Wow, formula one was a dusey this year. Grand Prix Montreal is usually known for its unpredictable weather and this year did not disappoint. Friday’s testing of the cars was mixed precipitation and somewhat slippery. Saturdays qualifying was off and on rain and left the track quite wet. Well trained eyes could see the rooster tails coming off of the massive tires. Sunday brought mixed sun/clouds and it was beautiful. Sunday was not too hot, no humidity and the sun would come in and out of the clouds- perfect for racing. It forced drivers to bring there A game and pay attention for the entire weekend.
Vettel cleaned up shop and got 25 points in the process. The fun was not in watching who took pole position, Vettel had it on lock from the pole position where he started. The fun was in watching the likes of Alonso start from a 6th place pole position and claw his way up to second place, beating Lewis Hamilton in the process. Hamilton had a good race but the 3-time Canadian GP winner could not keep up as he had chosen tires poorly. Hamilton was somewhat favored to win, as he has done so well at this track in the past.
Kimi Raikkonen had a disappointing race. He was penalized 2 spots on the starting grid for exiting pit lane too quickly. He had to start from the 10th position and try to makeup the difference much like Alonso…. Unlike Alonso, Kimi could not get his cards shuffled properly and had to settle for a disappointing 9th place finish. The race seemed to be more about strategy and predicting weather patterns than it did about outright speed. If you made one bad decision in the pits or one ill-timed pit stop than that was it for you and your car.
There were no fiery crashes, no launches into lower orbit. The wall of champions chose not to kiss any drivers this year, if it did they were more of a peck than a kiss. This is not to say it made for a boring race. Massa, Gutierrez, Hulkenberg and Guarde all had accidents, resulting in the latter two being knocked out of the race.
Montreal was amazing as always. Saturday night everyone was out in their own race cars. It was the pride of Ferrari at the impromptu car show but an orange Bugatti aced the show (it really stole our hearts). Everyone was out enjoying themselves in their favorite team colours and having a great time.
We had a dozen members in our posse. Auto|One Group made sure we had amazing seats for both qualifying and race day. Saturday’s wet qualifying saw us sitting in the 31st section, overlooking turns 8 and 9. This is the section that brakes up the two back straightaways. Drivers come to visit us with the bugs hitting their helmets at upwards of 300 kmph they down shift/brake/pray to about 120 kmph to hook a right hander and then keep their speed and blast back up to 160 kmph as they are waving good bye to the grandstands. Think this is easy? If you are a physics major than you know that it is not. These guys put down 2.5 plus G’s. IN THE RAIN! Our seats on Saturday made for some entertaining rear wheel slippage as the cars exited the final corner. It was amazing to watch the strategy of these drivers as they navigated these turns in the wet.
Sunday had us sitting in the 22nd section. These seats were great because we could see and hear the racers braking/downshifting/praying as they go from 7th gear and 300 kmph down to 1st gear and 50 kmph to navigate the big 180 degree bend. Once they are on the other side of that bend they are at the beginning of the main straight away where they hit 320 kmph. It is at this time that the cars fly by us accelerating faster and louder than your mind can comprehend (they bump 3rd, 4th and 5th gears in front of us) and then it’s off down the straightaway. It is one thing to hear these vehicles accelerate but another thing all together to appreciate them down shifting. Anyone who tells me that a clutch pedal is better than a paddle shift has never been up close to a 18,000 rpm formula 1 car that is downshifting.
We had a great time at the race and cannot wait for the next opportunity to see/smell/hear race cars!