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5 Things We Learned from the Canadian Grand Prix

The Canadian Grand Prix was the most exciting race of 2024 so far, helped by the weather.

Canadian GP

The Canadian Grand Prix was the most exciting race of 2024 so far, helped by the weather. It’ll go down in F1 folklore because it had everything: rain, many overtakes, crashes, several Safety Car periods, and pit stops galore.

Max Verstappen won the chaotic race ahead of a pacey Lando Norris and pole-sitter George Russell. The two Brits wrestled in the middle of the race, with the Mercedes driver passing teammate Lewis Hamilton and Oscar Piastri to claim a place on the rostrum.

Verstappen, who claimed his sixth victory this season, perfectly managed a restart with 11 laps remaining after a clash between Carlos Sainz and Alex Albon drew a Safety Car. Both drivers were forced out of the race.

Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez, and Logan Sargeant were the other retirements from the afternoon. Ferrari landed with a bump after winning in Monaco a fortnight ago to a miserable Sunday in Montreal. The Scuderia never had the pace in either wet or dry conditions.

Here are five things we learned from the memorable race:

5. Rain can cause a chaotic start – The track was wet when the race started, and all teams opted for intermediates. However, Haas stuck full wet tyres on Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg’s cars. Both drivers had the confidence to brake later as the duo scythed through the field, with Magnussen reaching as high as fourth place. The gamble didn’t pay dividends, both finished outside the top 10.

4. Mercedes’ Pace – Russell and Hamilton showed good pace at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve across the weekend. Russell’s pole lap was brilliant, the W15 rode the kerbs off well and gave both drivers lots of confidence. Hamilton secured fourth place after passing Piastri and scored an extra point thanks to setting the fastest lap of the race.

3. F1 isn’t a one-horse race – In a remarkable turnaround, Mercedes replaced Ferrari as the third protagonist in Canada. Russell and Verstappen set the same time in qualifying, however, the Brit set his lap before the Dutchman. Verstappen had to work hard for the win and showed his experience with expertly timing the two restarts. The top five drivers put on a fantastic show for the 350,000 spectators who attended across the weekend. 

2. Russell continues to make mistakes under pressure – The Briton will be the number one Mercedes driver next season as the team will promote Kimi Antonelli from the academy. Once again, the 26-year-old made errors at crucial moments, leading to him falling behind Norris and Piastri. It meant the Mercedes driver had too few laps to challenge Norris for P2. Even team boss Toto Wolff called for calm over the radio as the Briton went too deep into a corner and lost vital seconds.

1. Ricciardo scores and Perez loses again A video of 1997 F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve criticising Daniel Ricciardo must’ve motivated the ever-smiling Aussie as he qualified fifth. The RB driver followed it up with a commendable eighth-place finish and four points. The second seat at Red Bull for next season was confirmed when Sergio Perez signed last week. However, the brain trust must wonder if they made the right call. The Mexican followed his DNF in Monaco with another one in Montreal. He failed to get out of Q3 on Saturday. Red Bull needs to find out what is happening in Perez’s head.

Sean Parker is a motorsport journalist and sports content creator at The South African. He has worked for the country's premier motoring publications, and is a Formula 1 contributor to, the Bet Central podcast, and Vision View Sports radio.

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