Canadian Grand Prix Fastest Lap & Lap Records

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

Red Bull Formula 1 Car at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal

Canadian GP 2019-51” by Steve Melnyk is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Canadian Grand Prix fastest lap ever is unsurprisingly set by a Formula 1 car. But which car set the lap record? Who was the driver? And what year was it?

This article provides all the details of the lap record at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, plus looks at fastest lap times from some of the other racing series that have raced on the circuit.

Contents

Race laps or qualifying laps?

For a lap record to become official it must be set during race conditions. Lap times recorded during practice or qualifying sessions don’t count as official lap records.

However, lap times set during qualifying are usually a good chunk faster than those set in a race. In qualifying the cars are setup for ultimate 1-lap pace. This means they’ve got the minimum amount of fuel onboard to help reduce weight and have brand new tyres fitted

As the drivers don’t need to worry about their tyres lasting more than their one hot lap they can also push harder than they would in a race.

So official lap records in Formula 1 are often a couple of seconds slower than the fastest ever qualifying lap.

Canadian Grand Prix lap record

The official Canadian GP Lap record is 1:13.078 set by Valtteri Bottas driving the Mercedes W10 during the 2019 race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

His lap time over the 4.36km Montreal Grand Prix circuit layout meant that his average speed over that record lap was 214.78kph / 133.46mph.

That is the official lap record, set during a race. The Canadian Grand Prix fastest lap ever recorded, however, is much faster.

Sebastian Vettel set the overall fastest ever lap at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, posting a 1:10.240 in his Ferrari SF90 F1 car to take pole position during qualifying for the 2019 Montreal Grand Prix.

The difference between the official lap record and the unofficial fastest ever lap is almost 3 seconds. That’s a huge gap and just goes to show how much variation there is in the car’s speeds between qualifying and race setups.

Can the Canadian GP fastest lap be beaten?

Sebastian Vettel’s 2019 lap time around Circuit Gilles Villeneueve is definitely beatable. The race didn’t run in 2020 or 2021 due to COVID, and the two Grand Prix that have been held since then have both had wet qualifying sessions.

With Formula 1 car performance constantly increasing we often see lap times come down. It’s unlikely there’ll be any changes made to the circuit layout, so I fully expect to see some record breaking lap times in the years to come. 

If the weather stays dry we’re definitely likely to see a new Canadian GP fastest lap time, if the drivers can stay out of the Wall of Champions.

Canadian GP fastest lap times

Below is a list of the fastest lap times over the last 10 Canadian Grand Prix, both in qualifying and during the race.

2022 and 2021 aren’t included as the race didn’t run thanks to COVID.

Year Fastest lap - Race Fastest lap - Qualifying
2023
Perez - 1:14.481 Verstappen - 1:25.858 (wet)
2022
Sainz - 1:15.749 Verstappen - 1:21.299 (wet)
2019
Bottas - 1:13.078 Vettel - 1:10.240
2018
Verstappen - 1:13.864 Vettel - 1:10.764
2017
Hamilton - 1:14.551 Hamilton - 1:11.459
2016
Rosberg - 1:15.599 Hamilton - 1:12.812
2015
Räikkönen - 1:16.987 Hamilton - 1:14.393
2014
Massa - 1:18.504 Rosberg - 1:14.874
2013
Webber - 1:16.182 Vettel - 1:15.425 (wet)
2012
Vettel - 1:15.752 Vettel - 1:13.784

As the list above shows, both the official lap record and the unofficial fastest lap ever were set in 2019. The F1 technical regulations in that year produced the fastest Formula 1 cars we’d ever seen.

Canadian Grand Prix top speed

The top speed recorded by an F1 car at the Canadian Grand Prix circuit is 343kph / 213mph by Alexander Albon driving for Williams during the 2023 race.

This speed was achieved in the second Canadian GP DRS zone whilst he was in another car’s slipstream between turns 12 and 13.

The Williams was given a very low-downforce setup for the 2023 F1 race weekend and was top of the speed traps in every session.

Other motorsport lap records at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is effectively a street circuit. The circuit that the F1 cars drive on are used as roads around Parc Jean-Drapeau for the rest of the year. Whilst there have been many Canadian GP trophies lifted here over the years, other motorsport series have competed at the track too.

The other motorsport series that get to race around the circuit are usually those that are supporting the F1 during Grand Prix weekend, or are able to race on the circuit in one of the weeks either side of the GP.

Below are some of the official lap records, all set during race conditions, for other motorsport series at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Ferrari Challenge lap record

The Ferrari Challenge has been a regular fixture as a support race for the Formula 1 at the Canadian Grand Prix for a number of years. It uses a GT3 spec Ferrari race car.

The Ferrari Challenge lap record at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is 1:37.527 set by Copper MacNeil during the 2018 race.

Canadian GP 2019-32” by Steve Melnyk is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Porsche Carrera Cup lap record

The Porsche Carrera Cup has also supported the F1 race at Montreal a number of times.

The Porsche Carrera Cup lap record at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is 1:37.828 set by Zacharie Robichon, just 3 tenths of a second slower than the Ferrari Challenge record.

Champ Car lap record

In the early 2000s Champ Car had a standalone race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, known as the Molson Indy Montreal.

Champ Car was the predecessor to Indy Car and featured higher powered single seaters. They were similar to F1 cars but had less downforce.

The Champ Car lap record at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is 1:20.840 set by Sebastien Bourdais driving a Lola B02/00 at the 2004 Molson Indy Montreal.

As a comparison the fastest Formula 1 lap of the same circuit in 2004 was 1:13.622, showing just how much quicker the F1 cars were.

Below is an onboard video with Justin Wilson driving a Champ Car around the circuit in 2006.

Motorbike lap record

In 2004 the Canadian Superbike Championship visited Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Nowadays bikes won’t race at the circuit as there’s a complete lack of run off, but in the early 2000s they did.

The Superbike lap record at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is 1:40.756 set by Pascal Picotte riding a Yamaha YZF-R1.

That lap time is only three seconds slower than the Ferrari Challenge and Porsche Carrera Cup Laps. Consider bikes have no downforce and only two skinny tyres, that’s a surprisingly small difference.

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Alex Gassman

I‘m Alex. I write F1 and motorsport travel guides based on my experience as racing driver and full-time motorsport nerd. I’ve traveled the world watching F1 and other racing series.

I started oversteer48 with the aim of helping other motorsport fans who are planning on watching some racing themselves.

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