Every diehard fan of Formula One racing cherishes those incredible moments that create history. Being one of the most watched F1 Grand Prix events in the world, the Canadian Grand Prix (Grand Prix du Canada in French) has been a witness to many such moments. First held at Mosport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario in 1961, it has been a part of the Formula One World Championship since 1967. The race moved to its present location in Ile Notre-Dame, Montreal in 1978.
Here are 5 of the most memorable moments in Canadian Grand Prix history:
- A bungled pace car interlude (1973): The 1973 Canadian Grand Prix was a rain-soaked event that produced unexpected results. On Lap 3, Austrian Niki Lauda driving a BRM took the lead from Ronnie Peterson, driving a Lotus. When Lauda stopped to change tires in the 20th lap, Jody Scheckter and Francois Cevert collided on Lap 33, creating a bungled pace car interlude that allowed Briton Jackie Oliver, American Peter Revson and Frenchman Jean-Pierre Beltoise to take the lead. There was a lot of confusion for hours after the race, but eventually Revson was declared the winner.
- Villeneuve’s amazing car control skill (1981): Quebec native Gilles Villeneuve created history in 1987 by becoming the only Canadian to win the Canadian Grand Prix. But in 1981, he demonstrated his amazing car control skill when the front wing of his Ferrari went askew after a crash – and he managed to drive on to third place in that condition! The race was won by Frenchman Jacques Laffite with Briton John Watson in second place.
- A dramatic finale (1991): The finale of the 1991 race is considered to be one of the most dramatic in the history of the Canadian Grand Prix. Nigel Mansell was leading until the very last lap, and he was just a few corners from the finish line when his car failed him. He was quickly overtaken by Nelson Piquet driving a Benneton. This was Piquet’s 23rd and final Formula One victory.
- Alesi’s popular win (1995): In the 1995 edition of the Grand Prix, Ferrari’s Jean Alesi took the lead when Michael Schumacher’s vehicle had electrical problems and Damon Hill’s car had a hydraulic failure. His win was voted the most popular race victory of the season, largely because it was the number 27 Ferrari that had once belonged to Gilles Villeneuve. It was also memorable for the fact that Schumacher gave Alesi a lift back to the pits after his car ran out of fuel. It was also the only grand prix win of Alesi’s racing career.
- The longest F1 race in history (2011): When rainstorms delayed the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix for hours, it became the longest F1 race in history. But when the race started, Jenson Button zoomed from the last place, caught the German leader Sebastian Vettel, forcing him into making a mistake, and then drove to victory. Afterwards, Jenson described it as his best race ever.
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