F1: Five Talking Points From The Canadian Grand Prix

Photo Credit: USA Today
Photo Credit: USA Today /

The rain stayed away but the action was piled on thick at the Canadian Grand Prix, and though Mercedes ultimately took the win, Ferrari revealed they have what it takes to win a race in 2016.

The 2016 F1 racing season has been an absolute joy thus far. Coming into the season some fans were on both ends of the board wondering what kind of racing action F1 was going to provide us with this season. Although there have been some ups and downs, overall 2016 has been a good year for F1 fans, drivers and teams.

This past weekend in Canada was no different and coming out of the Canadian GP there is plenty of stuff worth talking about.

Mercedes Hindered By Traffic

It’s obvious that Mercedes have had the fastest car on the grid for the past three years, which has also allowed the team to stay clear from the rest of the pack. As such, it’s become commonplace on a Sunday to see one or both of the Silver Arrows pull away significantly during the race, it being unusual to see the team race against a car of a different make. Yet the Canadian GP has provided us just this. Nico Rosberg didn’t have the best of starts and had dropped down to tenth by the third corner. This of course gave the current championship leader a busy afternoon, and despite his car being monumentally quick, stuck in traffic, the W06’s godlike abilities were nowhere to be seen. Rosberg managed to finish fifth overall, yet passing cars usually much slower than his own wasn’t as easy as one might expect it to have been. Though Mercedes’ championship chances seem almost a certainty even now, Canada revealed that winning it might not be so easy. Especially if Sebastian Vettel continues to have super race starts just like he did this past Sunday.

Max Verstappen Holds His Own

On fresher tyres it seemed that Rosberg was going to easily take fourth from Verstappen in the closing laps of the race. Rosberg caught the Dutchman just as predicted, but getting past him was going to be another thing altogether. Even with DRS, Rosberg couldn’t get his Mercedes ahead of the Red Bull, Verstappen placing his car perfectly every time the German launched an attack. Heading into the final chicane of the penultimate lap, assisted with DRS, Rosberg threw caution to the wind and propelled his car ahead of the Red Bull. For a fraction of a second the move seemed to have stuck, yet before a single Mercedes fan could utter a cheer, Rosberg had spun, leaving Verstappen to ultimately take fourth. Coming off a dreadful race weekend at Monaco, questions of Verstappen’s maturity had begun to resurface. These comments won’t stop anytime, but after leaving Canada, the youngest driver in Formula One can at least hold his head high, proving that he has one of the coolest on the grid.

Lewis Hamilton’s Rivals Gift Him the Victory Again?

Though Hamilton drove a brilliantly consistent race in Monaco, many attribute his victory to Red Bull’s blundered pit-stop. Well, two weeks later, not only is it another win for Hamilton, but similar rhetoric is also coming out of the paddock. However, this time it isn’t Red Bull’s pit-stop antics being talked about, but Ferrari’s. Ferrari’s mechanics did their job perfectly when called upon, yet it was their race strategists’ decisions which are being brought into question. After Jenson Button’s McLaren came to a halt with its engine on fire, the Virtual Safety Car was activated. With all cars now going to a much slower set pace, Ferrari decided to capitalise on the field’s reduced speed and pit Vettel from the lead. Starting the race on the ultra softs and opting to pit for the super soft tyres meant that Vettel would be forced to pit again during the race (every driver having to run the soft tyres at least once). Hamilton on the other hand decided to stay out, stretching the life of his ultra softs so that he was only obliged to pit once. This forced Vettel to have to chase the current world champion down in the final stages of the race. But with his Mercedes free to soak in the clean air from first place, the Ferrari couldn’t get the job done. We can only guess what would’ve happened if Ferrari had decided to stay out as Vettel was managing quite well to keep Hamilton’s Mercedes behind him.

Valteri Bottas Puts Williams Back On the Map

So far this year most of the talk around Formula One has been centred on Mercedes, Ferrari and a recently resurgent Red Bull. Williams on the other hand have been absent from the headlines. It’s not that they haven’t been putting in good results, it’s mostly due to the fact that their races have been rather mundane. Well, Canada has changed all that. Bottas managed to take third for the British team, and did so in his usual smooth style. Though he had to fight with the likes of Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo, and Verstappen, Bottas got the job done and put the spotlight firmly back on Williams in the process. With his podium, Bottas has reaffirmed that Willaims has what it takes to take it to Red Bull or even Ferrari.

Where’s Haas?

Haas had a dream start to their inaugural season, and many thought that they had skipped the usual backmarker period that new teams are used to. But seven races in and a string of less than impressive finishes, it seems its business as usual for the baby of the pack. Though it was expected, it’s also disappointing. Haas are without doubt doing far better than the likes of Caterham, HRT, and Virgin when they all began, but hope that they would continue putting in top ten finishes is beginning to dwindle. However, it’s unreasonable to be too harsh on a team that’s only seven races old.