After a rather dramatic Monaco Grand Prix, the Formula One next paces to another Grand Prix that also secrets a French atmosphere, though not as grand as Monaco. The teams have toured Australia, Asia and Europe thus far, and now have fled to the far west of the globe to North America. Next up, Canada- the seventh stop of the season.
Let’s start off with some fun facts:
First of all, you can’t talk about Canada without mentioning the great Gilles Villeneuve.
Villeneuve, driving for Ferrari at the time, was the Montreal circuit’s first ever winner and to top it off, he was a Canadian. Moreover, he was born just outside of Montreal. He was hailed as one of Canada’s most successful Formula One driver during his entire racing career. However, it was his son Jacques that took on the spotlight for being Canada’s only World Champion in 1997.
Gilles was known to be a very humble and approachable man on and off the circuit according to most drivers and Niki Lauda was one of them.
“He was the craziest devil I ever came across in Formula 1… The fact that, for all this, he was a sensitive and lovable character rather than an out-and-out hell-raiser made him such a unique human being.”
Unfortunately, just like his form on the track, it was a fast ride for Gilles’ life as he was killed during an accident in the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix. He was then in his early thirties. The chicane where he crashed was eventually renamed after him as a remembrance. Following the incident, the Montreal circuit was too renamed in the same year and was called Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in his honour.
Now, the previews:
1. Hamilton- Monaco who?
After a sulky Monaco Grand Prix, things are aiming for a slightly better weekend in Montreal. Previously, the Mercedes team had a slip-up and called Lewis Hamilton in for a quick pit-stop. It cost him the ultimate loss since he was leading most of the time. So, the question right now is: Will Hamilton listen to the team again?
The answer is yes. Despite a humiliating and an exasperating finish in Monaco, he has claimed that he will bravely move on from the melodrama and that he will put his trust on the team follow the crew orders, with high hopes of a great weekend.
Let’s not forget that the Briton is the only current driver to have won the Canadian GP more than one time.
It could lead to a perfect weekend with possible pole position and win but there’s a doubt for a grand chelem. Much different to the Monaco and Barcelona track, overtaking is not a difficult task in Montreal as it has quite a number of straight roads.
2. Is pole position significant?
The saying goes ‘better safe than never’ but then based on the records for the past ten years, there was only four pole-to-flag wins. Therefore, the dominance of polesitters in Montreal seems to be not a great worry.
Chances of overtaking are high and there are only two hair pins. Should the drivers worry about qualifying depends on their confidence.
3. Daniel Ricciardo might not take home another miracle
The Australian stunned the crowd last year by ruining Mercedes’ winning streak with a remarkable finish in Montreal. He started sixth on the grid with his Red Bull but eventually took the lead from polesitter Nico Rosberg and speeded past the chequered flag to clinch his maiden Grand Prix victory. The event also helped Ricciardo earn a Laureus breakthrough accolade
However, with Red Bull’s consistent dismay with Renault this year. There’s is doubt that last year’s scene will replay. The team could possibly go as high as P5 during the race but with Williams being their current biggest competitor, fans favour Williams in trailing behind the silver and scarlet.
4. Ferrari and McLaren upgrades
Both Scuderia Ferrari and McLaren Honda have announced that they will be using upgraded packages for the upcoming race in Montreal, but could that make a difference?
Ferrari could come across as a close competition again this time with their upgrades but the story takes a different path for McLaren.
There won’t be much impact of the team this weekend because what the team needs is to improve many areas apart from the power unit.
5. Innocent no more
The 17 year-old Max Verstappen went from a hero to a villain in Monaco. The young Dutchman collided with Lotus’ Romain Grosjean in high speed and brought out the safety cars on the Monte Carlo track alongside earning a five-grid penalty in Montreal.
Verstappen shows no remorse over his dangerous driving and claims that he braketested Grosjean.
The senior drivers were indeed shaking their heads over his act and the fact that Verstappen claims that he will be driving the same way in Montreal brought up a dispute.
Grosjean, Jenson Button and Felipe Massa have warned Verstappen to drive with less recklessness and will the young man listen?
I highly doubt so. It is no surprise that he will endure several other crashes by the end of the year. There is a possible chance of another safety car appearance in Montreal if he does repeat his behavior.
70 laps to go to determine the next champion, the main race in Montreal commences this Sunday.
Photo credits: eventraveller