2023 Canada Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: It's closer. But was Red Bull just keeping things in check with performance to spare? Or, has Aston Martin and Mercedes really made progress? Red Bull Ring and Silverstone will help answer those questions.
EVENT: Nearly packed grandstands on a Friday. Packed grandstands on a Saturday ... in the rain. A record weekend attendance of 345,000. But you keep going to useless Middle Eastern countries, F1.
TRACK: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve always seems to bring out the whacky. Not this year, though. But it was still fun.
QUALIFYING: As expected, rain caused havoc. Tops was Hulkenberg putting a Haas on the front row ... even if it was taken away with a penalty. Albon making it to Q3 with the fastest time in Q2 in a Williams. Leclerc and Perez failing to get out of Q2. Sainz pulling a Gasly by blocking Gasly and rightfully suffered a penalty. Meanwhile, Verstappen calmly cruises to his 25th pole ... by a lot.
RACE: Another race where we hoped beyond hope something different would happen up front while enjoying the battles behind.
START: Hamilton gets a start like the old times to jump Alonso, Sainz struggles, Gasly and Stroll begin their comeback attempts, as usual Verstappen gets a clean getaway, and once again the field gets through as clean as clean can be.
VERSTAPPEN: Now tied with Ayrton Senna with 41 wins. Next target -- Alain Prost with 51.
PEREZ: At this rate, Sergio won't even finish second in the championship.
RED BULL: They are about to start concentrating on designing the 2024 car. That's how dominate ... and confident ... they feel they are for 2023.
ALONSO: Eagerly awaiting some more updates to (hopefully) really take it to Red Bull.
ASTON MARTIN: Now Ferrari has them in their sites, simply because of the driver lineup.
HAMILTON: Considering the track, third make Lewis happy.
RUSSELL: Was lucky he didn't DNF on the wall hit. At least not right away...
MERCEDES: To do this well on a track which doesn't suit them shows progress is being made.
LECLERC: How much longer is Charles going to put up with his team not listening to him?
SAINZ: Played the team orders game.
FERRARI: The safety car helped their strategy, allowing them to overcome poor qualifying and get the best result possible.
ALBON: This is a Williams track. They poured everything into this race (rushed upgrades, new engine). And Alex absolutely delivered for them, making the hard tires last 58 laps while defending his position. Definitely deserved drive of the day.
BOTTAS: Got some of his mojo back.
GASLY: Seeing red.
NORRIS: Pulled off some of the best passing moves on the day and some of the best almost passing moves. But in the end, all for naught.
HAAS: Suffering the Ferrari syndrome -- good qualifying pace, no race pace.
MAGNUSSEN: Compounded by Kevin being driven off the road by De Vries.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Groundhog.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 100 -- Red Bull enters the century win club joining Ferrari (242), McLaren (183), Mercedes (125), and Williams (114).
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Adrian Newey designed cars have now won 200 Formula 1 races. He started out designing sports cars, penning the March GTP IMSA championship winning car. Then on to Indy cars as the designer for March, winning the 1985 and 1986 CART championship and Indy 500. Finally to F1 with Haas Lola, March/Leyton House, Williams, McLaren, and finally Red Bull. His cars have won 11 constructors' titles and 12 drivers' championships.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: Matt Bishop reminded us: The afternoon of 19 June 2005, #OnThisDay 18 years ago, wasn't #F1's finest hour. Michelin took unsuitable tyres to Indy, the FIA wouldn't add a chicane on the banking to let the Michelin teams race safely, so the race was run by 3 Bridgestone teams. Schumi won, but no-one cared.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Lando Norris on his unsportsmanlike penalty, "I'm not unsportsmanlike, so it's impossible."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Lewis Hamilton on his great start to jump Fernando Alonso, "His reaction's a little bit slow because he's a bit older now. It's an age thing."
SCHEDULE: This will be the first Austrian GP since the passing of Dietrich Mateschitz, the founder of Red Bull, the F1 teams, and the revitalization of the A1-Ring bringing back F1 to the renamed Red Bull Ring.
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