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Canadian GP: Five great races

This crash between Alexander Wurz and Jarno Trulli caused a restart at the 1998 Canadian GP.

For the past 40 years, the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal has provided some of the most thrilling and bizarre moments in F1 history.

Ahead of this weekend's event, we look back at five of the greatest races to take place on the Ile Notre-Dame.

1978 - Home hero triumphs 

For the first time since its debut in 1961, the Canadian GP moved to a city-centre venue – on a new track on a man-made island in Montreal.

Mario Andretti, who had already wrapped up his first and only world title in tragic circumstances at Monza two races ago, told reporters that the tight Circuit Ile Notre-Dame seemed tailor-made for home hero Gilles Villeneuve.

The American Lotus driver's words proved prophetic at the season finale on a cold October day.

Villeneuve qualified third for Ferrari behind 1977 race winner Jody Scheckter of Wolf and Jean Pierre Jarier. The Frenchman took pole for Lotus, having replaced Ronnie Peterson following the Swede's death due to complications from injuries suffered in a first-lap crash in Italy.

By lap 17, five of the 22 starters were out and Jarier led by 20 seconds, while Villeneuve moved up to second after 25 laps ahead of Scheckter – who would be his Ferrari team-mate next season.

Just over two-thirds into the 70-lap race, Jarier retired with a oil pressure problem. James Hunt, the 1976 world champion and that year's Canada winner, crashed out in his last race for McLaren, followed by Ligier's Jacques Laffite.

Villeneuve won by more than 13 seconds from Scheckter – who would claim the 1979 world title –  while outgoing Ferrari team-mate Carlos Reutemann was third.

The circuit was renamed in Villeneuve's honour in 1982, the year he died after a crash in qualifying at the Belgian GP. He remains the only Canadian to have won his home race.

1995 - Crowd invades circuit to celebrate Alesi win

It's unlikely there's ever been a more popular victory by a non-Canadian driver in Montreal.

Jean Alesi's first and only GP win came on his 31st birthday, driving for Ferrari in his 91st career race.

Starting fifth on the grid, he moved up to P2 and took the lead with 11 laps to go when world champion Michael Schumacher's Benetton pitted with an electrical problem.

Alesi admitted his emotions got the better of him as he contemplated his long-awaited victory, saying tears hit his visor every time he braked.

Success was by no means guaranteed – team-mate Gerhard Berger had earlier run out of fuel going to the pit lane, and indeed the Frenchman's car came to a halt not long after he crossed the finish line. He was given a lift by Schumacher, with whom he would swap teams the following year.

By this stage the crowd had invaded the circuit to celebrate Alesi's win, and race results were taken from the 68th of the 69 laps as the following drivers were caught up in the mayhem.

Alesi's car had the same number 27 as local hero Gilles Villeneuve used in the '80s, while it was Ferrari's first win in Montreal in 10 years.

1998 - Crash carnage at the race start 

Michael Schumacher triumphed after a chaotic double restart – first Alexander Wurz cut a corner and catapulted into the air, taking out Jean Alesi and Jarno Trulli.

At the next attempt, driving their spare cars, Trulli went over Alesi after Ralf Schumacher – who had stalled in the first start – spun off and caused a massive traffic jam. 

The safety car came out, with the field already down by five entries. By the time it returned after Pedro Diniz went off the track, there were another three retirements, including pole winner David Coulthard.

Michael Schumacher pitted during the third safety car, and received a 10-second penalty after blocking Heinz-Harald Frentzen when he returned to the track, but managed to regain second place by lap 38.

The German led when Giancarlo Fisichella pitted seven laps later and held on for victory despite stopping to refuel. The Ferrari was more than 16 seconds ahead of Fisichella's Benetton.

Only 10 of the 22 cars were classified as completing the race – one of which was Jan Magnussen, father of current Haas driver Kevin, who scored his only F1 point with sixth place in his final race.

2008 - Kubica claims historic win

Changes had been made to the circuit after Robert Kubica's spectacular crash into a concrete wall the previous year.

This time he would finish on top of the podium ahead of Sauber team-mate Nick Heidfeld, becoming the first Pole to win an F1 race.

Kubica had been lucky to avoid an earlier accident when Lewis Hamilton ploughed into the back of Kimi Raikkonen as the Ferrari and Sauber drivers waited for a red light in the pit lane.

As the track degraded – a problem throughout the weekend – the lead changed hands several times before Kubica passed Heidfeld and claimed a victory that would briefly put him top of the world championship standings.

David Coulthard scored his first points of the season in third, but had to run to the podium after his Red Bull ran out of fuel.

2011 - Button's brilliant day

Who could forget Jenson Button's epic victory in the longest race in F1 championship history?

The 2009 world champion pitted six times during the four-hour-plus marathon, surging through the field in treacherous, wet conditions from 21st before passing runaway championship leader Sebastian Vettel on the final lap.

Button collided with Lewis Hamilton, ending his McLaren team-mate's race, then served a penalty for speeding behind the safety car before a two-hour break during torrential rain.

Back out on track, Button punctured a tyre after colliding with Fernando Alonso, who retired, and dropped to the rear of the field.

What followed was described by McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh as one of the greatest wins in F1 history, as Button passed both Mark Webber and Michael Schumacher with six laps to go and then took advantage when Vettel ran wide at turn six of the final lap.

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