Why Is The Canadian Grand Prix 2011 Longest Race In F1? Find Out

How did the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix become the longest race in Formula 1 history? Read on to find out!

Updated on Jun 06, 2024  |  05:22 PM IST |  58K
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The Canadian Grand Prix of 2011 was a remarkable moment in the history of Formula 1, and forever a moment of this sport’s history due to some truly exciting moments and the longest race ever held. It lasted for over four hours. The race was long not only in the history of the Formula One races, but it was also one of the most interesting in terms of being challenging for the drivers.


Gilles Villeneuve Circuit is famous for its blend between being a street track and a conventional racecourse which is located on an island in Montreal. This combination requires drivers to be very delicate and adept. The ‘Wall of Champions’ just before the final turn has been responsible for many deaths among professional drivers thus making it more difficult than other tracks worldwide. 

Here’s why Canadian Grand Prix 2011 was the longest race in F1

Weather problems drag the race

Montreal was greatly affected by a disturbance in weather during the Canadian Grand Prix of 2011. These quick changes are due to the city’s microclimate which was the case during the race.

Heavy rain and intermittent showers caused poor visibility and track conditions that were worse than had been anticipated thus making the event longer than it should have been.

A breakthrough in racing time


For the first time in history, Formula 1’s longest race ever was 4 hours 4 minutes, and 39 seconds. There was no point during this marathon event where cars could pass one another because even after a two-hour break when the red flags were out the track had become completely impassable as a result of continuous downpour. Nevertheless, despite all the setbacks and challenges faced by them, drivers exhibited unprecedented levels of skill.

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Jenson Button’s incredible victory


Jenson Button’s victory at the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix is often said to be one of the best comebacks ever witnessed in Formula 1. During the race, Button had several pit stops, crashes, and penalties that made it far from flawless. 

Despite being at the back of the pack, his ability to adapt to changing situations enabled him to climb through the ranks.

Safety car interventions

The race saw a record six safety car deployments which further extended the duration. Debris on the track had caused numerous incidents right from the opening lap prompting for a safety car. These interruptions greatly affected the flow of the game forcing drivers to change their strategies regularly.

ALSO READ: 8 Interesting Facts About Canadian Grand Prix You Didn’t Know

The ending of an eventful series of unfortunate incidents

In an accident early in the race, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren teammate of Button, and Fernando Alonso of Ferrari collided which further complicated the matter for the latter. Six times Button had to stop because of this as well as a drive-through penalty and a damaged front wing but he kept going through his tenacity and clever strategic thinking.

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He went up the ladder thanks to his remarkable resolution too. He seized an opportunity on the final lap when Sebastian Vettel made a mistake allowing him to take first place thus winning an amazing competition. 

This was among the most memorable victories for Jenson Button in his career since he remained calm under stress while maintaining high speed under difficult conditions.

The Return of Michael Schumacher


Schumacher made a return to the sport in 2010 with Mercedes after being away for three years. Although his first year back was not successful, there were glimpses of his past brilliance during the 2011 season, which was particularly evident at the Canadian Grand Prix.

There was heavy downpour and Schumacher, also known as the ‘Rain Master, did very well in wet conditions. A highlight of the race was when he overtook Felipe Massa and Kamui Kobayashi at once. He managed to get up to second place but eventually finished fourth because Jenson Button and Mark Webber passed him towards the end of the race.

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ALSO READ: What Time Is The Canadian Grand Prix? Montreal Weather, Place, Dates, And More

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About The Author

Ananya Kesh is a journalism student with a burning passion for the world of sports. Writing allows her

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