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Max Verstappen Triumphs in Canada as Red Bull Bounces Back: 2024 Canadian Grand Prix Review

Verstappen secures a crucial win for Red Bull as Norris impresses for McLaren and Mercedes celebrates a podium with Russell, while Ferrari faces a double DNF setback.

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The 2024 Canadian Grand Prix delivered a thrilling spectacle filled with unexpected twists and standout performances. In a weekend marked by unpredictable weather and high stakes, Red Bull sought redemption after a challenging outing in Monaco. Max Verstappen secured a commanding victory for Red Bull. McLaren’s Lando Norris came in second after leading the race briefly. Mercedes took home their first trophy of the season as George Russell came in third. However, Ferrari faced a tough weekend, with both cars failing to finish the race.


Free Practice
Mercedes-powered cars led all three practice sessions this weekend, suggesting Red Bull was on the back foot.

Photo credits: Formula 1

Free Practice 1
There was heavy rain before the start of the first practice session, causing a delay in the opening of the pit exit as there was a lot of standing water on the newly resurfaced track. Hamilton was the first driver to explore the track on the green walled intermediate tyres almost halfway into the session.

A short while later, Sauber driver Zhou Guanyu aquaplaned out of turn 4 and collided with the wall, bringing out the red flag. For this session, the number 31 Alpine was sporting 61 as Jack Doohan replaced Esteban Ocon for the first of the year’s two mandatory FP1 rookie sessions. With 5 minutes to go in the session, drivers put on some slick tyres only to find out that the track wasn’t dry enough for the dry tyres. Multiple drivers including Verstappen, Leclerc, and Ricciardo went off the track attempting to find the limits. Mclaren’s Lando Norris set the fastest time of the session of 1:24:435 on the slick tyres while Carlos Sainz set the fastest lap on the intermediate tyres which was 3 seconds off the pace of Norris.

Photo: Formula 1


Free Practice 2
All teams were keen on getting some dry running after a wet FP1, except Ferrari, who sent Leclerc out on intermediates even before the rain hit the track with around 20 minutes to go. The highlights of the session included Alex Albon narrowly avoiding colliding into the ‘Wall of Champions’ and Leclerc taking his Ferrari for a spin in the turn 10 hairpin. The fastest lap of the session was set by last year’s podium finisher Fernando Alonso with a time of 1:15:180 on the soft tyres.


Free Practice 3
The final practice was the first completely dry session of the weekend, resulting in the teams making up for the lost dry running in the first two sessions. The session was briefly halted by the red flag brought out by Zhou Ghuanyu who crashed for the second time this weekend, this time out of turn 2, into the pit exit. A driver who just avoided an incident was Charles Leclerc who corrected a slide out of the final chicane. Verstappen and Albon were not so lucky as they both gave a tap to the ‘Wall of Champions’. Seven-time Canadian GP winner Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of the session at 1:12:549.

Verstappen brushes the ‘Wall of Champions’. Photo: Formula 1


Qualifying
Qualifying was probably the most anticipated session of the weekend as the pecking order was not exactly clear after the 3 practice sessions.

Q1 began under dry conditions, but rain was expected sometime in Q2. Defending champion Max Verstappen set the fastest time in Q1 while his teammate Sergio Perez, whose 2-year contract extension with Red Bull was announced earlier that week was P16 and eliminated in Q1 for the second race running. Others eliminated in Q1 included both the Saubers, Hulkenberg, and Ocon, while Sargeant advanced into Q2.

The surprise eliminations in Q2 included both the Ferraris with Leclerc in 11th and Sainz, one worse in 12th. There were some spots of rain in Q2 and Q3 but nothing that would cause tyre changes.

Q3 was neck to neck with Russell and Verstappen setting the same fastest time of 1:12:000 and 3-tenths of a second covering the top seven. Russell was on pole as he set the quickest time before Verstappen who qualified second. Lando Norris, Oscar Piastri, and Daniel Ricciardo completed the top 5.

Comparison between quali laps of Russell and Verstappen. (Image credits: Formula 1)


The Race
Everybody started the race on the intermediate tyres except both the Haas cars of Magnussen and Hulkenberg who chose the full wets. The Saubers started from the pitlane as they made setup changes after qualifying.

