GPR Awards – 2022 Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen dominated yet again in 2022 by taking victory at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. With Carlos Sainz Jr. providing some last-minute pressure, an otherwise uneventful race had enough action in it to simmer over nicely. However, much of that late-race action was caused by a new favourite moment in the Grand Prix Rejects canon…

Yuki Tsunoda’s disastrous pit exit takes Reject of the Race by default!

It was a once in a generation performance from Yuki Tsunoda on Sunday. The Japanese driver’s standing has been increasing ever since his unrejectification in Abu Dhabi, and he seems to be growing in confidence and competence as the races go by. With that in mind, it’s good to know we can still rely on him for the occasional reject gold.

In what will go down, I’m already sure, as the greatest highlight of the Japanese driver’s career, Yuki blazed out of the pits to take the best track position possible on lap 48. It was coming towards the end of the race and the pitstops were proving crucial for drivers to avoid traffic, which was a big issue around Montreal this year. With no intention of losing any time, Tsunoda completely misjudged the corner, and more importantly the temperature of his tyres, and went straight ahead at the pit exit complex.

“And out of the pitlane ARGH! My goodness, Yuki Tsunoda smashes himself out of the Canadian – I have never seen that before!” (Photo: Charniaux / XPB Images)

The crash was absolutely comical and won him Reject of the Race straight away with no vote required. Not only was it the stuff of classic rejectdom (bringing to mind when David Coulthard hit the pitlane entrance at Adelaide in 1995 – from the lead no less…), but it nearly cost his sister team the win. With Sergio Perez suffering an early mechanical DNF, Verstappen was the only Red Bull runner out there. The Dutchman seemed to have everything under control in spite of a change of pit strategy brought about by early retirements, but Tsunoda’s crashed changed everything. Now, with fresher tyres by six laps, Sainz was bunched up behind the leader and gave him a lot of trouble for the final fifteen laps. Had Sainz actually overtaken and won, it would have been fairly easy to point the finger at Yuki for double trouble. As it is, he’s off the hook at least – but not from winning our award!

Although the incident overshadowed much else, there were other blemishes of rejectdom scattered about the weekend. While some expressed disappointment about the inevitable dropping of Fernando Alonso (and a hare-brained tyre strategy) from his first front row in a decade, an even more conspicuous drop hit the Haas drivers. Starting on the third row, their run in the wet on Saturday had done wonders for their hopes in the race, yet it all came to nothing by the end of the race. Mick Schumacher, who was on his best grid spot by a mile, had an engine blow-up early on while Magnussen was involved in another first lap incident with his seemingly new nemesis Lewis Hamilton, which damaged his front wing enough to warrant a black and orange flag from Race Control. Haas’ brains trust then decided the best way to recover was to leave Magnussen on track for the rest of the race on ancient tyres, which left the Dane a sitting duck after the safety car came in. A shambles of a day for Haas, successfully managing to convert their third-row start to  a last place finish and DNF.

This week in H.A.A.S. (Photo: Haas F1 on Twitter)

One team who didn’t necessarily go backwards, but simply didn’t go anywhere at all, was McLaren. At least that was the situation for their drivers when the team double-stacked at the second virtual safety car. The crew were simply not prepared enough for one stop, never mind two, as was shown by Daniel Ricciardo’s mighty 6.3 second stop to begin with. The tyres weren’t ready for his, and when Lando Norris followed in behind, the correct tyres were on the wrong side of his car, and mechanics had to swap sides to get it all done as quickly as possible. Quick it wasn’t, however: Norris’s own stop was a titanic 19 seconds, and neither McLaren was to be seen anywhere relevant for the rest of the afternoon.

For his best finish yet, Zhou Guanyu gets the Infinite Improbability Drive of the Race award in Canada

In what is probably the least reliable car on the grid, Guanyu Zhou has been a dependable hand in Formula 1, although the aforementioned reliability has perhaps masked the occasional possible points result. It was therefore a bit of good news to see him get to Q3 entirely on his own pace and ahead of his illustrious teammate Valtteri Bottas. However, unlike many of the race’s rejects, he was not to be pushed backwards on Sunday. Alfa Romeo were able to keep both cars running and to avoid any of the more ludicrous tyre strategies. They effectively kept on top of a changing race, and even inherited extra points after Fernando Alonso was penalised post-race for weaving. And for the Chinese driver, a personal best on Saturday and on Sunday were a welcome change of fortune.

After weeks of strife, the gods of fortune finally shined on Zhou.

One of the few drivers who actually progressed on Sunday was Lance Stroll. After getting a scathing review in our previous race report, he bounced back from a dreadful Q1 performance in Canada. In front of his home crowd, he was able to save tyres far better than his direct rivals, and it allowed him to work his way through the pack all of Sunday, with another precious point earned for Aston Martin. It was a skilled performance that reminds us just how good he can be on eggshells. More of that please, Lance.

Full Results

NOTE: Reject of the Race was awarded to Yuki Tsunoda without vote, due to the overwhelming factors in his favour to win the award.

Zhou Guanyu 11 (69%)
Lance Stroll 6 (31%)
Number of votes: 17

Disclaimer: The ROTR and IIDOTR awards are purely for fun purposes.

The IIDOTR is a democratically-decided award, based on the assumption that, at any moment in time, there is a non-zero probability that even the slowest, most inexperienced and least reliable of underdogs might win the race. That under every rock, there might be a gold nugget. This is the award for that first podium that we all celebrate, for the overtake no-one was expecting, for the underdog’s first win. This is the award, in short, for the driver or team that makes you go “Woah! Where did THAT come from?!”.

The ROTR is a medal of dishonour that celebrates the most noteworthy failure of a Grand Prix weekend, based on expectations heading into the weekend and general performance. That one brainfade, the silliest mistake or the most patent nonsense going on, all that is what being the ROTR is all about.

2022 Grand Prix Rejects Awards
2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
2022 Australian Grand Prix
2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix
2022 Miami Grand Prix
2022 Spanish Grand Prix
2022 Monaco Grand Prix
2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix