Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019

2019 Canadian Grand Prix Star Performers

2019 Canadian Grand Prix

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Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris were RaceFans’ Star Performers of the Canadian Grand Prix. Here’s why.


Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo reckoned his Q3 lap was probably good for fifth on the grid, and was stunned when it earned him fourth. Having to start on old tyres was always going to put him at a disadvantage, but he was aided by Renault playing the strategy game, and his eventual sixth place was fully deserved.

Lewis Hamilton

For once the Mercedes W10 didn’t look like it was quite good enough for pole: Ferrari’s speed down the straights was just too much for it. In race trim it was potentially the quicker car, however, and he wielded superbly as he piled pressure on Vettel.

It eventually had the desired effect, and Hamilton demonstrated a clear understanding of the rules of racing when Vettel cut him up as he rejoined. The widely held perception is that Vettel was hard done by because of the penalty; the reality is Hamilton deserved greater recognition for pushing his rival beyond the brink again.

Lando Norris

On one-lap pace Lando Norris was potentially not quite as quick as his team mate, but he was very close, and when it came to the crunch his lap was a clean one. His spirited lap one re-pass on Max Verstappen showed he wasn’t about to roll over for a faster car, but once Verstappen inevitably got by a mystery technical problem put Norris out.

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Kevin Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019
Magnussen’s weekend went wrong on Saturday
A weekend to forget for Haas in general and Kevin Magnussen in particular. He smashed his car up in Q2, and after his team put it back together again he was never able to break out of a frustrating cycle of temperature managed and blue flags.

He made his feelings clear on the radio, and although team principal Guenther Steiner’s reaction seemed disproportionate, Magnussen smoother things over by apologising to the team at the end of the race.

Pierre Gasly

Having edged closer to Verstappen in recent races, Gasly was demonstrably the weaker of the two in Montreal. While Verstappen lucked out trying to get through Q2 on the harder tyres, for Gasly it was never a realistic option.

In the race he fell behind Lance Stroll and couldn’t get out from behind the Racing Point. The upshot was he not only lost a place to his recovering team mate, but to Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault too.

Robert Kubica

Kubica was the only driver to do all three of his best sector times on the same lap in qualifying. Ordinarily that would indicate a drier who had performed well, but as the lap which resulted was seven-tenths of a second slower than his team mate’s imperfect effort, it reflects much less well.

In the race he had to make an extra pit stop and finished almost a minute behind the other Williams.

Valtteri Bottas

Having kept Hamilton honest over the opening six races, Valtteri Bottas let himself down in Canada with a messy Q3 which left him well behind where his Mercedes should have qualified. Indeed, so much so that his cooling configuration wasn’t generous enough to allow for the extra cars ahead of him, a problem which was amplified on the first lap when he let Hulkenberg get the better of him.

However he fought back from there to regain fourth, which was the minimum the car deserves, and collected the bonus point for fastest lap.

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And the rest

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019
Vettel’s weekend peaked on Saturday
Whatever the rights and wrongs of Sebastian Vettel’s penalty, it came about because of another error under pressure. Until that point he’d driven a fine, Star-worthy weekend. Charles Leclerc was well off his pace in qualifying but much stronger in the race, and might have bagged second if Ferrari had bothered to tell him he only needed to find an extra 1.038 seconds over his final stint.

Running long on the hard tyres at the start of the race allowed Max Verstappen to recover from his Saturday setback, where he failed to make the cut for Q3 after trying to run the medium tyres in Q2.

Nico Hulkenberg might have beaten his team mate home had Renault not told them to hold station. Like Verstappen, Stroll found himself on the optimum strategy and benefitted in a big way, rising eighth places to grab points for ninth at home, despite having to revert to the old-spec power unit. Daniil Kvyat bagged the final point after passing Carlos Sainz Jnr.

The McLaren driver was hard done by in qualifying as he had little opportunity to avoid a penalty for delaying Alexander Albon. Luck wasn’t on his side in the race either, as he had to pit early to have a tear-off fished out of an overheating brake duct. That meant a very long second stint, at the end of which he was knocked out of the points by Stroll and Kvyat.