The entire grid made a tentative start owing to the wet conditions with the top four maintaining their positions and Hamilton and Alonso making up a place each. The first lap saw only one incident as Perez made contact with the Alpine of Pierre Gasly, which was deemed as a racing incident by race control, and no penalties were awarded.

Russell leads Verstappen at the start (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool)

The initial conditions proved to be conducive to the extreme wet tyres. Kevin Magnussen made up 11 positions in the first seven laps and his teammate Nico Hulkenberg made up 9 places, but as the track began to dry out the wet tyres began to fall off due to overheating and both the teammates began conceding places. On lap 8, K Mag made a pitstop for intermediate tyres, but a slow pitstop meant all the progress he made earlier became redundant.

In the full wet condition at the start of the race, Russell and Verstappen were pulling away from the Mclarens of Norris and Piastri, but as the track started drying, the Mclarens found some pace and Norris, with DRS enabled, made moves on the Russell and Verstappen, inheriting the lead of the race. Russell also lost out to Verstappen on the 21st lap.

On the 25th lap, Sargeant spun his Williams and crashed into the wall, bringing out the safety car. Verstappen and Russell pitted on lap 26 for new inters and Norris had to go around one more time before pitting as he had crossed the pit entry by the time the Safety Car was deployed. In this case, the undercut worked and Norris narrowly lost the lead of the race to Verstappen, rejoining the race in P3 behind Russell.

Verstappen managed to keep the lead of the race on the safety car restart but further down the field, Albon pulled off a spectacular double overtake for P9 on Ricciardo and Ocon in the span of a single chicane.

Leclerc had to retire the car on lap 34 as a result of some power unit issues he had been having since the start of the race. As the track dried out, the leaders were the last three cars to make the switch to the slick tyres. They made their stops on lap 45 and 46 with Verstappen maintaining the lead of the race. On lap 53 out of 70, Perez had to retire with a broken rear wing after he crashed on his own. The next lap saw two more retirements as Sainz spun and took out an unfortunate Albon with him, bringing out the safety car. Multiple cars pitted under the safety car.

The last laps of the race saw some hard racing from Piastri, Russell, and Hamilton with Russell and Piastri even making contact once in the final chicane. The last retirement of the race took place on the 66th lap as Tsunoda dropped it out of turn 8 while racing with Esteban Ocon. Verstappen took the chequered flag for his 60th win in F1, followed by Norris. Russell finished P3 to take the first podium of the season for Mercedes and Hamilton and Piastri rounded up the top 5. Hamilton set the fastest lap on the last lap and Norris became the Driver of the Day which is decided by fan voting.

“It was a pretty crazy race” -Verstappen.

“A lot of things were happening and we had to be on top of our calls. I think as a team we just did really well today, we remained calm, and I think we pitted at the right time. Of course, the Safety Car worked out nicely for us, but even after that I think we were managing the gaps quite well. I loved it – that was a lot of fun. Those kinds of races, you need them once in a while!” said Verstappen.

Point scorers from the Canadian GP. – (Image: Formula 1)
Championship Standings

Verstappen extended his championship lead at the top while Leclerc scored 0 points allowing Norris to close the gap to him.

Top 10 driver standings after Canadian GP – (Image: Formula 1)



Formula 1

A Three way Battle in Budapest: The 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix Preview.

Formula One returns to the historic Hungaroring, a tight twisty and unpredictable race track. Read DRC’s race preview here.

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As Red-Bull and Mclaren pull away from the field, Mercedes joins the party. With three race winning cars on track, all three will look to bag good points, while Ferrari will be hopeful for a better result. Welcome to DRC’s F1 Hungarian Grand Prix Preview.

Read the British Grand Prix Review here.


Know the Hungaroring

The tight and twisty Hungaroring track is located in Mogyorod, 11 miles west of the Hungarian capital, Budapest. Described as an enlarged go-kart circuit, it is one of the most technically challenging circuits on the calendar.

The Hungaroring Circuit.
The Hungaroring circuit. Photo credits: F1

The 14 corner track is also called Monaco without the walls, owing to it’s high downforce requirements. Even though overtaking is very difficult here, the track has undergone only one major revision, which was in 2003. The main straight was extended another 200 meters to make it 900m long, and the first corner was tightened to promote overtaking.

The track contains two back-to-back DRS zones, followed by a technical middle sector full of chicanes and esses. The final sector is a short one, only featuring two hairpins that feed back into the main straight. A good middle sector is crucial here.

