Blue skies, hot sun, packed grandstands, a wedding proposal and a controversial penalty that handed Lewis Hamilton a record seventh victory at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Here’s our highlights from the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix in Montréal.
Our fan activities kicked off on Thursday afternoon with a Guided Track Tour of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and photo op with the Championship trophies on the main straight. Our guests also had the chance to get up close to the cars in the pit lane as several teams practiced their pit stops.
Ferrari topped the time sheets on Friday as reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton was forced to sit out most of Free Practice 2 after crashing at Turn 9. Following an exciting first day of track action, Hero and Trophy guests were escorted to the Formula 1 Paddock Club in the impressive new pits building at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for a reception with Romain Grosjean of the Haas F1 Team. The French-Swiss driver spoke to James O’Brien about how he got his break in Formula 1, his portrayal in the hit Netflix series Drive to Survive and his dream car (Lancia Integrale) before posing for a selfie with our guests. (Romain Grosjean will also be appearing at the 2019 French Grand Prix.)
Following the Paddock Club Reception, we headed down to the pit lane for F1 Insider Access. In Montréal, this behind the scenes look at the world of Formula 1 included a meeting with Safety Car driver Bernd May and a close up look at his Mercedes-AMG GT R. Our guests also learnt more about the tyres that Pirelli supplies to Formula 1, visited the McLaren garage and met Sean Kelly, aka the Virtual Statman. A visit to the podium was also extra memorable for two of our guests; she popped the question and he said yes!
On Saturday, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel got the better of rival Lewis Hamilton to take a hard-fought pole position by two tenths of a second. It was an especially exciting session for our guests in the Champions Club Rouge next to the Wall of Champions; Haas driver Kevin Magnussen hit the infamous wall at the end of Q2 before ricocheting across the track and making a second impact on the pit wall as our guests looked on in shock. The Danish driver escaped unscathed, but his accident did bring out the red flag and prevent Max Verstappen from making it through to the Top 10 shoot out.
After qualifying, we were joined in the Champions Club by Canada’s only F1 World Champion, Jacques Villeneuve. The French-Canadian driver talked about growing up in Formula 1, the challenge of driving at the circuit named after his famous father and the prospects for Canada’s latest driver, Lance Stroll. We closed out Saturday with a Guided Track Tour for our Champions Club guests, including expert commentary from our expert hosts, all ex drivers themselves.
On race day, one of the stars of the Netflix documentary Drive to Survive made a special guest appearance in the Champions Club. Guenther Steiner, the team principal of the Haas F1 Team joined us for a special Q&A as our guests enjoyed lunch before the start of the main event.
Sebastian Vettel led Lewis Hamilton off the line and looked to be on track for the first Ferrari victory of the season when he was pressured into a mistake by Lewis Hamilton on Lap 48. After running wide at Turn 3, Vettel rejoined the track in front of Hamilton, who had to brake to avoid a collision. Although he managed to stay ahead, Vettel was awarded a 5-second time penalty that handed the win to Lewis Hamilton after the chequered flag in controversial circumstances. It was the seventh victory for Hamilton in Canada, equalling the record set by Michael Schumacher.
Renault scored their best result of the season, with 6th and 7th for Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenburg respectively. Home race hero Lance Stroll brought his Racing Point home for ninth place and two World Championship points while Daniil Kvyat continued his impressive run of form by scoring the final point for Toro Rosso.
Official Ticket Packages for the 2020 Canadian Grand Prix are now on sale and early bird pricing is available until July 10. Get closer to Formula 1 in Montréal with select grandstands or access to the Champions Club, plus unique benefits only available with F1 Experiences!