Start, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2018

2018 Canadian Grand Prix Star Performers

2018 Canadian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas are RaceFans’ Star Performers of the Canadian Grand Prix weekend. Here’s why.


Max Verstappen

This was the kind of weekend Max Verstappen badly needed. He drove brilliantly in Canada last year until he was sidelined by a power unit failure. Twelve months on he picked up where he left off in Montreal as if the troubled start to 2018 had never happened.

He was fastest in all three practice sessions, beat a Mercedes and a Ferrari in qualifying, and converted that into a podium finish which was probably better than the car deserved. It was a return to the Verstappen 2017 taught us to expect. Did showing up without his ‘entourage’ make the difference?

Valtteri Bottas

Not for the first time this year Bottas decisively out-drove his team mate, planting the Mercedes on the front row. Unlike in Shanghai or Baku, however, the car didn’t seem to have the pace to rival the Ferrari on merit. Under the circumstances, narrowly pipping Verstappen to second (over the ‘true’ 70-lap distance) was a solid achievement.

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Kimi Raikkonen

Yet again Kimi Raikkonen ruined his weekend by messing up in the final stage of qualifying. This was a severe disappointment following his promise form on Friday.

The upshot of this was the race ended with one Ferrari leading the ‘big six’ and the other trailing along behind. Despite fresher tyres, Raikkonen could only slip away from Lewis Hamilton, despite the Mercedes driver’s engine problem.

Marcus Ericsson

Once again Ericsson was firmly put in the shade by his junior team mate. Having targeted qualifying as the area where he needs to improve, Ericsson pushed too hard and hit the wall.

In the race he was left behind, finishing 45 seconds after the team’s other car.

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And the rest

It was a processional race which meant drivers struggled to distinguish themselves. Sebastian Vettel, however, deserves credit for winning a tight battle for pole position. Daniel Ricciardo was dogged by car trouble in practice but was able to jump Hamilton, who had technical problems of his own in the race.

Esteban Ocon was left defenceless in his fight with the Renault drivers, who jumped him via the pit stops, Nico Hulkenberg leading the way. Sergio Perez’s race was spoiled when he tripped over Carlos Sainz Jnr.

Charles Leclerc impressed again by rising from the midfield to take points. He was followed by two drivers who started on the back row: Pierre Gasly, who revelled in Honda’s new power unit, and Romain Grosjean, whose engine blew as qualifying began. Next was Kevin Magnussen, who was delayed by Perez’s off-track excursion.

A first-lap crash eliminated Lance Stroll, who triggered the incident yet escaped punishment, and the luckless Brendon Hartley. Their debris left Stoffel Vandoorne with a puncture, which along with Fernando Alonso’s second technical failure in as many races meant no points for McLaren. The same was also true of Williams, as Sergey Sirotkin came in last.

Over to you

Vote for the driver who impressed you most last weekend and find out whether other RaceFans share your view here:

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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51 comments on “2018 Canadian Grand Prix Star Performers”

  1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
    14th June 2018, 10:39

    Why aren’t Leclerc, Vettel or Hulkenburg in the star performers? Leclerc put his Sauber in Q2, ahead of both McLarens, jumped Magnussen and Hartley at the start, held off Alonso until the pit stop phrase, and kept in the points despite having issues. Vettel dominated the race, never looked in doubt apart from when he was backing off and Bottas was catching, plus he got pole. Hulkenburg did the best he could do with the Renault, taking best of the rest. Ok, maybe five people put down as stars, is a bit two much but they all deserve it, and atleast two of the above can be put there.

    1. I think Keith only picks a max of 3 star performers.
      I was thinking as well who to leave out; did not expect only 2 SP’s.

      Leclerc was the next one to stand for me.
      And yes @vettelfan17, Vettel did nothing wrong, and everything right, but he seemed to be driving the dominant car and (as with LH in the past) I am reluctant to call such a Sunday the best performing driver (especially when his teammate struggles).

      1. Ricciardo was as dominant in Monaco as Vettel was in Canada and nobody would argue against him being a star performer. Vettel was the fastest when it mattered (it’s not like being the fastest in FP sessions counts for anything), made a perfect start while Bottas had to fend off Verstappen, made a perfect restart after the safety car and, all in all, ran an error free race, unlike Bottas, who outbraked himself and had an off track excursion while lapping Sainz. The comparisong between teammates also favours Vettel: he won with Kimi 6th (with a car as “dominant” as Vettel’s), Bottas was 2nd with Hamilton 5th and Ricciardo finished the race behind Verstappen. I honestly think that Vettel deserved to be a star performer over either Bottas or Verstappen.

        1. Ricciardo was as dominant in Monaco as Vettel was in Canada and nobody would argue against him being a star performer

          @warheart Speaking of Monaco I guess I can see why one would be more inclined to nominate VET as a “star” after Monaco 2011 than Canada 2018.

