F1 Canadian Grand Prix: 7 things I learned attending the race in 2024

F1 Canadian Grand Prix: 7 things I learned attending the race in 2024

MONTREAL — Having just returned from a lovely trip to Quebec in order to witness the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Notre Dame Island, I couldn't help but compare and contrast this experience with my last in Formula 1 at the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix. The differences between the two events are as stark as those between the two cities that hosted them. The driver who crossed the finish line in first place may have been the same, but how we got to that point was very different. Here are seven things I learned, along with some thoughts on the future of the long-running Grand Prix.

The on-track action was spectacular

First and foremost, Formula 1 is about racing and the results on the track. And this season, the race did not disappoint. We’ll touch on the weather in this recap, but suffice it to say it added to the intrigue. Numerous lead changes throughout the 70-lap race, two safety car periods, pit stop strategy and tire choice all played a role, as, of course, did driver skill and vehicle performance.


In the end, Max Verstappen won the event for the third straight year. But a podium that includes three different teams from three different constructors is a recipe for fun.

Weather makes for more challenges, more risks and more rewards

On to the weather. Yes, it rained. Quite a bit, and quite hard at times. I got caught in a freak hailstorm that ended up flooding some team hospitality tents, and then several times more over the course of the weekend’s festivities.

But while rain can cause headaches for organizers and attendees alike, it also adds a lot of strategies for teams to consider. Get most things right, as did Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen — with the notable exception of a decision to have Sergio Perez drive an unsafe car on the track in an effort to protect Verstappen’s position, leading to a three-position penalty at the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix — and you end up atop the podium.

The locals seem okay with the event

As the second-largest metro area in Canada and the 10th largest in North America, Montreal is far from the biggest city to host a Formula 1 race in 2024. But the local residents are seemingly very accustomed to the yearly event. Compared to the Las Vegas Grand Prix that I attended last season, which was the first running of that particular race, the Canadian Grand Prix felt like a well-oiled machine.

The city and its residents seem eager to please race attendees with lots of events tailored to the incoming clientele. When we flew out (which we did first thing the next morning in an attempt to beat the rush), the airport was packed, but we didn’t hear many complaints.

Here are some fun facts:

  • Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton are tied at the top of the leaderboard with 7 wins each in Montreal.

  • Nelson Piquet and Verstappen are next with 3 wins each

  • Ferrari leads the overall constructors board with 14 wins, followed by McLaren with 13, Williams with 7 and Red Bull with 5

  • Ford, perhaps surprisingly to those who only recently became fans of the series, Ford’s 12 victories as an engine supplier is only 2 down from the leader, Ferrari

  • The “Wall of Champions” is so named because of its propensity to be the area where top championship-winning drivers crash. Victims include such storied drivers as Schumacher, Damon Hill, Sebastian Vettel and Jacques Villeneuve.

But the event is showing some cracks