Montreal prepares to host the Canadian Grand Prix next weekend.
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In 44 years of existence, this event has been the scene of spectacular … and unusual moments.
Here are four strange moments that marked the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.
1. Gilles Villeneuve celebrates his first F1 victory with a “small key”
The images of Gilles Villeneuve celebrating his victory at the first Montreal Grand Prix with a Labatt 50 magnum marked motor racing fans. The legendary Quebec driver had rejected the traditional bottle of champagne to celebrate his first Formula 1 victory with a very large beer.
In 1978, the Labat brewery agreed to sponsor the first Grand Prix de Montréal.
To reinforce the young driver’s popularity, the company had the message “Villeneuve Fever” printed on the placemats of the restaurants where its products were sold.
Refusing the champagne, Gilles Villeneuve wanted to thank the first sponsor who believed in him.
2. Nigel Mansell’s gaffe
Briton Nigel Mansell impressed spectators at the 1991 Canadian Grand Prix. The driver dominated his rivals for the first 68 laps of the race. However, a rookie mistake cost him the victory.
Two kilometers from the finish, Mansell’s Williams FW14-Renault stopped abruptly. In a panic, the driver began punching the chassis. Brazilian Nelson Piquet took advantage of his rival’s bad luck to steal first place.
Distracted, the Brit apparently forgot to downshift his racing car, resulting in the extinction of his V10 engine.
3. The strange victory of Jean Alesi
In 1995, Frenchman Jean Alesi won his only career title. He got full marks in a Ferrari noOh 27, the number that Gilles Villeneuve had at the height of his glory.
The race had been difficult. The wet pavement made it difficult to control his car. Alesi even nearly collided with David Coulthard’s Williams, which spun.
His car broke down shortly after he crossed the finish line. Jean Alesi enjoyed the cheers of the audience before being brought back to the pits by Michael Schumacher, who had finished fifth.
This moment, immortalized by several photos, marked the history of the Canadian Grand Prix.
4. The Schumacher brothers make F1 history
The date of 10 June 2001 was significant for the Schumacher family, as well as for the history of Formula 1.
It is in fact the date on which the brothers Ralf and Michael Schumacher won the Canadian Grand Prix. They became the first brothers to win an F1 title.
Ralf Schumacher, less well known than his brother, took first place. His eldest followed him in second place.
At the finish, Michael hugged him.
The German had entrusted the New York Times that he was “honored to lose to his brother”.