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  • Writer's pictureBen Waterworth

Canadian Grand Prix talking points: Magnificent Montreal delivers again

Once again Montreal has delivered a great race as we say au revoir to another fantastic Canadian Grand Prix.

In what was the best race of the season so far, we saw plenty of action, plenty of drama and plenty of talking points.

Let’s get to them.

O Canada indeed, as 4am start is very much worth it

It may come as no surprise to those who read my talking points on a regular basis that I absolutely love the Canadian Grand Prix.

To me it’s the best race of the season, and it’s also the best race I’ve ever had the privilege of attending in person.

Very rarely does the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve deliver a dud race, and that was evident once again in 2024 with mixed weather conditions, plenty of overtaking, lead changes and safety car periods to make the 4am wake up for us Aussies worth it.

(Photo by Autoblog)

Yes I defended Monaco a fortnight ago despite a processional race.

Yes, F1 isn’t always action and excitement. But when you do get it, which you often do in Montreal, it makes for a great spectacle and reminds us of all of all the levels of thrills we can get from the sport we love.

The Canadian Grand Prix was by far the best race of the season so far, and showcased why once again it is one of the best races every year.

Red Bull wins the unwinnable, McLaren score the unscorable

Red Bull winning a race and McLaren scoring a bunch of points isn’t exactly new in 2024.

However, in Montreal it was a bit of anomaly.

Red Bull came into Canada with low expectations after the struggles in Monaco. Another bumpy street circuit was not expected to suit the RB20 and many in the team were downplaying their chances.

But Max Verstappen was always going to do what he does best, and he did that in spades with his strong qualifying on Saturday before a controlled and measured drive through tricky circumstances on Sunday to claim the win.

For McLaren it was a different set of obstacles.

Amazingly, Montreal was a circuit in which the team hadn’t scored a single point at in a decade. They easily banished those demons in 2024 with Lando Norris unlucky not to win the race but claiming second, and Oscar Piastri finishing fifth.

It showcased once again how far the team has come across the last ten years and why they continue to be a genuine threat for race wins each weekend.

(Photo by Getty Images)

Villeneuve v Ricciardo in the battle we didn’t know we needed

A curious battle emerged during the Montreal weekend and that was between 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve and Aussie star Daniel Ricciardo.

Villeneuve, who was doing punditry for SkySportsF1 in the UK, questioned what Ricciardo was still doing in F1 after several lean years and suggested if he couldn’t cut it any more then he should give his seat up to someone else.

Ricciardo promptly delivered his best qualifying of the season by lining up fifth on the grid, before telling Villeneuve to “eat s–t” in his post-qualifying press interview when asked about the comments.

It didn’t end there however, with Villeneuve doubling down on his comments and saying one good performance doesn’t change recent form, and also questioning Ricciardo’s comments in response to his and whether children who admire him should be witness to such behaviour.

It was a bit of fun to witness across the weekend, with the ever outspoken Villeneuve and the popular Aussie giving us a grudge match we didn’t realise we were craving.

However, can we be honest here and say that Villeneuve isn’t wrong?

As much as all us Aussies, and pretty much every F1 fan, love and adore Dan, it’s hard to defend his form over the last couple of years.

Since his glory days with Red Bull, there has been little to suggest that the will ever reach those storied heights once again.

(Photo by Getty Images)

So while it sucks to hear the truth told against a beloved figure, sometimes it needs to be heard and spoken about in order to create change.

In the case of Montreal 2024, it worked. Let’s hope that spark that seemingly came from a bit of a Villeneuve ass-kicking continues for Ricciardo moving forward.

Silly season merry-go-round gets more interesting

Esteban Ocon has been dumped by Alpine, leaving a free seat in 2025. Sergio Perez has been re-signed by Red Bull for a year with an option for a second. Yuki Tsunoda has been kept by RB for another season.

Three more moves in the 2025 silly season have happened, and once again it makes things very interesting for the remainder of the grid.

The Ocon firing isn’t overly surprising. There was no way Alpine was going to stick with both Ocon and Pierre Gasly moving forward, and it was always more likely that Ocon was the one that was going to get the flick.

This now leaves the door wide open for Aussie Jack Doohan to get that spot, and he is the strong favourite to be announced soon as Gasly’s teammate for 2025.

Ocon though could be without a seat for 2025, as his options look very, very limited.

The Perez re-signing was more surprising for the length, given it was initially announced as a two-year deal, before being clarified at a one-year deal with an option on a second.

What however is surprising is that Perez has been woeful in the last few rounds, meaning that this move could have been premature by Red Bull as the pressure does continue to pile on the Mexican driver.

Tsunoda’s signing is and isn’t a surprise. It’s not a surprise given how well he has been driving in 2025, but it is a surprise given that the whispers were he was set to sign with Haas to get out of the Red Bull family after the door closed to him on the senior team with the re-signing of Perez.

However, if Perez continues to falter, who knows what could happen.

While all that has happened, Carlos Sainz now still is the hottest property without a seat.

All talk seems to be on him going to Williams instead of Kick Sauber, which would be somewhat surprising given we know who Kick Sauber are turning into in 2026.

This comes off the back of Mercedes all but confirming that Kimi Antonelli is set to join George Russell in 2025 and that they aren’t looking at Sainz anymore.

So much intrigue still to come for the 2025 grid. Watch this space.

Don’t get too excited about 2026

So we’ve finally gotten a taste of what we’re set to see with the new regulations in 2026.

As per usual, we’re sold on the usual promise of “closer racing” and “more overtaking” when it comes to F1’s latest attempt to change the pecking order.

But as is always the case, it’s something that really isn’t that exciting. Because this is where we always find ourselves every few years in the one sport in the world that changes its rules and regulations more than it does its underwear.

Case in point let me take you back to October 2019, when the regulation changes for 2021 (which were ultimately delayed a year due to COVID) were announced.

In my talking points column after they were released, I wrote: “It’s great for the sport to get a kick every couple of years to change things up, but think about what we want versus what will happen when it comes to getting your hopes up completely”.

Fast forward now into our third year of the regulation change, and that’s exactly where we’re at, fresh off the back of the most dominant F1 season of all time with changes that really haven’t done what they were anticipated to do.

As is always the case with any regulation change, a few years pass and then the teams get used to them and we finally start to see some closer racing before things change up again in a way that will no doubt see one team get ahead of everyone else.

They’ll dominate for a season or two before parity comes back into play and a new set of regulations are introduced.

Thus the cycle of F1 life continues.

So while yay, shiny new things for 2026 to look forward to, get ready for the usual complaints coming from everyone by the end of 2026 as we start to then dream of what is possible in 2030 and beyond.

This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here


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