Grand Prix fans in Montreal react to ‘one of the best races we’ve ever seen’

“It was nuts,” said Ian Toubin, an F1 fan, watching the gripping 2024 Canadian Grand Prix at the Peel Pub in downtown Montreal, that saw several lead changes and battles for top spots during the race. Gareth Madoc-Jones reports.

Formula One racing fans were treated to an exciting Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday, filled with volatile weather, an array of different team strategies, and position swapping right to the finish.

But in the end the result was the same: a win for Red Bull and Max Verstappen – his third in a row on Canadian soil.

READ: Verstappen holds off Norris to win third straight Canadian Grand Prix

F1 fans watching from Peel Pub in downtown Montreal – just a few metro stops away from Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – were kept on the edge of their seats.

“I think it was little touch and go there,” said Jake Beisker, a Verstappen fan from Washington, D.C. “With the rain, it was a little rough conditions. But I think it got better towards the end and yeah, he pulled through.”

It clearly wasn’t the usual smooth sailing for Verstappen, who started second and benefited from a safety car after a Logan Sargeant crash on lap 26. The Dutchman lost the lead on lap 46 when he pitted, narrowly regaining it three laps later when he squeezed past Lando Norris coming out of the pit lane.

While under pressure, the three-time reigning champion hung on to the top spot the rest of the way.

“I gotta say it: for once, it was a lucky one for Verstappen,” admitted Verstappen fan Jean-François Martin.

Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen, of the Netherlands, celebrates after winning the Canadian Grand Prix Formula 1 car race, in Montreal, Sunday, June 9, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi

McLaren’s Norris and George Russell of Mercedes finished second and third to round out the podium. Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time Canadian GP winner, finished fourth after a late push when he briefly grabbed third.

Although the McLaren driver did not secure a win, Norris fan Kevin Cox called it “one of the best races we’ve ever seen.”

“We don’t see that much fighting at the top,” Cox said, referring to the podium battle between Verstappen, Norris, Russell and Hamilton.

“It’s cool to see a couple safety cars, mix up the race, change the conditions, made it really interesting.”

Added Russell fan Ian Toubin: “It was nuts. I mean, we don’t normally get that action.”

Montreal’s Lance Stroll ranked seventh for his best result on his home track.

“We saw a really messy, dirty race out there,” said Stroll fan Melysa Torrey. “A lot of people having a lot of trouble. So good to see him staying clean, no trouble. Got some great points.”

“I think people who counted on him got what they wanted today,” added Yonal of the hometown driver.

Formula One fans watch the Canadian Grand Prix from Peel Pub in downtown Montreal on June 9, 2024. (Emma Megelas, CityNews)

‘Formula One community’

Fans at Peel Pub may not have been at the racetrack on Sunday, but they were happy to enjoy the yearly event surrounded by fellow enthusiasts of the sport.

“It’s all for the experience, the crowd,” said Beisker. “We went for practice and qualifying, but we wanted to be in a pub for the race. And yeah, it’s a good decision.”

“It’s great energy around here to just sit around, have a giant pitcher of beer and just enjoy watching the race with all these people,” said Cox.

“It’s all about community,” added Torrey. “Being a part of the Formula One community and having everyone rallying around the sport together. You’re not sitting at home watching the race by yourself. You get to have fun, see everybody else having fun. It’s just a great time.”

Formula One fans watch the Canadian Grand Prix from Peel Pub in downtown Montreal on June 9, 2024. (Emma Megelas, CityNews)

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