Due to the restrictions brought about by the pandemic, the F1 circus wasn't able to race in the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for two years. Together with the Australian Grand Prix, the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix is one of the returning venues in the Formula One calendar this year.
One of the main storylines heading to the Grand Prix was about the championship frontrunners, Ferrari and Red Bull. And indeed, the two teams dueled for the win on Sunday, with Max Verstappen finishing ahead of Carlos Sainz.
But as interesting as the race may be, the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix weekend was more highlighted by the throwback performances from Formula One's most experienced drivers, and here's why:
Fernando Alonso's wet-weather prowess
Formula One drivers can still learn a thing or two about the most experienced driver on the grid. Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso showed he's still one of the best drivers in the sport by showing up in the most difficult conditions in Montreal.
At the rain-hit third practice session, the 41-year-old Alonso danced his way to top the standings going into qualifying. And as the track started to dry, the Spaniard still was able to make a valiant effort to put his Alpine in the front row of the grid to start 2nd.
It was Alonso's first front row start in 10 years. And although the dry race meant he could only finish 7th (9th due to penalties), he proved he was “Maverick” in a sea of young Top Gun pilots in the wet.
Haas: Shine in the wet, gloom in the dry
Apart from Fernando Alonso, the Haas F1 team also impressed in the wet qualifying. Kevin Magnussen lined up 5th, while Mick Schumacher had his best qualifying in 6th.
However, their fortunes quickly took a turn for the worse in the race. K-Mag damaged his front wing which forced him to an early stop, while Schumacher Jr. retired with a power unit issue.
Ferrari getting back in the groove
After a double retirement in Baku, Ferrari needed a strong result in Montreal to get their season back on track. And indeed, they somehow made it happen.
Charles Leclerc had to start from the back of the grid due to his power unit penalty, but he managed to finish 5th. On the other hand, Carlos Sainz found his inner “smooth operator” by finishing 2nd and matched Max Verstappen's pace throughout the race. Sainz looked to challenge Verstappen for the win by having fresher tires towards the end, but the Red Bull was simply too quick in a straight line for Sainz to attempt an overtake.
Ferrari was still having operational errors when it comes to pit stops, but at least in Montreal, they were able to bring both cars home and score valuable points in the championship.
Lewis Hamilton's back.... on the podium
After experiencing serious back pain at the previous race in Baku, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton bounced his way to a podium finish in Montreal.
Hamilton appeared to have another weekend to forget, as the first three practice sessions only landed him 8th, 13th, and 15th on the leaderboard. But as rapidly changing conditions happened in qualifying, the Briton showed his wealth of experience to line up on the grid 4th.
It's the first time in quite a while that Lewis Hamilton has come out on top of his teammate George Russell, plus the W13 proved to be the third-best car in the race. Mercedes has made good progress in Canada, and it would be great if they could carry that momentum heading to their drivers' home race at Silverstone.
2022 F1: A reliability roulette?
We're 9 races into the 2022 F1 season. And so far, there have been very few races where we've seen a straight fight between Ferrari and Red Bull. The reason? One of the two teams always runs into reliability issues.
In the first few races, it was Max Verstappen. After that, Carlos Sainz ran into bad luck. Most recently, it was Charles Leclerc having issues with his Ferrari. And now in Canada, the unreliability bug has bitten Sergio Perez, who was coming off a string of solid form following his win in Monaco. This allowed Ferrari to catch up to Red Bull in the manufacturer's standings, but Verstappen continues to extend his lead at the driver's championship as Leclerc could only finish 5th.
Now that F1 is nearing its halfway point, do you think reliability would ultimately be the title decider at the end? Let us know in the comments.