Formula 1, Canadian Grand Prix preview

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Canadian Grand Prix Preview: Round 7

FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DU CANADA 2015

Round 7

Date: 7th June 2015

Circuit name: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

First Grand Prix: 1978

Type: Purpose-built permeant race trace. Medium and fast corners. Hard on brakes and tyres.

Circuit Length: 4.361 km

Laps: 70

Lap Record: 1:13.622 Rubens Barrichello (2002)

Tyre Allocation:  Soft (Yellow) and Supersoft (Red)

DRS Zones: Two – Main straight and final straight.

2014

Pole Sitter: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:14.874

Winner: Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Renault

Fastest Lap: Felipe Massa, Williams Mercedes, 1:18.504 on lap 58

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Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Bonjour, comment allez-vous? No, unfortunately I cannot welcome you to the French Grand Prix since it has been absent since 2009, with the last race being held at the serene Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours in the very epicentre of France itself. But don’t hold your breath, Formula One still has two “French Grands Prix” for every year since. The first takes place in Monaco, a tiny principality, landlocked to France with its maritime border as the Mediterranean Sea. The second on the calendar is the Canadian Grand Prix – but why? The race is held in French speaking Canada of course.

Situated on the US/Canadian border, the Canadian Grand Prix is held close to the hearts of many, and kept away from the favourites list of others. Both Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo have won their inaugural Grands Prix there, a feat that will never be erased from their minds and will be a fairy tale story they will one day tell their children.

On the flip-side is another, more daunting story. Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve is home to the infamous “Wall of Champions”. The wall has claimed victories, pole positions, points and valuable track positions from the best of them.

  1. Jacques Villeneuve: 1997 and 1999
  2. Michael Schumacher: 1999
  3. Damon Hill: 1999
  4. Jenson Button: 2005
  5. Sebastien Vettel: 2011
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Though not the wall of champions, Kubica hit another wall with great ferocity in 2007

What many fail to realise is that this leg of the North American Grands Prix is held within the perimeters of Parc Jean-Drapeau – a picturesque national park with an urban backdrop. In the middle of the track is a modest body of water, home to rabbits, otters and various forms of birdlife.

Much like a street circuit, although not one itself, the track endures little elevation changes, along with the most unforgiving of barriers, walls and kerbs, it is the most restrictive track that F1 will visit, aside the actual street circuits – Monaco, Singapore etc.

The first sector covers little distance, containing a variety of just four corners. Precise skill and special awareness is the key to success here.

The second sector is a little faster than its former. Carefully executed driving lines and breaking distances are paramount factors here. At the end of this sector, cars shoot out of the tree canopied tar mac and into the light for the final sector.

The third sector is the most vague, yet possibly the most exciting for spectators and drivers alike as it boasts an “arena” spectacle. In 2007, Robert Kubica entered S3 via means that are slightly less than conventional. His BMW powered Sauber hit the wall and pinballed its way across the track before its eventual stop at the hairpin. The crash was so violent that his feet were clearly visible after the shunt. (Video of crash at bottom of article)

However, if drivers manage to negotiate the hairpin, they are able to sling themselves onto the fastest and longest straight of the weekend and into the finale (chicane) corner. Drivers carry an enormous amount of speed here and seemly tempt fate with complete ease. But push too hard and your car will find itself in the Wall of Champions, just as so many have done in the past.

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What to Expect – Top 5 Teams

Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton has fond memories of Canada, so coming off the back of a less than happy weekend in Monaco, he will be in full focus to take victory here.

Nico Rosberg knows that it was Lewis Hamilton that dominated in the last race, and his fears of a Lewis-dominant weekend will be met again in Montreal.

Ferrari – After being given some “Quali Homework” by team boss Maurizio Arrivabene, Kimi Raikkonen will be looking to end his qualifying woes this weekend.

Sebastien Vettel knows all too well that the Mercedes boys are quick in their cars, but knows just as well that there is room for them to be beaten. His Ferrari dream team and the Tiffosi will be backing the quadruple champ from lights out the drop of the chequered flag.

Red Bull – Ricciardo experienced his first win here last year, but we all know that a replication of another win in Canada in 2015 is far from inevitable – though he will be frothing to put Renault’s improved reliability to the test.

Daniil Kvyat will be coming off the back of a near podium in Monaco. Although faster, the tight configuration of Montreal could play in his hands.

Williams – Felipe Massa will be looking to claim a podium that was within grasp last year, albeit with the avoidance of Force India’s Sergio Perez.

Valtteri Bottas knows that the scope of the media will be back on him this weekend. As the British outfit aims not to have a Monaco repeat, he will be sure put in a good result. The Finn qualified well here in 2013. He put it in third.

Toro Ross – Carlos Sainz aims to keep up his good qualifying record and hopes to hold his race pace intact.

Max Verstappen will be back in cheeky form. As frustrating as his shunt in Monaco was, the little Dutchman has evidently displayed his mental grit and is excited to transform his lesson learned, into a skill of experience.

Ma-ma-ma what? Oh, McLaren you say. Honda has taken up some of its engine tokens for the weekend’s race and hope for improved power and reliability. They scored their virgin points last weekend, but still remain to be plagued with reliability issues.

Revs for thought

Dane Hansen

Canadian GP in Pictures (Video of Kubica’s crash included at bottom)

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Mistake from Vettel on last lap awards victory to Button in 2011

Mistake from Vettel on last lap awards victory to Button in 2011

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Marshall slips in 2011

Marshall slips in 2011

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About dphansen24

I am an avid freelance Formula 1 writer and blogger. My writings are diverse and range from historical insights, to thorough and exciting analysis of the modern era and the topics that come with it. I am also able to take in requests from readers that wish to gain vision into particular stories. All are welcome. I encourage constructive criticism and conversation in comments or via email. My passion for the world’s fastest show consumes my daily efforts and I am always enthused to write about the sport I love most. Even as a pundit, I too have a curiosity and am always ready to learn more about an ever expanding sport.

Posted on June 3, 2015, in Grand Prix in Preview and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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