Alexander Albon, Toro Rosso, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019
Albon needed a lap one nose-job
Sergio Perez got the unlucky side of the Racing Point strategy coin. He led home Antonio Giovinazzi who out-qualified and out-raced Kimi Raikkonen despite a spin on Sunday.

The race was ruined for Alexander Albon when he lost his front wing at the start. Part of it landed in Romain Grosjean’s cockpit and he lost time running wide at turn one, then fell into Haas’s now painfully familiar tyre temperature trap. At least he saw the chequered flag, unlike Albon. George Russell made it to the end to, quite comfortably ahead of his team mate.

Over to you

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

2019 Canadian Grand Prix

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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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54 comments on “2019 Canadian Grand Prix Star Performers”

  1. Uday Motwani
    13th June 2019, 7:22

    Lance Stroll is not a performer?

    1. Yep, he did great and deserved a place in the performers set.
      BTW, ricci did great, but like villeneuve noticed his waving to defend against Bottas deserved a penalty in the current system
      If it had been Hamilton he probably would have got one.

      1. Don’t know tbh, I think both mercedes are hardly ever penalized in the current system, just look at hamilton in brazil making a dangerous move ahead of another car in practice but nothing happened, or bottas with vandoorne in spa, or again how many rules bottas had to break to get a measly 5 sec penalty for collisions in hungary.

  2. As Max isn’t a performer reason : bad qualiflier

  3. hamilton as star performer? and another article about vettel cracks under pressure? keith, this is mischief, stop this. i loved this site but what you’re doing now is seriously unprofessional

    1. A journalist telling the truth is unprofessional now?

      1. it’s not the truth. vettel didn’t crack under pressure. while hamilton made at least five mistakes on sunday and crashed the car on friday, vettel made only one small mistake while pushing very hard and reached a backmarker’s turbulent air. he lost the car for a few seconds but managed to avoid the wall and won the race. only the stewards made his mistake deciding, so no: vettel made an almost perfect race, his mistake didn’t cost him a place. yes, keith is manipulating, this is not journalism, with some respect: only blogging

        1. One small mistake? So which one you talking about? One of lock ups he made at the hairpin, taking a bit too much curb and losing some time to Hamilton, going off at a corner where there is no way for the driver behind to overtake (unless you are daft enough to go off), or carrying out a move that you know will get investigated?

        2. Vettel went off. It was not a car issue, it was not oil on track or unpredictable backmarker. Hamilton just put a lot of pressure on vettel and vettel made a mistake. Dirty air from backmarker is just one of the things a front pack driver needs to manage during a weekend.

        3. Okay let me get this right. Vettel lost it because of following a back marker’s turbulent air. Did Lewis lock up in clean air? Lewis Hamilton locked up a bit and missed the racing line slightly and barely any time at all, while Vettel lost the rear, went off the track and blocked Lewis in a desperate attempt to keep him behind, earned a penalty. Please tell me again which one of these is a smaller mistake? His mistake didn’t cost him a place cause he blocked Lewis.

          If Keith is manipulating, then shouldn’t you be agreeing to his opinion? If you still have your own opinion, how is he manipulating?

        4. vettel made only one small mistake while pushing very hard and reached a backmarker’s turbulent air.

          The same turbulent air Hamilton coped with for 70 laps riiiiiight. Sit down.

        5. Very crack under pressure as always

      2. Neil (@neilosjames)
        13th June 2019, 8:56

        @sham to some people, it seems like doing anything other than reading their mind and agreeing with their every thought is ‘unprofessional’.

        I feel sorry for journalists with comment sections, they can never win…

    2. Yes, indeed. Keith can’t resist the temptation. Regulars, like me, can feel and see his preferences. This is his own site and not a heavily staffed and multi-levelled ‘seriously professional’ media. I don’t know if the latter exists these days.

