The Silver Arrows may have only been coming to Canada since 2010, but the team sure has packed the full range of memories and emotions into those seven years, from the highest of highs, to the bitterest lows.
The longest ever Formula 1 race
If the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix ultimately proved to be a low-key Montreal debut for the Silver Arrows - Nico came home in sixth after a strong run, while Michael was P11, just outside the points after a puncture - then the 2011 race made up for it, proving to be an absolute thriller.
A classic Grand Prix, the four-hour event went down in the history books as the longest ever Formula 1 race. Most people remember it now for Jenson Button’s last-lap pass on Vettel for the win, but for us, it was the race when Michael oh so nearly scored his elusive first Silver Arrows podium. A superb drive in the appalling conditions, plus a spot on strategy call from the pit wall, had Michael running in P2 into the closing laps. But ultimately it wasn’t to be, as the seven-time World Champion was swamped by Button and Webber - with a hand from the DRS - pushing him back to fourth at the flag. It was a case of so near, yet so far and Michael would have to wait ‘till Valencia the following year for that first Silver Arrows podium.
Lewis claims the Silver Arrows’ first piece of silverware
After a strong showing in 2011, the visit to Montreal in 2012 was a tough one for the boys in silver, with Nico taking home the points in sixth, but Michael experiencing a luckless weekend, culminating in a DRS failure that forced him out of the race. The trip back a year later was much more enjoyable though, as Lewis came home in P3 to claim the Silver Arrows’ first piece of silverware at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve - and his third podium finish in only his first year with the team.
After a strong showing in 2013 and a superb start to the new hybrid turbo era, the Silver Arrows arrived in Montreal in 2014 on a high. Lewis kicked off the weekend by taking the team’s first pole in Canada on Saturday. But that first Canadian Grand Prix win would have to wait, as a double MGU-K failure on both cars forced Lewis out of the race with overheating rear brakes and dropped Nico to P2 - handing Daniel Ricciardo an unlikely maiden F1 win. Running 160hp light to his rivals, it was a huge effort that Nico even managed to finish the race, let alone finish on the rostrum!
The team’s first one-two finish in Canada
After the bitter disappointment of 2014, the team hit back in style in Canada in 2015, with Lewis dominating the weekend, taking both pole and the race victory - the team’s first win in Montreal! It was Lewis’ fourth triumph at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and saw him supersede Nigel Mansell as the Briton to have led the most race laps in Formula 1. After a nip and tuck chase with his team-mate, Nico capped off an excellent weekend for the Silver Arrows in P2, to complete the team’s first one-two finish in Canada.
Winning in 2016 though was not quite so straightforward, with Vettel’s Ferrari jumping both of our boys on the short run down to Turn 1. Lewis jumped the red car in the pits, but Sebastian was on the quicker tyre for the final stint and it seemed like the winner’s trophy was destined for the Maranello trophy cabinet... only Lewis didn’t get the memo, holding off the Ferrari to take his 45th F1 win - and his fifth in Canada - dedicating his victory to the great Muhammed Ali. It proved to be a tougher race for the World Champion to be, as Nico recovered to finish P5 after a trip across the grass at Turn 1 on the opening lap, as well as suffering a late puncture.
Two wins, a long-awaited one-two and one aching near miss... Canada will forever hold a special place in the history of the Silver Arrows.