Lewis Hamilton took the win in Montreal after a controversial decision by the stewards. We will talk about that later, but for now, let’s talk about the race pace shown by the Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull drivers. Who had the strongest race pace in Montreal? Let’s take a look at the numbers.
This was a race where the top 3 drivers were pretty much separated by nothing. Canada is a good track for driving and overtaking, but race strategy is fairly simple there. One stop, go to the end of the race. This makes it easier to compare the performance between drivers.
Sebastian Vettel crossed the line in first place, but lost his position after the 5 second penalty. He was, however, the fastest driver on the track, with a mean lap time of 1:16.012. His fastest lap time done during the race was a 1:14.875, which ranked only as the 14th fastest lap when compared to all the laps done by the drivers shown in this graph. It is important to consider that as the race leader he could control the pace to a certain degree, and it would not have made a lot of sense for him to push very hard for very fast laps.
Lewis Hamilton had a race pace that was only 4 thousands of a second slower than Vettel’s. His 1:16.016, considering that he had a Ferrari in front and could not always find clean air, shows how strong the Mercedes car was in race pace. Would it have been enough to overtake Vettel at the end if not for the penalty to the German? It is hard to say. His fastest lap during the race was a 1:14.812, which was 63 thousands of a second faster than Vettel’s.
Charles Leclerc is a driver who flew under the radar in Canada. He managed to finish 3rd, and with a few more laps, perhaps he could have taken 2nd place. His race pace was very impressive too, with an average lap time of 1:16.045. The young Monegasque showed how fast he was during the race, and perhaps with a better qualifying session, he could have challenged for the win. His fastest lap of the race, a 1:14.355, was the second fastest of the drivers analyzed here, and only trailed Bottas’ time done with new tires in lap 69.
Valtteri Bottas never managed to find the rhythm in Montreal, and had a whole weekend to forget. His race pace of 1:16.453 was over 4 tenths slower than his teammate’s, and while he managed to get the fastest lap of the race, a 1:13.078, he never was in contention to get any of the top 3 positions.
Max Verstappen started in 9th position and had to make his way up the grid order. His long stint of 48 laps with the hard tires was consistent, but fighting through the field makes race pace suffer. His mean time of 1:16.787 must be disappointing for a team like Red Bull, one that is famous for building cars with strong race pace. Interestingly, Verstappen’s fastest lap, a 1:14.766, was faster than any lap done by either Vettel or Hamilton.
Pierre Gasly had a golden opportunity to showcase his talents in Canada. Starting in 5th, way ahead of his teammate, Gasly was in an optimum position to get some strong points for Red Bull. Unfortunately for him, that did not happen. Pierre finished in 8th position, and his race pace of 1:17.296 was half a second slower than Verstappen’s. In his defense, Pierre had to stop early in lap 7 for new tires, and then had to manage the hard compound for an incredible 62 laps. Still, the pace does not appear to be there yet. His fastest lap of the race, a 1:16.157, was 1.282 seconds slower than Verstappen’s fastest lap.
The decision to award Vettel a 5 second penalty is something that people will talk about for the next few days. Regardless of it, Vettel showed how strong was the Ferrari in Canada, having a slightly faster race pace than Hamilton.
Charles was not the talking point in Canada, but his race pace shows that he was on form during the weekend.
Valtteri Bottas had one of his worst, if not his worst, weekend of the season. He was not close to Hamilton’s pace, and will try to bounce back in France.
Red Bull keeps having the problem of driver disparity. Max keeps showing how much he has improved as a driver, while Pierre keeps struggling to find the pace. I have said it before, I believe in continuity an patience, but unless Gasly starts to get the job done, it is not hard to see him out of Red Bull sooner than later.
On a different note, I changed the font of the graphs in order to be more “F1” like. Do you guys like it? Please let me know what do you think about it, and about the article, in the comments below.