Historically, Hungary has been a circuit full of firsts. It was the first and only circuit to host a race beyond the Iron Curtian. It is also famous for giving drivers their first wins. Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Heikki Kovalainen and most recently, Esteban Ocon have taken their first wins here. Max Verstappen took his first pole back in 2019 at the Hungaroring too.

The 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix will consist of 70 laps around this 4.381 kilometer circuit, with a two stop strategy as the norm.


Red Bull look to fight back blow for blow

Over the last few races, Red Bull has fallen off the pace and is slowly falling into the clutches of McLaren, and even Ferrari. Right now, Red Bull lead Ferrari by 71 points, closely followed by McLaren. With both McLaren cars consistently finishing in the top 5 in the last races bar Norris’s retirement in Austria, and Checo only scoring 8 points in the last five races, it has become difficult for Max and Red Bull to outscore the Papaya clad team.

McLaren’s last upgrade has significantly improved their performance, while Red Bull is still struggling to find and mend the issues with the RB20. Verstappen recently tested the RB18 at Imola, in an attempt to figure out the problem with the new car. As Red Bull work hard to rectify their problems, McLaren seems to be getting better and better. And now with Mercedes back in the fray, a new challenger is rising to take their throne.

Max Verstappen testing the RB18 at Imola.
Max Tests the RB18 in Imola. Image cradits: Autosport

Another factor is the two on one that Max has to face. With Checo qualifying poorly, Max has to take on the McLaren, and sometimes the Mercedes pair alone. Two cars in the mix would greatly help Red Bull, and Checo will be motivated to improve his Qualifying and Race records.


Mercedes on the up as Hamilton eyes another record

The Hungaroring has always been kind to Mercedes. They have the most wins here in the Turbo-Hybrid era. Russell and Hamilton snatched pole here in 2022 and 2023 respectively. Hamilton has also won eight races here, and his first victory with Mercedes came here in 2013.

Mercedes usually nail the set-up here. With the team riding high after back-to-back victories in Austria and Silverstone, they would love to go for a treble. Lewis Hamilton will also eye a record equaling nine victories. After his win in Silverstone, he now holds the record for most wins at a single circuit with 9.

George Russell also has a fantastic track record here, finishing in the points every year since 2021, where he came eight for a struggling Williams. A podium and a top 5 finish followed in 2022 and 2023.

Mercedes will want to secure a large bag of points here, to reduce the 152 points defecit they have to the leaders Red Bull and to catch up with McLaren and Ferrari.


A Ferrari Renaissance on the Horizon?

Ferrari seems to have dropped off after their excellent performances in Melbourne and Monaco. This year, Ferrari seem to be a heavily down-force reliant car, with podiums for Charles and Carlos in Sakhir, Jeddhah, Melbourne and Suzuka, all tracks which require downforce. Of course their victories on the streets of Melbourne and Monte-Carlo confirms this.

Charles Leclerc Wins in Monaco.
Ferrari have dominated the Downforce heavy circuits. Image Credit: Anonymous

Their struggles at the more balanced tracks of Canada and Barcelona, along with power heavy tracks like Austria and Silverstone have cost them dearly. It is also evident that the Ferrari is one of the more draggy cars on the straights and struggle with straight line speed.

As the Hungaroring is a heavy-downforce track, it seems like Ferrari have a shot at victory here. This might be one of the few chances for them to get points during the European Leg of the season, along with Zandvoort and Baku. Consequently, Ferrari have bought new floor upgrades to make most of this valuable chance. A huge points haul in the Hungarian Grand Prix will solidify their chances against McLaren, Red Bull and even Mercedes who look threatening.


Dark Clouds loom over the race

An alarming video was shared by Mikey Brown, a mechanic at Aston Martin, shows the Pitlane flooding in what he described as “a HUGE storm” . McLaren, having barely repaired their motorhome in time for the British GP after the fire in Catalunya, have suffered another issue. The repaired motorhome has lost it’s roof multiple times over this week, thanks to the speedy winds.

Even though Meteorologists predict a dry weekend, a small rain shower, combined with the high humidity in Hungary this time of year can put the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend in doubt.


