Canadian Grand Prix | Triumphs of legends

No less than 24 different drivers have won the Canadian Grand Prix since Île Notre-Dame hosted it. Some victories have encouraged more than others. A small step back in time …

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Katherine Harvey Pinard

Katherine Harvey Pinard
The press

The triumph of Gilles Villeneuve – 1978

On October 8, 1978, some 72,000 spectators attended the first Grand Prix in the history of Montreal, which had previously been held in Ontario. On the starting grid, driving a Ferrari, a quebeque is lined up. A certain Gilles Villeneuve for whom this is the first full season in F1.

At the time, Villeneuve was not yet a star, much less. Many, starting with the Italian press, question his real potential, doubt his talent. Arriving in the metropolis, the 28-year-old athlete was still looking for her first Grand Prix victory.

At 25e turn, is in second place. In front of him, the Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jarier has a 28-second lead. Villeneuve, combative, pursues his rival. At 49e lap, Jarier’s engine failed and forced him to withdraw. Quebec took advantage of it, finished the race without problems and got their first victory in Formula 1.

That day, Gilles Villeneuve becomes a hero, an idol. On the circuit that now bears his name, he showed the world that he deserved his place in Formula 1.


Photo by André Pichette, press archives

Ralf and Michael Schumacher took the podium at the 2004 Montreal Grand Prix

Schumacher’s double – 2001

At the 1998 Italian Grand Prix, Michael and Ralf Schumacher became the first brothers to share the podium. The first came out victorious while the second took third place.

Three years later, in Montreal, they did even better …

Michael Schumacher, driving his Ferrari, occupies the leading position on the starting grid. His brother is right behind his Williams. It was Michael who led much of the race, followed relentlessly by his younger brother, who tried to overtake him a few times.

At 46e round, the largest makes its only pit stop. So Ralf takes the lead and picks up the pace for five laps before pitting in turn. He comes out with a six-second lead over his brother. He goes on to dig up to 20 seconds to get his second win of the season.

The brothers are back on the podium together, but this time on the first two steps.

That’s not all: Michael and Ralf found a way to repeat the feat two years later, still in Montreal. Except this time, it was Michael who won.


Photo François Roy, archives The press

Lewis Hamilton in 2007, rue Sainte-Catherine in Montreal, signing autographs

The first of 103 for Hamilton – 2007

Every great race begins with a first victory. Lewis Hamilton’s was signed in Montreal.

In 2007, the Briton drove in the colors of McLaren for his first season in Formula 1. His debut was prodigious. When he arrived in the metropolis in June, he already had five podiums in so many races.

This June 10, Hamilton takes first place for the first time in his career. His teammate Fernando Alonso is in second place. Hamilton offers a great advantage in the first laps.

In total, the safety car had to intervene four times in the race and eight drivers did not cross the finish line. Robert Kubica, in particular, is the victim of a terrible accident, so miraculously he only comes out with a concussion and a sprained ankle. Hamilton stays well in front of the peloton and drives perfectly to win and become, at the same time, the first black driver to win a race in F1.

This was the beginning of a prodigious career that continues to this day for Hamilton. Fifteen years later, at the age of 37, he won 7 championships and 183 podiums, including 103 victories, in 295 Grand Prix. A legend, you say? No doubt.


Photo by Bernard Brault, La PressE archives

Jenson Button after his 2011 victory in Montreal

Jenson Button, sensational – 2011

In 2011, McLaren driver Jenson Button was spectacular to succeed after a chaotic race that lasted more than four hours.

Button starts in seventh place under the Montreal rainy sky. From the first laps, he was involved in a collision that caused the withdrawal of his teammate Lewis Hamilton and forced him out of the safety car. The race resumes at 12e returns, but Button receives a penalty and has to go to pits, which places it later in 15e rank.

Slowly but surely, the British are climbing the slope. At 25e In turn, torrential rains forced the race to stop. Pilots must wait more than two hours (!) Before resuming action.

In total, the safety car is needed four times in this race. The button should be pitted no less than six times.

At 70e and the last round, Button is 2e. He took advantage of a small mistake by the German Sebastian Vettel, who had been leading since the start of the race, to take the lead and run towards the checkered flag.

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