2005 Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix

Another great race! Perhaps not the best race in terms of racing, but it was certainly incident-packed. You wouldn’t expect anything else from the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit though.

Like qualifying, the race result was a wee bit skewed, with both Ferraris on the podium, Massa grabbing fourth place and Webber aswell as both Red Bulls scoring points when they had looked out of contention all weekend.

Half of all the retirements happened to drivers who were running in the top three at the time — and that’s not including Montoya’s disqualification! Montreal lived up to its reputation for catching out the big names with Alonso hitting the wall at the chicane near the end of S1 and Button hitting Champions’ Wall (the only problem being that Button isn’t a World Champion), just when it was beginning to look good for BAR again.

But big names — Räikkönen, Michael Schumacher and Barrichello — still ended up on the podium, which just goes to show you how competitive Formula 1 is these days — so many good drivers retire, and you’re still left with familiar faces.

The big talking point is probably Montoya’s disqualification though. Ron Dennis said he thought the punishment was harsh, but jumping a red light in the pits at any time, never mind during a Safety Car period, is pretty bloody stupid. ITV’s commentators let themselves down yet again that time. You can usually rely on Martin Brundle aswell, but they were too busy squabbling over whether Montoya was allowed to overtake Coulthard, ignoring the fact that he wasn’t supposed to be overtaking anybody. Honestly, if you could just overtake anybody during the pits through a Safety Car zone, everybody would go through the pits every lap.

The point of this race for me, though, is that it’s a massive step for McLaren. Both Renaults retired. Although Alonso’s retirement was down to driver error, that Renault is now less reliable than the McLaren. If it wasn’t for Montoya’s disqualification McLaren could well have scored eighteen points to Renault’s zero. They’ll have to make do with the ten, but Räikkönen has all of the momentum now. I said a fortnight ago that it would be four races until Alonso could be caught up. It’s 10-0 toR äikkönen today; one of those races has already been swept aside.

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