          1. @davidnotcoulthard but it’s not like we have to choose between one or the other, right? Following that logic, one would be more inclined to nominate VER as a “star” after Brazil 2016 than Canada 2018.

        2. +1

    2. @vettelfan17
      I agree.
      Furthermore, how can Hamilton not be a struggler while Vettel is not a star performer?

      1. Well said @Egonovi; @d0senbrot I could live with Vettel being a star performer, but I think I agree on the whole with what @Egonovi wrote – he was in a dominant car, and his teammate was a struggler, so not clear that he outperformed; as to Hamilton, his race is taken care of by ‘had technical problems of his own’, given that he did okay, and still qualified ahead of RIC,RAI, so not really struggling, but shown off by a star performer teammate.

        It is to a certain extent subjective, but I think Verstappen really doing a good job ending the questions, and Bottas again keeping his wdc, and place in the team alive, adds an extra component to them being the star performers (at a moment when it was particularly important). But, of course, had Vettel not got a podium, he’d also be facing questions now, so you could argue similarly for him.

        Leclerc is just doing a great job, but I guess he continued from last week, so it’s something we’ll see nearer the end of the year in his ranking (and perhaps, dare we hope, a Ferrari seat, bye bye Kimi?).

    3. Yup, I would have put Leclerc up there as well, awesome stuff from him

      For Vettel to make it, I think he should have had the fastest lap, Keith has had this criteria in the past, when a driver seems to be comfortably ahead he considers them to be a star performer if they do a clean sweep of the weekend, so I understand why he isn’t considered to be one this time around.

      I would have consider Vandoorne to be a struggler as well

      1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
        14th June 2018, 11:19

        Vettel’s drive was similar to Hamilton’s drive (both had the best cars also) last year except for the fastest lap (Hamilton achieved it). However, Hamilton was a star performer. Does not having the fastest lap really make the difference between star and “the rest”. And also star performer doesn’t mean the best, it means one of the best

        1. ColdFly (@)
          14th June 2018, 11:42

          Vettel’s drive was similar to Hamilton’s drive (both had the best cars also) last year except for the fastest lap (Hamilton achieved it). However, Hamilton was a star performer. Does not having the fastest lap really make the difference between star and “the rest”.

          There is a lot more to that equation, for one the (relative) performance of 19 other drivers, @vettelfan17.

          1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
            14th June 2018, 19:11

            And compared to the performance of the other drivers he did quite well. He won. He took Pole. What is there that he didn’t do that meant he isn’t a star

        2. Vettel did everything he had to. Win the race and bring the car home safely. The only critisism you can give him is on his Friday which in the grand scale of things didn’t matter in the end.

          As for not having fastest lap, was there a reward against the risk of unnecessary straining the PU? No.
          Since people love to bring up the Senna gap quote, I’ll bring up one from another F1 great.

          “The secret, is to win going as slowly as possible.” Niki Lauda.

        3. @vettelfan17 I know you are questioning me, but really isn’t me that has to give you that answer, just stated something that I noticed previously

          1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
            14th June 2018, 19:09

            @johnmilk What do you mean?

          2. I just mentioned a pattern in Keith’s evaluation system @vettelfan17 that’s all

            Maybe I’m wrong but, it has to be Keith answering it

    4. Assuming 3 for each, it should’ve been:
      Stars: Vettel, Bottas, Hulkenberg (Leclerc and Verstappen just missing out)
      Strugglers: Hamilton, Raikkonen, Ericsson (Stroll just escaping)

      1. Yes, I don’t understand, hamilton got star performance in spain, why’s that @keithcollantine if you can answer? He didn’t even get the fastest lap, was it cause he had like double the margin on bottas than vettel had here?

        Personally I’d have put vettel for sure in the star performers, in fact he even got quite a high majority of the driver of the weekend, verstappen perhaps, if he had managed to overtake bottas then for sure, and bottas drove an ok race, I can agree with him being there.

        Strugglers make sense but I think hamilton should be there, despite the problems, and perhaps even vandoorne.

    5. +1

  2. I’d switch LeClerc for Verstappen.

    I’m skeptical Verstappen got places the Red Bull didn’t deserve. Qualifying he beat his teammate. Hamilton and Räikkönen were struggling.

    In the race his teammate was behind him, and the Ferrari and Merc he beat were underperforming. Plus the Red Bull has won 2 races already, it is a strong car.

    If the pass on Bottas had stuck I would have been impressed, otherwise he just beat his teammate and strugglers in the top 6.

    I suggest LeClerc or @vettelfan17 ‘s choices would be more deserving.

