Eleven is a significant number in our sport: if you qualify eleventh, you tell yourself you are in a strong position, as the first driver on the time sheet who can have a free choice of what tyre to use for the start of the race. But finishing the race in eleventh place is always frustrating as it means you are just outside the points and have nothing to show for all your hard work over the weekend.
While it's true we came away from Montreal with no points in the bag, if we channel that aforementioned optimism, we'd have to say that the Canadian weekend produced several encouraging signs for Scuderia Toro Rosso: the first transatlantic trip of the year is traditionally time for engine upgrades and our partner Honda duly delivered on this, with changes mainly on the internal combustion engine part of the Power Unit. It was clear from practice that the STR13s now had some extra horsepower pushing them along, which combined with some updates on the aero side means we can expect to be strong contenders in the mid-field battle now that we return to the European part of the season, after our Montreal mini-break.
Pierre's Sunday performance confirmed his status as one of the coming men of the sport, but unfortunately, Brendon's race was yet another example of bad luck wiping out what looked like being a good points scoring opportunity. Our New Zealander, just like our Frenchman, was on his first visit to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and was enjoying this challenging track, as proven by a solid twelfth place on the grid after qualifying. However, on the opening lap, he was pushed into the wall by local boy Lance Stroll, after the Williams' back end stepped out at Turn 4. It was a very big impact, after which Brendon went to hospital for some checks and thankfully no harm was done.
If we were to explain the F1 engine penalty rules in detail, you'd still be reading this article in a few hours time, so let's just say that, after a PU issue meant we had to change Pierre's engine just before qualifying, it made sense to change it again prior to the race. That way, he would take his penalties in Canada, starting from the back and then be good to go with the latest spec PU as we head to the Paul Ricard circuit for his home race in a fortnight's time.