Formula 1 has a rich tradition in Canada stretching back to 1967, when the country first hosted a round of the World Championship. For the first ten years, the race was held at Mosport Park in Ontario (8 races) and Circuit Mont-Tremblant (2 races), before safety concerns saw the event move in 1978 to it’s current home on a man-made island in the St Lawrence river in Montreal. Originally called the Île Notre-Dame Circuit after the island on which it is located, the track was renamed in 1982 after the tragic death of home-grown hero Gilles Villenueve, who won the inaugural 1978 race at the circuit in a Ferrari.
Canadian Grand Prix – did you know?
- Michael Schumacher holds the record for the greatest number of wins at Circuit Gilles Villenueve. He won seven times between 1994-2004. Lewis Hamilton is not far behind now with six wins, including the last three races.
- Riccardo Paletti, in only his second F1 race, was killed at the start of the 1982 race when he crashed into the Ferrari of pole-sitter Didier Peroni, who had stalled when the race got underway. Paletti’s death came only five weeks after Gilles Villeneuve had perished during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix and was the last death during an F1 race until Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994.
- Jean Alesi scored the only win of his 202 race career at the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix.
- Jacques Villeneuve, Canada’s only Formula 1 world champion (1997), never won the Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix at the circuit named after his father. His best result was 2nd on debut in 1996.
- The 2000 race was unique in that it was the first time two brothers finished 1st and 2nd in an F1 race. Ralf Schumacher won and Michael followed him home.
- Robert Kubica took the first ever F1 victory by a Polish driver in the 2008 race, a year after he had survived a horrendous accident at the circuit.
- Jensen Button won an action-packed race in 2011 after passing Sebastian Vettel on the final lap. The race had five safety car periods and a 2 hour delay due to to heavy rain.
- The last corner at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (turn 13) is a tricky chicane which leads on to the start-finish straight. It has become known as the Wall of Champions due to the number of F1 greats it has caught out over the years. The list of drivers to have had accidents at turn 13 includes Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve, Jensen Button and Sebastian Vettel. In March 2017, it was announced that the wall would undergo modifications ahead of the next race, as it was deemed too dangerous for the new design of F1 cars.
Canadian Grand Prix Facts
Circuit Name: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
First race: 1978
Track Length: 4.361km (13 turns)
Race Distance: 70 laps (305.27 km)
Lap Record: 1:13.622, Rubens Barichello, (Ferrari, 2004)
1st Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:33:05.154
2nd Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +19.783s
3rd Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bul) +35.297s