Formula One

A trip down memory lane in Canada – A review of the 1991, 1999, 2007 and 2014 Grands Prix

With the Canadian GP set to be held for the 58th time this weekend, let’s take a look at four of the most significant races at the country! All four were held at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which has hosted the race 41 times in the past.

1991 Canadian Grand Prix

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Photo by Grand Prix Photo / Icon Sport

Riccardo Patrese suffered a hefty accident during practice, but he bounced back and took pole position in Canada, with his teammate accompanying him on the front row of the grid. When the lights went out, Nigel Mansell had a better start and slotted into the lead. Ayrton Senna qualified third and stayed there until lap 25, when his engine failed.

The Williams cars created a huge gap to the others behind, specifically a three-way battle involving Alain Prost, Jean Alesi and Nelson Piquet. Piquet was the last man standing in that battle, as the Ferraris got into mechanical trouble, and he was soon up to second, as Patrese had to deal with gearbox issues.

It looked like the race was over, with Mansell only having to cross the line in order to secure victory. On the last lap, he was waving to the fans coming out of the hairpin, at which moment the car slowed down to a halt. Williams mentioned that an electrical failure was to blame, however reports stated that Mansell was at fault, because he let the engine revs drop, as he was distracted waving to the crowd.

Eventually, Piquet was handed the win, which proved to be his last in F1. Tyrrell’s Stefano Modena surprisingly was on the rostrum and Patrese completed the top three after a difficult race with his gearbox malfunctioning, with Mansell classified in sixth.

1999 Canadian Grand Prix

For first time in the season, Mika Hakkinen was beaten in qualifying, but it happened by just 29 thousandths of a second. Michael Schumacher was the man that broke the streak with a great qualifying effort. The two front-row starters would have their teammates right behind them on the grid, as Eddie Irvine qualified third and David Coulthard was fourth.

The race was one of the most memorable in F1, but it didn’t look like that for a few laps. Schumacher maintained his lead from Hakkinen and the safety car came out because of an accident between Jean Alesi and Jarno Trulli. It went back into the pits, but returned to the track shortly as Ricardo Zonta hit the wall at the final chicane, a feat repeated by Damon Hill soon afterwards. Schumacher had established a healthy lead, but that was gone on lap 30, when he made a rare mistake, as he crashed his Ferrari at the final chicane. Hakkinen then led from Irvine and Coulthard, but the pair clashed and spun off. Although they rejoined the race, both lost ground.

Hakkinen won, as the race ended under safety car conditions. The reason for that was a late crash for Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who suffered a brake failure whilst running second. That position went to Giancarlo Fisichella, who returned to the podium. Irvine recovered to finish third after his clash with Coulthard, who fell outside the points.

2007 Canadian Grand Prix

For the first time in his career, Lewis Hamilton qualified on pole position, as he outqualified Fernando Alonso by over four tenths of a second. There was a surprise in the third position, which was occupied by Nick Heidfeld, ahead of Kimi Räikkönen and Felipe Massa.

Hamilton and Alonso were side-by-side on the approach to the first corner, but the Spaniard was too aggressive and went wide, cutting across Turn 2 to return to the track and damaging his undertray across the grass. Heidfeld sneaked through to get up to second, while Alonso defended from Massa. The Spaniard made the same mistake two more times and dropped to fourth. The safety car was then out after an accident for Spyker’s Adrian Sutil. Hamilton had pitted just before, but Alonso hadn’t and did so under the closed pitlane to avoid running out of fuel, earning him a ten-second stop-go penalty.

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Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

Massa pitted when the pitlane opened, but he exited it with the red light on and was disqualified. At the restart, Robert Kubica had a monstrous accident, but he miraculously suffered nothing more than a sprained ankle and a concussion. Hamilton led from Heidfeld, with Anthony Davidson and Super Aguri in third, aided by the timing of the safety car. However, a run-in with a beaver put him out of the podium places.

While chaos and confusion over strategies ensued behind him, Lewis Hamilton took his maiden F1 victory. Heidfeld also stayed out of all the chaos and finished second, for his first podium in a great season for him. With help from the safety car and a very good strategy, Alexander Wurz climbed onto the podium, in third position. Heikki Kovalainen took his best result at the time in fourth. Räikkönen was fifth and Takuma Sato impressed for Super Aguri, in a performance capped off by a late overtake on Alonso.

2014 Canadian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg was on pole position again, after beating Lewis Hamilton by eight hundredths of a second. Sebastian Vettel was third, only two thousandths ahead of Valtteri Bottas. Felipe Massa and Daniel Ricciardo were not far away, with only forty thousandths between third and sixth.

Hamilton had a better start, but Rosberg had the better line and forced the Brit wide, allowing Vettel to sneak through to second. Hamilton passed Vettel and caught the leader, who later locked up and cut the final chicane. Although both Mercedes cars had a lack of power at the start of the second half of the race, the battle continued and Hamilton got ahead on lap 46, after his second and final stop. Shortly afterwards, he ran wide at the hairpin and lost the lead. A few corners later, his brakes failed and he retired.

Rosberg’s problems got worse and his lead decreased. Sergio Pérez was second thanks to a one-stop strategy, ahead of Ricciardo, Vettel and Felipe Massa. The four-car train was catching the leader and, with just five laps remaining, Ricciardo passed the Force India, which had worsening brake problems. The Aussie had no problems and was on Rosberg’s tail in no time. On the penultimate lap, he breezed past the Mercedes. It was a crucial move, as Massa and Pérez crashed a few seconds later and the race ended under safety car conditions.

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Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

On his seventh race for Red Bull, Ricciardo became a Grand Prix winner. Rosberg was second despite his troublesome race and Vettel completed the podium, after losing out to Ricciardo in the second round of stops.

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