    3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      13th June 2019, 9:00

      Well one thing I’m not sure I agree with is this apparent thing that Hamilton pressured Vettel into making this mistake. It almost comes across sometimes to me as it is Hamilton’s fault that Vettel did this – maybe Hamilton should get a penalty as he caused the incident :D

      I think Vettel just locked up like Hamilton did at the hairpin, but just at this corner at higher speed. The lack of downforce from the lapped drivers ahead won’t have helped either.

    4. Vettel went off the track while under pressure from Hamilton and that directly led to the penalty that cost him the race. Hamilton had no such incident. Not sure how you can dispute that regardless of whether you think the penalty was reasonable or not.

      It’s incredibly immature to attack somebody’s professionalism in most circumstances, let alone these.

      Can I suggest you direct your ire at the driver you support throwing away a chance at victory again, rather than the journalist reporting the fact.

    5. I’m happy with this article and the site in general. This article seems pretty reasonable.

      I don’t see how Vettel isn’t a struggler, he clearly made a mistake that cost him the race. Once he left the track under pressure he was no longer in control of the weekend.

      To me tossing a victory away is a easy disqualifier for DOTW.

      Also, I’m hesitant to laugh personal attacks over sports.

    6. Vettel cracked under pressure big time! No use sugar coating it. If he didn’t crack we wouldn’t be talking about his penalty. Its always easier being the hunter than the hunted

    7. You are so right. Every race the same story.
      The bias of Keith is so annoying that I’m starting to avoid this website.

  4. But Lando Norris shouldn’t be there as he made a mistake Max got past him but only of the DRS he could overtake Max. After that Max passed him very easy, so his brake problem is probaly from defending hard against Max overheating his breaks.

    1. No DRS for Norris, too early in the race.

  5. I feel bad for Hulkenberg. There was no real need for Renault to impose team orders–after all, Nico had the pace and tyres to overtake Daniel and would have perhaps done so on the straight. Nevertheless, a fantastic outing for Renault and they are just two points behind fourth placed McLaren and a few more weekends like this and they will establish a clear lead for P4 in the WCC–the least that all of us expected at the start of the season.

    1. The only reason Hulk got close in the first place was because Ricciardo had to cover off Gasly, then because Gasly was slow and couldn’t get by RP quickly enough Hulk had a decent enough gap to cover Gasly off. When Hulk did finally make his pitstop, Ricciardo opened out the gap to 6.5 seconds over Hulk before he had the battle with Bottas. That battle ruined his tires.

      Taking away nothing from Hulk, he had a great race (including his stint on the softs) but his team-mate battle was more because Ricciardo had to cover off faster cars which led to him having worse off strategy and tire life than Hulk being the quicker driver. Without those two, Hulk wouldn’t have been as close as he was.

      Agreed it was a great weekend for Renault, hopefully their France update lets them get closer to the top 3 teams which is what they were aiming for. Canada was a good step in the right direction too.

      1. Ricciardo opened up a 7 second gap because of Hulkenberg’s gearbox problem, and was consistently slower than his teammate from lap 34 onwards. Since the battle took place midway through the race, Ricciardo’s tyres must have been fine then.

        As Keith mentioned in his review of the race, the decision to hold position in case of proximity might have been made very early in the race, when Ricciardo was pitted first to cover Gasly, since he was put on a potentially slower strategy than Hulk. Anyway, Ricciardo deserved to finish ahead…Hulk was good in the race, but the weekend belonged to his teammate.

        1. By “the battle”, I’m referring to Dan vs Bottas

      2. @Pete:

        cover off faster cars which led to him having worse off strategy

        These things are part of the race itself. Battles do ruin tyres and others tend to take advantage. That is modern day racing in F1. It was what happened on track that lead Hulkenberg closer to Daniel. Quite harsh to say it was because of issues A,B and C that a driver X accomplished this. It might be true, but nothing negative there.
        Nevertheless, agree with you that he had a great race. No doubt about that whatsoever.

  6. I would have picked Stroll over Norris for the final spot. Lando was looking strong, but his retirement robbed us the chance of seeing him convert that promise into points. Stroll solidly delivered in the end and you have to say fair enough.

