Four-and-a-half decades ago, the city of Montreal dumped 15 million tonnes of rock into the St Lawrence Seaway to create the Ile Notre Dame. On the evidence of today, the efforts of the people of Quebec were in vain as relentless rain drenched the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and blurred the distinction between land and water to the point where Formula 1 aerodynamicists must have considered adapting their skills to hydrodynamics. But for all that, the F1 circus was universally delighted to be back in Canada and very grateful for the city deciding that a good use for the rubble excavated to create the Montreal Metro would be to build an island.
This is the first time that F1 has set foot in North America for two years, the longest gap between world championship events since the whole thing started back in 1950. While those points-paying Indianapolis 500s of the first 11 world championship seasons were literally pointless as far as the European drivers were concerned, any sporting competition worth its salt needs to run on these shores. That's why everyone is so pleased to be back, unless, of course, it's that downtown Montreal is one of the most pleasant places to while away the off-duty hours on the F1 calendar?
A less enjoyable way to pass the time is being grilled about Red Bullageddon, or certainly it is if you are Sebastian Vettel. Team-mate Mark Webber dealt with the questions with his usual laid-back equanimity, while Vettel found his task a little harder. It's difficult not to feel sorry for him as, for the first time in his F1 career, he has felt the gaze of negative publicity. It's particularly harsh, as although most believe that he triggered the accident, his error was a small one with big consequences.
"What happened, happened so there's not much more to say," was Vettel's attempt to move the media off the subject, but unfortunately he once again emerged looking somewhat shady.
In some ways, he could end up being the victim of the fallout of Turkey by being unfairly cast as the bad guy, not least because of Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko's comments after the race that directed the blame towards the Webber side of the garage. Some likened his performance to Michael Schumacher at his 'mea never culpa' best, and he seemed very un-Vettel like. As far as his championship chances are concerned, how he is able to bounce back from this controversy could be key.
Lewis Hamilton in Montreal © Sutton
Talking of bouncing back from adversity, Lewis Hamilton's terrible blunder in the Canadian Grand Prix of 2008 was inevitably raised. All credit to the McLaren driver for continuing to play down the magnitude of the absent-minded moment when he drove into the back of Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari's at the red light governing the pitlane exit.
"It was just a small mess-up and everyone makes mistakes," he said. "I don't really remember too much from that year at the moment, so I'm sure I've had much, much lower points in my career. It was one of those experiences that you learn from."
With the old 'paying attention when approaching traffic lights' lesson duly learned, Hamilton did more than make up for his mistake by becoming the youngest-ever world champion a few months later. Vettel could certainly learn from that, as he too guns to become the most youthful world champion in the 60-year history of the sport.
Just as that Canada error was one of the key moments of Hamilton's title campaign, rather than the defining moment, it's hard to see the Red Bull mutual annihilation act being anything other than one of the watershed moments of the season. With McLaren coming on strong, whether Vettel again has to give best to Webber on raw pace in Montreal could have a major say in the destiny of the championship. Like Hamilton, Vettel and Webber both need face a challenge to prevent that becoming the image of their respective seasons.
And to make matters worse, rain is forecast for Sunday...
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