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Formula 1: Top five most iconic moments in Canadian GP history

Published at :June 17, 2023 at 3:22 AM
Modified at :June 27, 2023 at 7:11 AM
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Anurag Kanjani

The circuit has provided some of the sport's most memorable moments.

The Canadian Grand Prix has a rich history in Formula 1, dating back to its inaugural race in 1967. Over the years, the event has witnessed numerous iconic moments that have left a lasting impact on the sport and its fans. Here are five of the most memorable and iconic moments in the history of the Canadian GP:

5. Gilles Villeneuve's First Win (1978)

Gilles Villeneuve
Gilles Villeneuve won his first-ever Formula 1 race at the Canadian GP (Courtesy: GRAND PRIX 247)

One of the most beloved figures in Canadian motorsport, Gilles Villeneuve, captured his first Formula 1 victory at the 1978 Canadian GP. Driving for Ferrari, Villeneuve put on a mesmerizing performance on his home soil.

Despite challenging weather conditions and a broken gear linkage, he held off fierce competition from rivals to take the checkered flag. Villeneuve's triumph marked the beginning of a remarkable career that would see him become a legendary figure in Formula 1, also making the track named after him.

4. Nigel Mansell’s surprising last-lap confusion (1991)

As the old adage goes, never celebrate too early (Credit:

In the gripping 1991 Formula 1 Canadian GP, Nigel Mansell, the renowned British driver, provided a moment of intense drama when he celebrated prematurely. The incident unfolded in the closing stages of the race, leaving fans on the edge of their seats. Mansell, driving for Williams-Renault, had been leading the race comfortably, However, as the final lap approached, Mansell mistakenly believed that he had already crossed the finish line and began waving to the crowd in celebration.

Unbeknownst to Mansell, his rival Nelson Piquet, was rapidly closing in on him. Taking advantage of Mansell's momentary lapse in focus, he swiftly overtook him, seizing the lead just before the actual finish line.

While the celebration-turned-defeat was undoubtedly a devastating moment for Mansell, it serves as a testament to the unpredictable and thrilling nature of Formula 1 racing.

3. Michael Schumacher's in Wall of Champions! (1999)

That famous final chicane at it again! (Credit: Marca)

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is notorious for its final chicane, known as the "Wall of Champions." In the 1999 Canadian Grand Prix, this corner lived up to its name as it claimed multiple victims, including three former World Champions: Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve, and Michael Schumacher.

As the race neared its conclusion, Schumacher, leading comfortably, misjudged the corner and slammed into the wall, forcing him to retire. The incident showcased the unforgiving nature of the circuit and reminded everyone, even the greatest drivers, of its challenges.

2. Lewis Hamilton’s Iconic Crash (2008)

Utter chaos in the pitlane (Credit:

In the thrilling 2008 Formula 1 Canadian GP, the incident occurred during a safety car period, adding to the drama of the race. As Hamilton entered the pitlane for a routine pit stop, he misjudged his braking point and collided with the rear of Kimi Räikkönen's Ferrari. The impact caused significant damage to Hamilton's McLaren, with both cars momentarily stuck together. It was a tense and unexpected turn of events for the championship contender.

The incident resulted in a chaotic pitlane scene, with mechanics rushing to separate the entangled cars. Eventually, the two vehicles were freed, but Hamilton's chances of victory were shattered, and he was forced to retire from the race.

1. Jenson Button's Unforgettable Win (2011)

What a race, what a drive! (Credit: AP)

The 2011 Canadian GP is widely regarded as one of the most dramatic races in Formula 1 history. Heavy rain and multiple safety car periods added to the chaos, making the race a test of skill and endurance. McLaren's Jenson Button, who started from last place, showcased his brilliance in wet conditions.

He fought his way through the field, surviving collisions and incidents, and made a stunning late-race charge to overtake Sebastian Vettel on the final lap and secure a remarkable victory. Button's win exemplified the unpredictability and excitement that the Canadian Grand Prix is known for.

These five iconic moments in the history of the Canadian GP exemplify the drama, skill, and excitement that Formula 1 has brought to Montreal over the years. From legendary drivers securing their maiden victories to intense battles and unpredictable outcomes, the Canadian Grand Prix has consistently provided fans with unforgettable moments that have become an integral part of Formula 1 lore.