It happened all of a sudden. During a free practice session in June at what might have been Montreal’s last Grand Prix weekend, a groundhog (mistaken for a beaver by some F1 drivers) popped up from a hole in the grass at the Casino Hairpin, to the surprise and glee of many spectators.
Luckily for me, it didn’t venture onto the track right away, but sat there munching away and watching the cars whiz by a foot or two away.
Because of that, I had time to race down flights of bleacher steps, upsetting spectators on the way, in order to get closer to get a good shot.
Truth be told, I was hoping that the thing would get on the track. Obviously a groundhog racing an F1 car would make a way better picture, and I didn’t think it would get run over, since the cars would have to slow down for the hairpin turn.
Finally the brazen little bugger did get on the track. When the first car came round the corner, the groundhog panicked, running this way and that, getting more confused, no doubt, by the yelling spectators trying to give it directions. All the drivers slowed down to avoid it, as did Lewis Hamilton who appeared to be not too bothered by the incident. Kudos to Jacques Boissinot from Canadian Press though for getting the best picture of the incident that I’ve seen.
To my knowledge, no groundhogs surfaced on race day. Rumour had it that workers went a-hunting the night before and caged many of them for release
later. City workers rounding up groundhogs: That is something I would’ve loved to have seen.