The Alternative Review: Canada

The Alternative Review: Canada

Oh Canada – a grand prix weekend draped in maple syrup and featuring groundhogs, Eddie Jordan’s shiny suit and a French-speaking crowd supporting a Spanish driver who is speaking English. In terms of value for money, The Alternative Review leaves Canada with a lot of change.

Finger on the button; is Vettel ready to run away with this?

0707LW1D9440Sebastian Vettel waltzed to his third win of the season at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve thanks to a wonderful mix of tyre management, quick stops and – more than anything – blistering pace. As his championship lead widens to 36 points, the likelihood of the young German winning a fourth title becomes greater and greater. It seems that 2013 will follow a similar route to the 2012 championship, where Red Bull really stepped up their game in the middle of the season to cut into Alonso’s lead; the chance to win the championship had been lost as Ferrari and McLaren did not win enough in the early races. 2013 has seen Alonso lose out in Australia, Malaysia and Bahrain, three big chances to establish some sort of lead. Now though, it appears that nothing can stop Vettel and Red Bull from making it four titles apiece. His pace was unrelenting, but perhaps the team best-placed to stop Red Bull is Mercedes. The final run of races were reduced to one-stops last season, and, with Pirelli introducing their new tyre sometime soon, the German team could produce a run of form resembling Vettel’s in 2013. Regardless, the smart money is on Vettel for now, and one can never discount Alonso; the race proved his ability to drive the wheels off the Ferrari, if it needed proving that is…

#BOTTAS fails to take the plunge after an encouraging Saturday

Perhaps we expected too much of Valtteri Bottas after qualifying 3rd for the race. His wet pace was certainly impressive, yet the FW35 floundered in the race as he lost place after place, eventually finishing 14th and a lap down. However, one moment did highlight just how much of a start Bottas is. After losing P11 to Sergio Perez, the Finn was under great pressure from his compatriot, Kimi Raikkonen. A driver with 11 seasons of F1 experience, Raikkonen should have easily made it past, yet Bottas produced some simply incredible defence to keep the Lotus back. Frankly, Bottas maximised the potential of the FW35 on Sunday which sadly was only enough to hand him P14 come the chequered flag. Had the 40% chance of rain come to fruition, then points would have been on the cards for Williams without a shadow of a doubt. Instead, Bottas did not have to make good on his bet to jump into the lake next to the circuit should he finish in the top ten, nor did Claire Williams have to insist that she didn’t make the same proposal.

Traffic caused drivers to be on their Garde

Canada is a track where traffic problems are hardly rare, yet they are usual offset by the appearance of the safety car at least once during the race. However, it became particularly troublesome this year with Adrian Sutil receiving a drive-through penalty for holding up Lewis Hamilton, costing the Force India driver a secure 8th place, but the stand-out event was Giedo van der Garde’s incident when being lapped by Mark Webber. The Caterham driver took a wide line into the hairpin to allow Webber past and turned in when the Red Bull copyright octaneappeared to be too far back. Instead, van der Garde’s right-rear tyre clipped Webber’s front wing, causing the Dutchman to spin and a minor amount of damage to the Red Bull which Christian Horner believes cost the team a double-podium finish. Although van der Garde should have been more aware of what was around him, perhaps Webber should also have acknowledged the Caterham turning in, as NBC’s Will Buxton suggested on Twitter. van der Garde backed himself into a corner by misjudging just how close Webber was, and ultimately paid the price with a five place grid penalty for the British Grand Prix.

Groundhogs 101

I was planning to use the whole ‘Groundhog Day’ pun had Rosberg taken a fourth pole in a row, but instead we had to settle for a few shots from the FOM world feed as they scampered across the track, and a little bit of useless information from us. Groundhogs belong to the marmot family and are also rather sweetly known as Woodchucks, yet this has nothing to do with wood or chucking. Instead, it comes from the Algonquian (a native American group) work for Groundhogs: wuchak.800px-Groundhog3 Also stemming from this is the rhyme “how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”. Anthony Davidson has a particular dislike for the animals, having hit one when running in the points for Super Aguri (remember them?) at the 2007 Canadian GP. And there you have Groundhogs 101.

EJ vs Buxton in the Canadian GP style stakes

The snappy dressers appeared to unite in Montreal. Will Buxton was rocking the green trousers, but he was outdone by Eddie Jordan who conducted the interviews on the podium after the race wearing a suit so shiny that it blinded the crowd spilling out onto the track, sporting something that even Jay Gatsby wouldn’t dare touch. The interviews were very indicative of the crowd’s support though. As per usual, the answers revolved around it being a ‘hard race’ and how they were ‘thankful’, but Sebastian Vettel’s comments were drowned out by booing and jeering from the crowd below, along with the chant of “Alonso! Alonso! Alonso!” When the Spaniard did speak, there was silence and, where appropriate, cheering, with Hamilton also receiving a good deal of praise from the Lewis Army present in Canada. It was obvious where the crowd’s loyalties lay, so they may not be too receptive of the championship standings now, nor at the end of the season.

Reality check

The euphoria after the race was numbed by the news that a marshal had been killed following an accident with a crane when recovering Esteban Gutierrez’s car. Richland F1 would like to send its deepest condolances to his friends and family, and the incident acts as a reminder of the amazing jobs the marshals do; week in, week out, they volunteer and allow guys to go racing and us to enjoy it, and they must be commended for the work they do.

Roll on Silverstone which, being Richland F1′s home race, will come packed with a special week of content up to the race and insight direct from the paddock.

Luke Smith

Luke Smith

Luke Smith is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Richland F1. Having started the website in March 2012, he has gone on to become one of the youngest members of the Formula 1 paddock after joining American broadcaster NBC Sports at the beginning of the 2013 season. Luke now works as the network's lead F1 writer, supporting the TV coverage on nbcsports.com. Luke's work has also been featured on NBC News, Yahoo! Sports, Driven Magazine and the Bahrain Mirror, and he has also appeared on CNBC's TV series "One Second in F1 Racing".