The 2022 Canadian Grand Prix may not have reached the heights of previous visits, but it was another solid entry into what has been an entertaining start to the Formula 1 season.
Fortune continued to shine on F1’s beacon for the time being, but things weren’t looking so good for his team-mate – as there were more chances taken, and more missed, in the ultra- closed in the middle of the field.
We select the biggest winners and losers of the first race in Montreal for three years.
Verstappen looked his unfazed best on race day in Montreal. Fernando Alonso’s big talk about a Turn 1 challenge? Rejected. Carlos Sainz’s forays into cooler tires mid-race? Limit. Sainz’s later attacks in the latter part of the race? Rejected.
The world champion was crushingly fast on Saturday and, while the difference was not the same on Sunday, he finally made the difference in battle in the race.
In truth, the Red Bull driver has always sought to have the measure of Sainz despite the Ferrari driver’s best efforts to pursue relentlessly. Verstappen’s reward is a nearly 50-point lead over his closest rivals in the drivers standings, team-mate Sergio Perez (46) and Charles Leclerc’s fellow Ferrari (49). Imperious. –Jack Cozens
Lewis Hamilton’s joy at his and Mercedes’ performance in qualifying was evident on Saturday night, particularly against the backdrop of his struggles on Friday where Hamilton said the settings he tried were “not fun to drive “.
But surely neither he nor the team could have expected to be so close to race pace after falling so far off in practice.
OK the last safety car helped and the Mercedes still doesn’t seem to have the measure of Red Bull or Ferrari but there was a point in the race before the full safety car where Hamilton was genuinely the more driver fast on the track, and there was vim in his driving too as he argued with Verstappen when Red Bull left the pits. His joy and relief at returning to the podium was palpable.
George Russell’s decisive overtakes early in the race were key to ensuring he had enough in hand in the closing laps to keep Leclerc’s Ferrari under control as well. Third and fourth are undoubtedly better than Mercedes could have expected. – JC
ALPINE AND ESTEBAN OCON
Given that Fernando Alonso’s start in the front row has just turned into a disgruntled-sounding seventh, you might raise a dubious eyebrow at Alpine’s presence in the winners’ group today.
Surely from that front row he should have at least pulled off a bit of underdog heroism in the lead, or a more compelling podium bid, or beat the Mercedes.
OK, yes, given second place on the grid, surely Alpine fans were hoping for more. But sixth and ninth – even after Alonso’s penalty – still make them fourth best behind the top three teams in recent seasons, and it’s a solid double in points that puts the team four eighths behind McLaren, fourth in the constructors’ championship.
Considering Alpine’s usual situation in 2022, it was a very decent result. Considering one of his cars started in the front row, that’s perhaps a little disappointing. But in pragmatic terms, a good day. For Esteban Ocon too, beating Alonso after being vastly overqualified was a strong intra-team turnaround. – Mate beer
It’s not Alfa Romeo’s highest points tally this season, but an encouraging result after a very shaky Baku a week ago.
Tenth on the grid and ninth in the race were both new personal bests for Zhou Guanyu and will be a very timely boost given his rookie campaign had started to meander a bit lately.
Valtteri Bottas could also find himself with more than his current eighth place if the stewards disapprove of Alonso’s numerous managerial changes while trying to hold him back on the final lap straight.
The result leaves Alfa Romeo 14 points behind Alpine and sixth in the constructors’ championship, which doesn’t really represent its pace this year. But the lack of points is due to Zhou’s unreliability and underperformance in previous races, and in Montreal none of those were a problem – that’s how Alfa Romeo needs that it’s from here. – MB
Lance Stroll still hasn’t finished a run above 10th place in the 2022 season, which is quite disappointing.
But starting from 17th on the grid, after a fourth consecutive Q1 outing, after a quietly strong drive that culminated in a late overtaking of Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren, and all at home too after two seasons without a GP from Canada, it all adds up to a more satisfying 10th place than the average single-point run. And Stroll even sounded a slightly satisfied above-average level right after. – MB
Sergio Perez’s stellar results streak came to a halt when he had to retire his RB18 from the circuit.
He hadn’t done an electric recovery in the early stages of the race, but he was safe to say he could have been in and around the fifth place Leclerc recovered to.
Perez is still second in the Drivers’ Championship, but it seems his pace, beating Verstappen, was glorious but brief.
He hopes his recent terrible run at Silverstone (including his COVID-induced double absence in 2020) will end in two weeks so he can get his away title hopes back on track. – Josh Suttle
Big plans to attack Verstappen in Turn 1 came to nothing for Alonso as the reality of keeping those behind at bay quickly set in.
To be fair, he did well to hold off Sainz in the early laps, but it’s a missed opportunity that Alpine didn’t choose to put Alonso under one of the virtual safety cars in favor of stopping him more. late to guarantee a race to the finish with a pit stop (until the end of the safety car, that is).
This not only meant he lost touch with the top five he had hoped to be in, but he also lost ground to team-mate Ocon – where he would stay until the finish.
A clipping problem limited Alonso in the closing stages, putting him on the defensive, but his efforts in doing so later earned him both a call-up for allegedly changing direction too many times and a subsequent penalty when stewards decided that his defense had been on the High.
Sunday certainly did not reach the heights of Saturday. – JC
A miserable run for McLaren comes at the worst possible time as closest championship rivals Alpine have earned their best result of the season so far.
The team’s race fell apart when its attempt to double stack under the virtual safety car went horribly wrong.
Ricciardo had a sluggish pit stop that delayed team mate Norris, only for the British driver to suffer an even worse pit stop when his McLaren team briefly fitted the wrong tyres.
Ricciardo was passed by Zhou and Stroll after the late safety car and eventually found himself in 11th place while Norris battled for 15th with an aging engine. –JS
After a decisive fifth place for Pierre Gasly in Baku, AlphaTauri returned to underdelivery in 2022.
Yuki Tsunoda was fighting for the final points positions when he crashed out of the pits after hitting a bump.
While that probably wouldn’t have felt out of place in his rookie season, it’s not the kind of mistake you would now expect from a more rounded Tsunoda in his sophomore year.
Gasly’s race never really started. He joined Sebastian Vettel in making an extremely early pit stop but couldn’t come close to scoring.
He was told to lift and coast throughout the race – a sign of trouble – and eventually came home in a distant 14th place. –JS
MICK SCHUMACHER/KEVIN MAGNUSSEN
You must really feel Mick Schumacher.
Under immense pressure and delivered with an ultimatum by his Haas team, he was riding a solid race and looking on course to finally end his F1 points drought.
He kept Zhou behind him – but not at the pace of the Alpines or the Alfa Romeos – but he would have at least had a chance of beating Stroll into 10th place.
Instead, his run ended in a technical failure through no fault of his own.
His teammate Kevin Magnussen got off to a brilliant start but suffered damage battling with future podium finisher Lewis Hamilton and received the dreaded black and orange flag.
Magnussen tried to roll the hard tires for 63 laps and it eventually resulted in a last place finish, more than eight seconds behind Nicholas Latifi’s Williams. –JS