Canadian GP 2024: Top drivers winning their first Grand Prix in Montreal

Check out the historic moments of the Canadian Grand Prix and the top drivers who clinched their maiden Formula 1 victories at the Canadian GP in Montreal.

Shubham Shekhar
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First wins at Canadian GP

Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo (Source: X)

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Canada has proven to be a lucky charm for many drivers seeking their maiden Grand Prix victory. Since its debut on the Formula 1 calendar in 1967, the Canadian Grand Prix has seen six drivers achieve their first career win. 

Initially alternating between Mont-Tremblant and Mosport, the event found its permanent home at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 1978. Here, we celebrate the drivers who claimed their first F1 triumph on Canadian soil.

6. Gilles Villeneuve - 1978

Gilles Villeneuve - 1978

Gilles Villeneuve would be 67 years old today, and his legendary driving style remains unforgettable. Known for his bravado, fearlessness, and extraordinary skill, Villeneuve's first Grand Prix win came at the 1978 Canadian Grand Prix, the season finale. 

Despite Ferrari's unreliability throughout the year, Villeneuve aimed to secure his first victory. Starting from P3 on a cold but dry race day, he initially drove conservatively. After overtaking Jody Scheckter on lap 24, Villeneuve benefited from Jean-Pierre Jarier's misfortune when the Lotus driver retired due to a cracked oil cooler. This saw him winning the race at his home track and being first Canadian to do so. 

5. Thierry Boutsen - 1989

Thierry Boutsen - 1989

Thierry Boutsen achieved his first Grand Prix win at the 1989 Canadian Grand Prix, following in the footsteps of his idol, Jacky Ickx. The race, characterized by rain and unpredictable conditions, saw Boutsen start from sixth on the grid in his Williams FW13. 

As drivers struggled with tyre choices amid the wet conditions, Boutsen's teammate, Riccardo Patrese, initially led. However, Patrese's car issues allowed Boutsen to move into second place. The race took another dramatic turn when Ayrton Senna's engine failed while he was leading, allowing Boutsen to seize the opportunity and secure his maiden F1 victory amidst the chaos.

4. Jean Alesi - 1995

Jean Alesi - 1995

Jean Alesi’s first and only Formula 1 win came at the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix, marking a momentous occasion in his career. The Frenchman, who debuted with Tyrrell in 1989 and impressed with a fourth-place finish in his first race, took 91 races to finally claim victory. Driving for Ferrari since 1991, Alesi had faced numerous challenges with uncompetitive machinery and bad luck. 

However, his persistence paid off in Montreal. He started fifth, moved up to second, and eventually took the lead after Michael Schumacher encountered gearbox issues. Overwhelmed with emotion, Alesi admitted his tears blurred his vision, but he held on to win, delighting fans and celebrating his 31st birthday with a memorable victory.

3.  Lewis Hamilton - 2007

Lewis Hamilton -2007

Lewis Hamilton made a sensational impact in 2007 with McLaren, joining forces with two-time world champion Fernando Alonso. Although initially seen as a gifted yet inexperienced understudy to Alonso, Hamilton quickly established himself as a formidable competitor. 

The Canadian Grand Prix, the sixth race of the season, marked Hamilton's breakthrough. He secured pole position and despite challenges, including multiple safety car periods, Hamilton maintained his lead. He crossed the finish line four seconds ahead of Nick Heidfeld, earning his maiden Grand Prix victory.

2. Robert Kubica - 2008

Robert Kubica - 2008

In 2008, one year after a horrific crash in Montreal, Robert Kubica overcame adversity to claim his maiden F1 win at the Canadian Grand Prix. Poland's first Formula 1 driver demonstrated impressive speed and consistency throughout the season, silencing early critics. Race day in Montreal was fraught with concerns over the patched-up track, yet Kubica remained focused. 

Starting second, he seized his opportunity after a chaotic pit lane incident involving Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen. With both rivals out, Kubica navigated the degrading track conditions skillfully, taking the lead on lap 42. His victory not only thrilled fans, including many Poles but also marked the first non-Ferrari or McLaren win since 2006, propelling him to the top of the drivers' standings.

1. Daniel Ricciardo – 2014

Daniel Ricciardo - 2014

June 8, 2014, marked a historic moment for Daniel Ricciardo as he clinched his maiden Grand Prix victory against all odds. In a race filled with thrilling drama, the Australian driver showcased his talent amidst the dominance of Mercedes. With Lewis Hamilton sidelined due to a brake failure and his teammate Nico Rosberg facing electrical issues near the end, Ricciardo seized the opportunity. 

Despite challenges from Sergio Perez's Force India and Rosberg's Mercedes, Ricciardo's relentless pursuit paid off. With just three laps to go, he made a daring move to overtake Rosberg and claimed the win to the delight of the crowd. Ricciardo's victory at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was met with widespread acclaim, leaving him smiling for weeks to come.

Formula 1 Lewis Hamilton Canadian GP