Championship Standings

This is how the championship looks as we head into the race weekend:

The 2024 Formula One world championship standings as of 18/07/2024.
Credits: F1

Race Weekend Schedule

All events during the weekend are available to watch on F1TV and Fancode. The times given below are in IST(GMT +5:30).

DRC's Hungarian Grand Prix Race weekend schedule.

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Formula 1

Toyota rumoured to partner with Haas in an exhilarating return to F1

Toyota rumoured to partner with Haas to back a sensational return to F1.

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As the F1 silly season continues, a rather surprising bit of rumour is that the world’s largest automaker, Toyota, is set to return to the F1 grid as early as 2025 with the Haas F1 team.

Credits: Haas F1 team

The partnership is said to start out with a sponsorship deal, possibly with a renaming on the cards. A deal akin to that of Alfa Romeo and Sauber. With the possibility of a future technical partnership on the chassis/engine development. Toyota will likely join Dallara in assisting Haas for the chassis. Other talks suggest that Haas will use Toyota’s facilities for development and manufacturing. While this means Toyota won’t be directly involved in the construction of the F1 car, it means Haas gets a huge boost in infrastructure, experience, etc; and Toyota gets a new source of income.

Toyota’s history in F1

The Japanese manufacturer has seen immense success in WEC, taking 5 consecutive 24 hours of Le Mans victories from 2018 to 2022 and WRC, clinching the manufacturers’ championship in 2018, 2021, and 2022, and the championship for drivers and co-drivers every year since 2019. It wasn’t so for its time in F1, or at least according to Toyota’s standards and ambition.

Credits: Toyota-europe.com

Toyota made their debut F1 in 2002. The team scored 17 podiums, and 3 pole positions but never achieved a victory. Only securing 2nd place as their best finish till they dropped out of the sport in 2009, midway through the development of the 2010 car.

What does this mean for Haas, Toyota, and F1?

Toyota’s failure was blamed on a lot of factors, this deal gave the Japanese manufacturer a second chance to right their wrongs. Haas has been on a consistent upward trajectory throughout the 2024 season. With Nico Hulkenberg scoring back-to-back P6 finishes at the Austrian and British GP, and Kevin Magnussen backing that up with commendable performances. The deal could help Haas gain the brute force of employees, resources & financial aid. Something that they have been lacking to make a meaningful impact in the sport.

F1 would most certainly benefit from having a Japanese Manufacturer in the sport. The Japanese GP attendance and the growing popularity of F1 have been steadily increasing in the country. Toyota’s return could also provide F1 with a boost to their competitiveness and financial gains.

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Formula 1

GIFT City’s Formula 1 Racetrack Plans Hit a Roadblock

GIFT City’s ambitious plan to build a Formula 1 racetrack has stalled due to structural issues and high costs, sources reveal. Initially flagged off with a feasibility study, the project now faces uncertainties.

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Gujarat’s GIFT City’s ambitious plan to build a racetrack for holding Formula 1 (F1) races has come to a grinding halt just four months after initiating a feasibility study and selecting consultants, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Earlier this year, on March 11, the Gujarat Sports Authority announced that top international F1 racetrack designers were invited to present the feasibility of constructing an F1 racetrack at GIFT City. The project saw intense competition among global designers, with the consortium of renowned German designer Hermann Tilke and India’s Arcop architects emerging as the frontrunner for the feasibility study.

GIFT City (Photo: Amit Dave/Reuters)

However, GIFT City’s plan has been halted, insiders revealed. “Designers had given feedback that given the layout of GIFT City, it may be difficult to build a racetrack that conforms to F1 standards due to structural issues,” said one source.

The financial implications also pose a significant hurdle. Estimates place the cost of building such a racetrack between Rs 5,000 and 10,000 crore.

R.S. Ninama, Director General of the Gujarat Sports Authority, and Hermann Tilke have not responded to inquiries from ET. Another source indicated that the project might be integrated into a larger plan for developing infrastructure for the Olympics. “So, you may get a racetrack, but not one that can host F1 races,” the source added.

GIFT City, located in Gandhinagar, has been developed as a financial hub. The city is aimed at attracting international businesses with various tax incentives. The government is focusing on enhancing the city’s livability by developing entertainment and leisure infrastructure. Notable projects include an underwater aquarium, water sports facilities, and a retail zone featuring a 158-meter-high Ferris wheel.

This story has been derived from a story reported by Economic Times.

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