  7. Norris is a star performer over 8/9 laps?

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of Sebastian Vettel’s penalty, it came about because of another error under pressure. Until that point he’d driven a fine, Star-worthy weekend. Charles Leclerc was well off his pace in qualifying but much stronger in the race, and might have bagged second if Ferrari had bothered to tell him he only needed to find an extra 1.038 seconds over his final stint.

    Have we seen the same race? Leclerc almost overtook Vettel because Ferrari forgot to tell him about the 5s, not the other way around.

  8. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    13th June 2019, 8:54

    I just can’t understand in any way how Bottas’s weekend was worse than Leclerc’s last time out. Leclerc wasn’t even mentioned as a struggler even though he had some input to not getting through to Q3. He had messy runs then missed the weigh bridge. The team was at fault for the rest though. But then he rushed to get past drivers too quickly. Given he got past Grosjean, it is clear that with a car at his pace, he could have easily had a points finish without the desperate lunge. But he failed to do that and crashed. He still could have finished the race but ruined it by driving way too quick. How he wasn’t classed as a struggler there, I don’t know.

    For Bottas here, he was the same distance behind Hamilton time wise in qualifying as Hamilton was behind him in Spain. The other cars being well off the pace of the Mercedes really hid Hamilton’s bad lap there otherwise Hamilton could have been 4th or worse. I will agree though, Bottas’s qualifying was not good at all. But in the paragraph about Bottas, it almost looks like it is defending Bottas as to why he had a hard time. Almost as if it it trying to describe why he wasn’t listed as a struggler. The vast majority of it looks like it should be in the “and the rest” section. Talking about that section. Mentioning that Giovinassi spun and still beat Kimi as well as outqualifying him, given the fact Bottas was a struggler, why was there nothing negative written about Kimi?

    The last part was saying that Bottas at least fought back and got the minimum the car deserved. And Given Ferrari were the better car that weekend, it in the end wasn’t really that bad.
    It even goes as far as trying to explain that he had a problem with following other cars because of his setup difference. Yes it was his fault that he got there, but this looks like it is more defending him than saying he actually had a poor race.

    I would agree he could be listed as a struggler if a bit more was mentioned. Such as the lack of aggression when he attempted several overtakes. The one on Ricciardo looked certain at least 2 times. Ricciardo defended within the limits and Bottas just backed off when it wasn’t even near the corner. Even the commentators on sky and channel 4 sounded certain that Bottas would get him this time, and the following time. It took some time despite being close. But this articles section on Bottas looks more like it is giving a bit of an excuse for Bottas struggling somehow. That may be true and if it is, then maybe there should be a better explanation for the reasoning for saying he was a struggler. As I said, He qualifying was bad, but it is the race that counts. If he had qualified 3rd and say lost 1 position to Leclerc at the start, he would likely have finished… well 4th. And I don’t think he will have been listed as a struggler there somehow. This final position wasn’t that bad considering how good Ferrari were. I don’t even think it was pace he was lacking as once he got past Ricciardo, he very soon got fastest lap even before pitting again and maintained the gap to the leaders.

    But as I said earlier, I don’t understand how Leclerc can’t have had a significantly worse weekend at Monaco than Bottas here. Certain drivers seem to get judged very differently. Leclerc seems to be forgiven too easily. And as Bottas is against the best driver at the moment, his not so good races seem to get more attention.

    I agree with the rest of the strugglers, but would probably add Kimi. The star performers, well, as harsh as it may seem, I would remove Hamilton. It was a good but not outstanding weekend. He did look quicker than the Ferrari and that was impressive as I think that was down to him, not the Mercedes, but he crashed in practice, didn’t have an outstanding qualifying and locked up 4 or more times during the race. It was not a perfectly clean weekend. And he never really made an actual overtaking attempt on Vettel until Vettel made a mistake. Certain;y not a bad weekend at all, but I really couldn’t see him as a star performer.

    Stroll impressed me more and I certainly feel he is missing from this list. He missed a whole load of practice and still qualified incredibly close to Perez. His first stint was incredibly good and he kept a red bull behind him! And I think Perez and Stroll showed that the potential of that car was not good at all in qualifying. IMO, stroll outdrove that car for once and had a great overtake on Sainz near the end.