    1. +1

  3. Performers: Vettel, Bottas, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Leclerc, Gasly, and Grosjean.
    Strugglers: Hamilton, Raikkonen, Ericsson, Force India, Mclaren, and Williams (more precisely Stroll, though).

    1. It wasnt exactly stellar for Sirotkin either.

  4. Every once in a while, I find this column too silly for words. And that’s the case today.

  5. Have to say on the basis of qualifying and even accounting for his engine problem, Lewis was a struggler.

    1. Lewis Carl Davidson qualified 0.252 of a second behind poleman, Sebastian. That is literally the time taken to blink one’s eye. Hardly struggling – perhaps you believe that you could do much better; have you contacted Torger Christian and Andreas Nikolaus about becoming their number 1?

      1. What kind of answer is that, @gnosticbrian? Who said those who comment here are aspirant f1 drivers? He simply said, and I do too, that for a master qualifier like hamilton on one of his strongest tracks, being 2 tenths off bottas is bad.

        1. Esplatore – It is my kind of answer; I do not accept that my answers should conform to your dictat.

          On his day, Botas is as good a qualifier as any.

          1. Well, @gnosticbrian, telling people who say hamilton didn’t do a good job this weekend that they should try to do better themselves isn’t exactly constructive, is it? If I recall, to be a f1 driver with any chance to beat hamilton you need to have raced go karts since 4 years old or so and very successful at it and a serious amount of money.

            If to say something negative about hamilton we need to be better than him at his job, then this website shouldn’t have comment section, who’s better than hamilton between us?

            Yes, bottas isn’t bad at all, but if you just check spain, when hamilton is on form bottas isn’t at his level.

          2. Esploratore – You really need to learn the difference between asking a question of someone and telling someone what to do; they are NOT one and the same thing.

      2. @gnosticbrian someone commented hamilton, because of his qualifying performance (1,5 tenths behind bottas, and, might I add, outqualified every single lap on one of hamilton’s best tracks) and even accounting for the engine problem that affected the first stint of his race, should be considered a struggler, you said he qualified a quarter of a sec behind vettel, which is the time it takes to blink one’s eye, this has nothing to do with f1, there are even smaller margins than that that matter here.

        Then you said the one who commented perhaps believes he could do much better and if he thought about contacting mercedes for a number 1 driver role, so basically to you one can’t criticize a driver if he’s not better than him.

        And it’s not the first time I’ve seen this, sometimes can’t say anything negative about a driver that you get the “then do better than them” comments, ofc, if we were in a position to do better than them we wouldn’t be writing here.

        1. Esploratore – There you go again. I am NOT precluding criticism of Hamilton or anyone else. I placed RB14’s criticism into a human everyday context. If you don’t like that, no skin off my nose.

          As to time intervals, in my professional career frame dragging is a significant factor. F1 happens at very low energies and velocities. Single atomic nuclei entering our atmosphere have higher kinetic energy than an F1 car travelling at maximum velocity. The best that humans can measure is time intervals in the tens of attoseconds; and that is 26 orders of magnitude longer than Planck time.

  6. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    14th June 2018, 13:26

    And sorry, but Ericsson’s and Vandoorne’s races were ruined by the first corner incident. they both had to pit on lap one and they only did a one stop. While I agree Leclerc was far better than Ericsson (and ericsson was bad in qualifying) Stating the time 45 second time gap as part of the reason for him struggling on this occation is a bit unreasonable. It could well still have been quite big, and I think that probably will have bene the case. But there is no explanation as to why the gap was this big.

  7. I don t like this guy eric boullier, he says he wi continue focusing on fixing the issues with the car this year, is he delusional?? The car is friggin slow ,the aero package is totally bad…maybe u should get adrian newey to design ur car again

  8. With all due respect to the Boss, IMO the choice of Verstappen over Vettel as a star performer is ridiculous. Yes, her outqualified and outperformed his teammate but the converse has been true many times. The only reason that I can think of for MV being a Star performer is because for once in a long time he did not crash into anyone or anything.

    1. Well actually, Max pulled off a third place only two races ago. And now another in Canada. Both times after, yes, we saw for ourselves, he had scruffy weekends. And what that shows is that this rising star can put a bad weekend behind him and focus on the present task at hand. Let’s face it, many many eyes were on Max in Canada to see what he would do next, and he did great.

      1. Also, fear not, for this is an opinion piece, and is also a reason to have a conversation and put forth one’s own opinion as invited by Keith, and so at the same time we see the majority selected Seb as their dotw and thus agrees with you.

    2. The title is “2018 Canadian Grand Prix Star Performers

  9. Gasly didn’t use the new engine in the race but reverted to an old one on saturday. So his result in the race, coming from the back of the grid, is even more impressive.

