The seventh round of the 2019 Formula 1 season, the Canadian Grand Prix, will unfortunately be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

An unpopular time penalty robbed Sebastian Vettel of a much-needed and arguably deserved victory in Canada. Instead, it handed second-place driver Lewis Hamilton an additional boost in his hunt for a sixth world title and served as a concerning precedent.

Here are the main talking points from the Canadian Grand Prix…

The Debrief - Can Mercedes be stopped in F1?

Racing the biggest loser from penalty mess

There is only one place to start. THAT penalty.

In a year so far dominated by Mercedes, Ferrari finally looked set to kickstart its campaign and liven up a season that was verging on turning into something of an anti-climax after just six races. But a controversial penalty decision enabled Hamilton to claim the victory spoils, not the driver who crossed the line in first place.

Vettel, under increasing pressure from Hamilton behind, lost control of the rear of his car at Turn 3, ran wide over the grass and appeared to shut the door on Hamilton upon returning to the track. He was subsequently hit with a time penalty which seemingly everybody - barring the Montreal stewards - disagreed with.

The response was met by booing from the crowd during the podium presentation, an understandable strop from Vettel, and a social media outrage. While the debate rages on, ultimately, a penalty is a penalty and the stewards laid out its reasoning for how it had followed the letter of the F1 law, despite the overwhelming sense that an injustice had just occurred.

Aside from Vettel and Ferrari, the biggest loser here was racing. In recent years the notion of hard-but-fair racing has been a subject of hot debate and tested on numerous occasions but it now appears the line has well and truly been drawn. It has left more questions than answers over what is deemed acceptable. If the stewarding panel is to remain consistent, surely there is no going back for similar incidents of that nature in future.

So how does F1 move on from this instance and is there even a clear-cut solution? As is often the case, probably not. It remains very much a grey area of the regulations.

Much of the fury has been vented towards the stewards. At each Grand Prix the stewarding panel is made up of three FIA stewards - including one former driver (on this occasion ex-F1 driver and five-time Le Mans 24 Hour winner Emanuele Pirro) and one national steward.

It is important to note the tough challenge the officials face, leading Mercedes boss Toto Wolff to call for greater respect towards the stewards. Much like referees in football, stewards face an almost impossible task in having to make real-time calls over incidents. Naturally, some decisions will often lead to conflicting views.

It is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that a penalty outcome has split opinion. The biggest bugbear for many is the way in which the race outcome was determined by a penalty from what looked to be a relatively innocuous incident.

It is incredibly hard to compare such an instance with any other unless it was at the same corner of the same track, given the extensive variables - including but not limited to - conditions and circuit layout. Perhaps the way forward is a revisiting of the rulebook to seek firm clarification of what constitutes re-joining the track in a dangerous way.

There is an argument that the stewarding panel should be consistent at every race, but that is not without its own flaws. It opens up the potential for bias across the course of a 21-round season.

There will also be those that say the situation could have been avoided altogether with a gravel trap, as Vettel would have simply lost too much momentum - or become beached - and been instantly punished for his error. But that is a subject which risks opening up a another can of worms with regards to safety.

It is a shame that what was a great race will ultimately go down in history as being marred by controversy, rather than for being celebrated as an epic duel between two of F1’s all-time greats.

Championship done and dusted?

The result of it all means that Hamilton has now opened up an even bigger championship lead, and Ferrari - although this time through no fault of its own - witnessed another victory chance go begging.

With Hamilton claiming his seventh win at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and fifth win of the season, coupled with Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas finishing fourth, the Briton now holds a 29-point advantage at the top of the standings and is well on course to become a six-time world champion.

Bottas now will need to hit the form of his life and rely on Hamilton encountering some kind of misfortune for the Finn to realistically turn around such a margin against a driver of Hamilton’s quality and consistency.

Hamilton is on an extraordinary run of having scored 407 of the last 457 points on offer and claiming 13 wins in 18 starts. In stark contrast, Vettel has gone 18 races since he tasted the winners’ champagne.

For Ferrari, the picture looks even bleaker. Victory in Canada would have been a welcome boost to try and turnaround its fortunes, but the disappointment will be hard for all to stomach at Maranello.

Hamilton is now 62 points clear of Vettel with little sign of his momentum coming to an end, while Ferrari sits a whopping 123 points adrift. The Scuderia is now looking over its shoulder towards third-placed Red Bull, which is only 48 points behind and proving Ferrari’s closest competition.

There is still a long way to go, but unless Ferrari can transform its fortunes fast, the championship will pass the point of being salvageable.

Renault’s timely resurgence

Away from the controversy at the front, Canada proved to be a strong weekend for another team in need of a timely boost.

Renault recorded its best result of the season so far with its first double points finish of 2019. Daniel Ricciardo turned in a superb qualifying performance to seal fourth on the grid, and followed that up with a strong drive to sixth, marking the French manufacturer’s highest finish of the year.

Teammate Nico Hulkenberg followed Ricciardo home in seventh, as Renault collected an impressive 14 points to leapfrog its rivals up to fifth place in the constructors’ championship.

With McLaren failing to score, Renault is now right back in contention in the fight for fourth and just two points behind the Woking squad, having turned around a disappointing start to the season in emphatic style.

Meanwhile, Ricciardo has launched himself up to eighth in the drivers’ standings, two points behind Carlos Sainz in the battle to be ‘best of the rest’ behind the Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull drivers.

Haas suffered a miserable weekend as Romain Grosjean could only finish 14th, while Kevin Magnussen had a tough afternoon on Sunday as he attempted to recover from the pit lane following his huge qualifying shunt. He could only get as high as 17th in what he described as “the worst experience I have ever had. In any race car. Ever.”

As a result, the American outfit has slipped to eighth in the championship, 14 points adrift of McLaren.

Stroll’s home recovery

Racing Point had demonstrated some encouraging pace throughout practice on home soil in Montreal but was left frustrated in qualifying as it suffered a double elimination in Q1.

However, home-favourite Lance Stroll turned in an impressive drive through the field to land his third points finish of the campaign in ninth.

It was a strong recovery from the Canadian, who was on the back foot going into qualifying after a spectacular engine failure saw him miss final practice and force his team to revert back to an old-spec power unit.

Stroll surged up the order to grab a handful of positions with one of his trademark opening laps, before running a 45-lap stint on Hard tyres that helped propel him into the top ten.

Having switched onto the Medium compound, Stroll powered past Sainz’s McLaren in the closing stages to snatch ninth place at the same venue he scored his maiden F1 points at back in 2017 with Williams.