – German, French and Italian.

An illustrious trio – Despite the pain caused by the penalty, Sebastian Vettel achieved another milestone in his successful career. The Canadian Grand Prix was the 100th race which he led during his 226-race-long career. The success saw him joining Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton, the only two other drivers who managed to break the century mark in terms of the number of races led. Vettel led a total of 63 laps on Sunday, he only gave the lead for two laps for Hamilton and five laps to Leclerc with his early pit stop.

Twice – Despite to a less successful race, Valtteri Bottas set the fastest race lap which was his second fastest lap in 2019 after the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly are two other drivers to have been quickest in a race twice this season.

Double podium - Charles Leclerc’s third place behind team-mate Vettel meant that for the first time in 14 years Ferrari had both cars on the podium in Montréal.

Negative end – Valtteri Bottas’ fourth place on Sunday meant that the Finn’s run of podium finishes in Canada ended this weekend. The five-time race winner hasn’t missed the podium in Montreal since 2015. That year, he finished third with Williams which he could repeat in the following year. In 2017 and 2018, he grabbed the second spot on the podium with Mercedes.

Two and four are the best numbers – Charles Leclerc scored his second podium of the year with his third place in Canada. In fact, this was the second podium finish in his entire career. Sebastian Vettel’s first / second place on Sunday was his fourth podium finish of the season and his 115th appearence on the rostrum in his career.

The magical once – The majority of drivers opted for a one-stop strategy. It became evident already on Friday that the red-striped Pirelli C5 soft compound won’t last long over a distance, but the C4 medium and C3 hard compound showed good durability and grip at the same time. After the analysis of the Friday long-run simulations, the Italian tyre supplier recommended the one-stop strategy. Ultimately, most of the drivers chose to visit the pit only one single time. Robert Kubica and Kimi Räikkönen were the only ones to vote for a two-stop strategy. Valtteri Bottas visited the Mercedes garage twice, but the Finn’s second visit was tactical and helped him in his pursue for the fastest race lap.

Points scorers – Six teams managed to collect championship points at the seventh round of the season. Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing scored points with two cars while Toro Rosso and Racing Points finished with one car in the top ten.

Disappointment – McLaren’s hopes for leaving Montreal with a bag full of points ended in tears. The Woking-based squad showed promising pace throughout the practice sessions and secured a position with both its cars in the last qualifying segment, but the race brought a disappointing end to the team’s efforts. Carlos Sainz had to pit on lap three after a tear-off stuck in a brake duct. It meant that the Spaniard had to complete 67 laps on the same set of hard compound which heavily compromised his race. Lando Norris was forced to retire from the race on lap 8 due to overheating issues.

Retirement – The Canadian Grand Prix saw two drivers failing the see the chequered flag. Lando Norris retired on lap 8 while Alexander Albon on lap 59.

The best rookie – Antonio Giovinazzi secured the title of the best rookie of the Canadian Grand Prix. The Italian finished the race in the 13th position while George Russel in the 16. The two other rookies, Lando Norris and Alexander Albon failed to finish the race.

The fast Leclerc – Despite to fighting with the car’s balance on the medium compound in the opening stint, Charles Leclerc came alive in his second stint of the race. The Monegasque driver managed to extend his first stint and he showed great pace when he switched to Pirelli’s C3 compound. Ferrari’s newcomer set the second fastest race lap and he was on course to snatch away the one additional point for the fastest lap, but Valtteri Bottas eventually beat his time when he made a tactical tyre change three laps before the end of the race. Leclerc’s best race lap was almost half a second faster than the one of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

Already six-time world champion? – With his debated win, Lewis Hamilton further increased his lead in the championship. The Briton now leads 29 points clear of his team-mate Valtteri Bottas while Sebastian Vettel is a whopping 62 point behind Hamilton.