    1. He qualified with the old spec and raced with a new spec engine.

  10. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    14th June 2018, 20:07

    In the part describing Kimi’s race, I’m not sure why it mentiones Hamilton’s engine problems. From what Mercedes said, it was a copletly unrelated cooling issue and nothing to do with the engine. And they also said it was fixed after he pitted. They admitted that pitting him early will have affected his race a bit though. But in therms of the sentence in Kimi’s section, Hamilton didn’t have an engine issue when he was pulling away. Hamilton seemed to be saying things on the radio, but this site gives the teams view:

    Given that Hamilton qualified 4th and behind a red bull, then didn’t have a great race, I don’t quite understand why he hasn’t been counted as a struggler. But I only think this because Vettel hasn’t been given enough credit IMO. Vettel had a significently better weekend than Hamilton. And if Bottas was a star performer, I don’t see why Vettel shouldn’t be. Vettel made no mistakes all weekend.

    I would say that Vettel, Bottas, Verstappen, Grosjean, Hulkenberg and Leclerc all had very solid weekends. But it seems that when Hamilton does well and qualifies P1 and wins in a top car very often does get mentioned as a star performer here.

    Out of the drivers here, I think Vettel is the one I would go for if I had to choose just one.

    I actually agree with both of the strugglers. But some of the points made in them to me are unfair or not quite correct. Kimi did indeed mess up qualifying. And did drop behind Hamilton and 6th in the best car is not impressive. But he didn’s fall behind a hamilton who had “engine” problems.
    Ericsson did hit the wall in qualifying. But it seems that the main reasoning for him having a bad weekend was his team mate having a much better one. The huge 45 second gap was mentioned as one of the poor things about his weekend. yes, that gap is correct. But he had to pit on lap 1. Assuming this because he got damage from the incident at the start. Doing nearly 70 laps on this track is not the ideal strategy at all. That will have certainly cost him some time. So making the time gap as one of the main points is unfair IMO. Qualifying though is a good enough reason. And I can’t say myself that he was good in any way.

    As some others have said, this article is an opinion, and might not always be totally true. And the whole point of the comments section is to write our views. I just happen to disagree with this page more today than I have in quite some time. More with the description than the driver choices though.

  11. Kimi didn’t have an upgraded PU in his Ferrari whereas Vettel had the update. Taking that into account he was probably out-pacing Vettel in qualifying. The race wasn’t so convincing but he probably couldn’t use all the potential the car had because of the difficulty of overtaking.

  12. Also something interesting is that the order was ferrari, mercedes, red bull, red bull, mercedes, ferrari, they’re mirrored, red bull was an average car, ferrari was great and bad, mercedes was good and quite bad, though it’s ofc more on the drivers!

  13. It’s hard to accept that journalists who supposedly know a lot about formula 1 make choices like this.
    Highlighting the race of Verstappen over that of Leclerc, Hulkemberg, Vettel or Ricciardo is to put it mildly, a nonsense.

    1. “Boohoo, Keith didn’t pick my favourite driver! On top of that he picked the one i hate”

      Come on guys.. Lots of good drives, Keith chooses to highlight two of them. You are free to highlight your own stars in the comments.

      1. ColdFly (@)
        15th June 2018, 7:34

        @jorge-lardone, aka ‘the guy with the camera’, has found a new guy to cry about, @azmo.
        After years of rants about Alonso, he now seems to pick Verstappen. Must be a miserable life having so many unresolved issues ;-)

        1. I find the life of someone who admires the formula 1 driver with the most unsportsmanlike behavior in history much more miserable.
          Either way, there is an old popular saying that says: tell me who you admire and I will tell you who you are.

  14. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    15th June 2018, 9:31

    Even when I watch the replay of the first lap now, I am wondering if Vandorne had a puncture unless it was a slow one. He did have damage, but he managed to keep Ericsson behind him all of that lap. So this is why I think Ericsson’s reasoning for his rating seems unfair. If he couldn’t get past Vandoorne who apparently had a puncture on the first lap, then I think he must have suffered from the incident in some way two. As he came into the pits after Vandoorne. Although Sauber managed to pit him much faster and get him out ahead. Both doing nearly the entire race on one set of tyres will be what ruined it for them. And in this case, I can’t say either had a better race day.

    But Ericsson did make a mess of qualifying and we didn’t get to see how good he could have been in the race. Therefore, I think it is fair enough that he has been counted as a struggler.

  15. Is Kimi such a good driver that he is able to intentionally mess up his last lap in order to not qualify ahead of Seb? :-)

    1. Yes, raikkonen is making so many mistakes when it matters, he also lost a lot of points due to ferrari’s negligence and some due to unluck, but I think he’s back to 2017 level (bad) after the first (good) races.

  16. It always amazes me how so many people can be offended by such a small issue of someone’s opinion on drivers’ performances.

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