WATCH: Ferrari’s F1 driver Sainz narrowly misses groundhog at Canadian GP
Alpine F1 driver Esteban Oco also had to brake sharply to avoid hitting the groundhog
A groundhog sits at the side of the track as Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll approaches during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on 17 June 2022 in Montreal, Quebec. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images/AFP
Ferrari’s Formula One (F1) driver Carlos Sainz had to take evasive action during the opening practice for the Canadian Grand Prix on Friday when a groundhog ran onto the track.
Sainz had to swerve to the left of the track at the last minute, while driving at high speed, to avoid squashing the rodent.
“Oh, Gary the Groundhog, it is not time to come out from your little burrow,” said commentator Ted Kravitz after the small animal had its close shave with death.
Co-commentator and former driver Jenson Button said: “I don’t know why you would go, ‘Oh, hang on a second. I’m going to cross that while those cars are going really fast. Let’s give it a go’.”
Alpine F1 driver Esteban Oco was also on the track when the groundhog decided to dice with the cars. He had to brake sharply to not hit it.
Canadian Grand Prix
F1 has returned to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix for the first time since 2019.
Qualifying for the race can be viewed on SuperSport on Saturday at 10pm, while the race will take place on Sunday, 19 June, at 8pm.
Groundhogs are often seen at Gilles Villeneuve Circuit on Montreal’s Isle Notre Dame. The animals are indigenous and protected in the area.
In 2018, a groundhog was not as fortunate as the one on Friday when Haas driver Romain Grosjean hit one as it ran across the track.
The impact damaged the front wing of Grosjean’s car.
“It was a big impact. It was a big animal,” Grosjean said at the time.
“I’m surprised they didn’t move it. It’s a shame for the animal, of course, and it’s a shame for our front wing as well. We are quite limited on spare parts, and losing a front wing like this is a bit disappointing.”