F1 title photo, Hamilton’s Montreal exploits make 2022 Canadian GP a hot ticket

Lewis Hamilton started from pole position and was never really challenged on his way to a dominant victory in the Qatar Grand Prix two weeks ago.

It was Hamilton’s second consecutive victory and the 102nd of his career. But things haven’t been so easy for F1’s biggest star as he seeks his fifth consecutive driver’s championship.

In fact, Max Verstappen could have clinched the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix title on Sunday with a win and poor performance from Hamilton, but the Mercedes passed Red Bull with six laps to go and never looked back for win under the lights.

After the dust settled, Hamilton and Verstappen were tied for the lead with 369.5 points.

“I love him. I love the close battle, the pressure and the demands it places on you and the whole team. I really enjoyed it,” Hamilton said two weeks ago of his battle with Verstappen.

This means that the title will go to the last race of the season next week at Yas Marina during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Verstappen won last year, but Hamilton won the previous two.

Whether or not Hamilton wins this year’s title, he’s still had more wins than any driver in F1 history. And it has never been as good as in Montreal.

The last time the Canadian Grand Prix was held in 2019, it was Hamilton who claimed the victory. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel crossed the finish line first, but was fined five seconds for “dangerous re-entry”, giving the Englishman his seventh career victory at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit and putting him in a tie with the legendary Michael Schumacher for the most all the time.

Hamilton has won 58 percent of his Canadian Grand Prix starts, his highest percentage of any track on the F1 circuit.

This is not new either. He has been successful in Montreal his entire career.

After an impressive 2006 GP2 Series season, Hamilton was announced as McLaren’s partner for defending F1 champion Fernando Alonso. But he quickly showed that he was not there to be Alonso’s sidekick. The 22-year-old recorded podiums in each of his first five races and by the time the grid reached Montreal for race No.6 of the season he was tied with Alonso for the top of the drivers’ standings.

Hamilton landed the first pole position of his career and kept that momentum going the next day with his debut F1 victory, taking an eight-point lead in the title race.

“I’m having a fantastic day, it’s historic”, Hamilton said after his first victory. “I was trying to control myself on the last lap. I just wanted to stop the car and jump.

Ten years and three F1 titles later in 2017, Hamilton once again won Montreal – his third consecutive Canadian GP – and took the time to reflect on where it all began.

“It has always been a special place for me,” said Hamilton. “It’s crazy to think after 10 years that I like to run every lap like I did 10 years ago.”

It makes sense given the history of the race.

Originally held at Mosport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, the Canadian Grand Prix finally settled in Montreal in 1978 and took refuge on Île Notre-Dame, just east of downtown from the city. Called Circuit de l’Île Notre-Dame until 1982, the track quickly became a mainstay of the F1 calendar and offered some end-to-end finishes over the years.

With international travel and large public gatherings drastically reduced due to COVID-19, the race has been called off in 2020 and 2021. But fear not the racing fans. Not only does the Canadian GP return to Montreal in 2022 on June 19, but it remains much longer as an agreement has been reached to keep the race on the Gilles Villeneuve circuit until 2031.

Bell signed an agreement earlier this year to buy the race promoter, Octane Racing Group Inc., which will allow the Canadian telecommunications leader to bring financial stability to the race.

To make things even more exciting, now is your chance to get your tickets as F1 returns to Canada for the first time in three years. There’s a lot at stake as Hamilton seeks his record-breaking eighth Canadian GP title while Canadians Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi seek their first career F1 wins. And what better place to do it than with us?

Visit gpcanada.ca for details on the different ticket packages, general admission and grandstand options.

Please note that in the event of new restrictions on the number of spectators allowed to attend, priority will be given to ticket holders who have chosen to keep their tickets for the 2020 edition.

Jack C. Nugent