    Kvyat also did very well. Guess he only finished in the position he started in, but I think I would say his overtake on Sainz was the most impressive all race.

  9. Hamilton demonstrated a clear understanding of the rules of racing when Vettel cut him up as he rejoined.

    I take issue with this being an argument for a star driver performance as the habit of drivers to drive into a gap which is always going to close and then getting on the radio to complain is one of the things I dislike most about current F1. This isn’t a criticism of Hamilton, in fact its the drivers job to take advantage of everything they can to gain places and as Carlos Sainz says its the easiest way to overtake at the moment in F1.
    I just don’t like it being applauded and used as a reason for being a star performer.

    1. @yossarian

      I think incident displayed why Hamilton is a 5x WDC. He didn’t crash into Vettel. He seems to have developed an amazing ability to avoid or survive contact.

      I think most drivers, like Verstappen, Vettel, or Ricciardo would have just sent it and crashed into Vettel. Hamilton kept is close but a avoided the crash.

      1. Kindly stop yourself looking like a total fool and remove Ricciardo from this list!

        Care to do a little exercise and list all the at fault accidents for Hamilton and Ricciardo? I assure you, even if you adjust for the amount of races in F1, Hamilton’s list is MUCH longer than Ricciardo’s!

      2. The only reason that Hamilton is a 5 times WDC is the brand name on his car. Hamilton is a good driver but wouldn’t have more then one WDC if he wasn’t so lucky that he is under contract of Mercedes.
        Saying that others would have crashed in this situation is based on nothing and just BS. Hamilton could just as well have chosen the left side to pass Vettel and could have won the race without the help of the stewards. But he didn’t.

  10. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    13th June 2019, 9:22

    I don’t think Hamilton is a star performer. He had plenty of opportunities to catch Vettel but he lost 0.5s every 5 laps down the hairpin due to mistakes. Stroll deserves that spot.

    1. I agree. If we talk about individuals (star performers) they have to weighted against their material. In this case HAM didnt add much, in fact he crashed it earlier. And being second behind Vettel is the least the car belongs. So good job, but no star job

  11. Ben (@scuderia29)
    13th June 2019, 10:26

    Lewis Hamilton? crashed in practice, out qualified by Vettel, a handful of small lock ups ruining his run onto the back straight vs Vettel, then complained over the radio trying to bring a penalty to Vettel in which 99% of ex drivers agree was unfair..And yet he’s a star performer? definitely not.

    1. @scuderia29 Crashed in practice: as he said, he was very deliberately testing the limits of adherence. It happens. Doing it on a Friday is much more sensible if you’re going to. Outqualified by Vettel: in a car much faster on the foot down and floor it section. Hmm. Complaining: little point going over that one again, but 99% is a big exaggeration. Filtering reactions, most of the debate is whether the regulations that stand should exist, not whether they were misapplied (they weren’t). Hamilton vary conciously chose not to fight for the position and risk a collision, realizing it was a rule infringement. In race and championship terms, he took the sensible option. You’d prefer the crash? But compare Hamilton’s performance to Bottas’s (or the otherwise excellent Vettel’s to Leclerc’s) and it’s obvious Hamilton had a good qualifying session and race. His pressure on Vettel to force the error was perfect and made the race a good one (as did Vettel’s defense until that one error).

    2. Anyone is states that 99% of ex-drivers agree the penalty was unfair is either prone to massive exaggeration or as dumb as a post.
      (Or maybe wears red?)

  12. I don’t understand the hype around Ricciardo for this race:

    – Qualified 4th due to circumstances (Bottas brain fart, Max strategic error, Gasly underperforming). Any other day he would have been 7th which is where Renault belongs.
    – Ended race 2 positions lower than where he started
    – Faster Hulkenberg was kept behind due to team orders
    – Questionable block of Bottas on the straight

    Stroll was a Star performer….but he is not even mentioned.

