The Top Rated Canadian F1 Drivers of All Time
During a time in motorsports where Canada boasts two professional drivers within the Formula One standings, fans are ecstatic to have a chance to support teams representing their home country.
The popularity of F1 is higher than ever, particularly in North America. There's no better time to reflect on the history of the sport's top Canadian drivers in Formula One history.
Giles Villeneuve (1977-1982)
A hero for not only Canadian motorsport fans but fans worldwide. Giles Villeneuve was adored for his no-quit attitude, elite car control, and sportsmanship. He was unquestionably heading towards the highest prestige of F1 competitors before the horrific ending to his life at Zolder in 1982.
Beginning with his Formula One debut at Silverstone in 1997, racing a third entry McLaren, becoming the surprise selection to replace . Villeneuve's step into the F1 spotlight arrived during a time in history when television audiences were expanding – thus creating a global driving hero for an entirely new generation of motorsports fans.
Legendary maneuvers made in the rain during the 1978 Montreal Grand Prix will live on forever, and his attitude towards teamwork was displayed in 1979 when he was the faster of two Ferraris. Still, team orders saw the title go to Jody Scheckter.
Critics still struggle to explain how Villeneuve claimed two wins in the 1981 Ferrari - a highly undesirable piece of engineering – and we can only point to his genius.
His tragic death stunted his potential greatness of Giles, and nobody can predict what he might have accomplished if he had lived to join McLaren in 1983.
Jacques Villeneuve (1996-2006)
When Formula One debuts are concerned, the sheer anticipation amongst fans has never and will most likely never match that of Jacques Villeneuve in 1996.
Following two impressive outings at and CART Indycar in 1995, the son of Giles Villeneuve was soon offered a position on the Williams team as the brand began its rebuild in the wake of Ayrton Senna's passing.
As the son of one of F1's most celebrated drivers, it wasn't surprising to witness Jacques coming close to winning his first race. But following his 1997 championship success, we were handed nothing but glimpses of his former greatness.
Many believe the rule changes inflicted on cars and tires in 1998 assisted in his downfall, and while he'd sometimes prove his worth on the track, nothing was comparable to his first two years in F1.
Lance Stroll (1977-1982)
He's no Villeneuve, but the snide comments made towards Lance Stroll are often unjust. Of course, his father owns the team he drives for, and he's lived a privileged life, but this doesn't remove the fact that this 23-year-old can drive.
Without the inclusion of Giles and Jacques, Stroll is undoubtedly superior to the countryman who drove in F1 before him. He became the third Canadian in F1 history to score a point and the third to score a podium.
Bettors in the Canadian region who enjoy supporting the local talent should of Lance Stroll's proposition bets. Why? Because he owns the potential to deliver a shocking result every once and a while, and he's still growing in the sport.
I wouldn't extend myself to putting him in 1st position, but a top five or ten finish is always possible for those attempting to wager on the Canadian youngster.
Peter Ryan (1961-1961)
As the first ever Canadian to compete in a Formula One Grand Prix, it would be rude to ignore the motor sporting presence of Quebec's Peter Ryan.
When injuries forced Ryan away from winter athletics, Ryan switched to motorsports. Under the Lotus banner, he capped the non-championship Canadian GP for sportscars at Mosport in 1961, a victory that would draw attention and give him a chance at the 1961 US GP.
Ryan took a Lotus to the 61' US Grand Prix, qualified in the thirteenth, to then finish in a respectable ninth. He was offered a complete Lotus contract, but due to a full team, his efforts were taken to Europe in Formula Junior, and he was labeled as a future star. Sadly, at the tender age of 22, Ryan's life was cut short during a race in France.