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Canadian Grand Prix | Triumphs of legends

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No less than 24 different drivers have won the Canadian Grand Prix since Île Notre-Dame was the host. Some victories have marked the hearts more than others. A little step back in time …

Posted at 7:00

Katherine Harvey Pinard

Katherine Harvey Pinard
The print

The triumph of Gilles Villeneuve – 1978

On October 8, 1978, around 72,000 spectators attended the first Grand Prix in Montreal’s history, which had previously taken place in Ontario. On the starting grid, driving a Ferrari, lines up a Quebecer. A certain Gilles Villeneuve for whom this is the first full season in F1.

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

At 25And time, he finds himself in second place. Ahead of him, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jarier has a lead of 28 seconds. Villeneuve, combative, chases his rival. A 49And lap, Jarier’s engine failed, forcing him to retire. The Quebecer took advantage of this, finished the race smoothly and took their first victory in Formula 1.

That day, Gilles Villeneuve becomes a hero, an idol. On the circuit that today bears his name, he proved to the world that he deserves his place in Formula 1.


Photo André Pichette, press archive

Ralf and Michael Schumacher on the podium at the Montreal Grand Prix in 2004

Schumacher’s double – 2001

At the 1998 Italian Grand Prix, Michael and Ralf Schumacher became the first brothers to share a 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, maintains the first position on the starting grid. His brother is right behind him in his Williams. It was Michael who led for most of the race, constantly followed by his younger brother, who tried several times to overtake him.

At 46And round, the major makes his only pit stop. Ralf then takes the lead and picks up the pace for five laps before entering the pits in turn. He comes out with a six second lead over his brother. Advance that digs up to 20 seconds to clinch his second win of the season.

The brothers climb the podium together again, 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, again in Montreal. Only this time it was Michael who triumphed.


Photo François Roy, archive The press

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

The first of 103 for Hamilton – 2007

Every great career starts with a first win. Lewis Hamilton’s was signed in Montreal.

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

This day of June 10, Hamilton holds the top spot for the first time in his career. His teammate Fernando Alonso is second. Hamilton offers a big advantage in the early 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, for which he miraculously comes out with only a concussion and a sprained ankle. Hamilton remains well installed in front of the pack and drives flawlessly to win and become, at the same time, the first black driver to win a race in F1.

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


Photo Bernard Brault, La PressE archives

Jenson Button after his 2011 win in Montreal

Jenson Button, sensational – 2011

In 2011, McLaren driver Jenson Button was spectacularly triumphant after a chaotic race that lasted over four hours.

Button starts in seventh place under the rainy Montreal sky. From the first laps he was involved in a collision that caused the retirement of teammate Lewis Hamilton and forced out of the safety car. The race resumes at 12And lap, but Button receives a penalty and has to pit, which then brings him to 15And rank.

Slowly, but surely, the Briton is climbing the slope. At 25And in turn, torrential downpours forced the race to be interrupted. Pilots have to wait more than two hours (!) For the action to resume.

In total, the safety car is needed four times in this race. Button must pit no less than six times.

In the 70sAnd and the last round, Button is 2And. 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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