    1. Any other day but not that day, that is way is considered star performance. Isn’t this how it is supposed to be?
      He outperformed Gasly with a lesser car. Gasly is a disappointment, but to be faster than a Red Bull is still a feat.
      He lost those two places to guys who shouldnt even be behind him to begin with.
      As for Hulkenberg, he had 10 extra laps on the soft tyres to make his strategy work and to avoid going so long on the hard tyres.

    2. Stroll started on white and ran long because of no safety car , it flattered his result..

    3. Due to circumstance? Yes for Max, but being better than Bottas and Gasly, in faster cars, deserves star driver just for that.

    4. Name a midfield driver who has qualified in the top 4 these past 5 years outside of the top 3 teams of the hybrid era on merit for the most part and I doubt you will find many. If the position is there for the taking, then the driver has to take it when the top guys don’t get it right

  13. Stars: Renault and Stroll.
    Strugglers: Bottas, Gasly, Sainz, Haas, and Alfa Romeo (both again.)

  14. Not much I agree with at all. Especially Norris being up there at the stars. You sure can see the writers’ bias. Apparently it’s enough if you lag behind your teammate in pre-race pace, have a little bit of fun with a faster car behind you and it ending with an inevitably overtake on you, and retire after 8 short laps. Hilarious.

    Also don’t agree with the perceived drop in performance by GAS. He’s still in an upward trajectory regarding pace. In qualifying he was faster than his teammate; the race pace was a bit harder to judge. His problem was he couldn’t immediately overtake STR after he had pitted whereas RIC, who was given the same strategy, could.

    As a side note, I think RB are feeling pretty pressured. Up until now, their narrative was the HON is great and it’s our chassis that is holding us back. But this doesn’t add up, they were a lot closer to pole in Monaco than in Canada and could have been even closer/on pole had max not made his scrappy lap in Q3.
    Monaco: Much more a chassis track
    Canada: Much more an engine track
    And look where Renault was in Canada (and already in Monaco too a bit). I think they will be close in France and could have a genuine shot in Austria if they play it right with slipstreaming.

    1. The low speed mechnical grip of this year RB is not good but will be better with the new upgrades.
      Monaco they were second fastest only because Mercedes was improved on that part.

  15. I feel a bit bad that George Russell doesn’t ever seem to get a mention. He seems to just get his head down and do the best he can with the car that he’s got, our qualifies and out races his more experienced team mate every race, always obeys the blue flags… what more can the guy do?

  16. I’m beginning to question the impartiality of this independent blog…

    1. Just because you have a differing opinion? If the narrative suited what you and other users wanted, then most of the people on this site wouldn’t be complaining. This is what makes this site great, a differing opinion then all of us debating it.

  17. My three choices too, Norris’s repass of Verstappen was great.
    Seb ‘Just One Small Mistake’ Vettel rightly demoted for making one small mistake that sent him flying off piste.

  18. F1oSaurus (@)
    13th June 2019, 17:57

    In race trim it was potentially the quicker car, however,

    How was the Mercedes the quicker car? Vettel was quite slow yes (half a second a lap slower than Leclerc), but Leclerc held the fastest lap till almost the end. Only when Bottas switched for a fresh set of soft tyres was he able to take the fastest lap away from Leclerc.

    With regards to Bottas Q3 deficit. Vettel and Hamilton had the tow from their teammates. Leclerc and Bottas did not. On the radio Leclerc was told (when he asked where he lost time) that it basically was the lack of tow that cost him.

    They kept very hush hush about this in interviews, but it was clear that Leclerc was told to go for the “team result” and help Vettel. He was more interested in what Vettel did than in his own performance which was rendered hopeless by Ferrari strategy again.

    Bottas should have been right behind Leclerc I guess, but both where 7 tenths down on their towed team mate. Bottas just was unfortunate that his Mercedes was 2 tenths slower in Q2.

  19. Frankly, I think the editor of this website has gone from being completely unbiased and neutral to not so.

    1. Or you sure it’s Keith and not you?

    2. Absolute my impression too.
      And the bias is going more and more to the drivers from English speaking countries. I have some vague idea that Brexit has something to do with this.

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