Formula 1 returns to Canada for the first Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve since 2019 after Covid-19 enforced travel restrictions that prevented the race from taking place. The top tier of motorsport racing has changed considerably since Lewis Hamilton finished ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc two years ago with new regulations and a pause in Mercedes dominance.
Red Bull and Ferrari have been the dominant teams this season, with reigning world champion Max Verstappen scoring five victories to lead the drivers’ championship from his teammate Sergio Perez. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc chalked up two wins and has been in scintillating form in qualifying, starting on pole for the last four races. However, Ferrari have recently been crippled by reliability issues and bad strategy calls.
The drivers will battle on a third street circuit in a row, with the fast, flowing track requiring the cars to be at full throttle for the majority of the lap. A focus on higher top speed and less on the cornering grip will be the dominant set-up across the paddock. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is dominated by heavy braking chicanes. It’s vital for the drivers to be precise when accelerating out of those areas on the track and not lose traction which costs valuable milliseconds. We’re likely to see teams who performed well last weekend in Baku replicate that form in Montreal. Red Bull starts as favourites and it’ll be interesting to see which driver has the superior pace on race day as that’ll determine who the team decides to back strategy-wise.
Leclerc has been superb in qualifying this season and we still back him to start on the front row. Ferrari will hope they are not plagued by any issues over the weekend. One statistic that stands out is that pole position has been decided by less than a tenth of a second at four of the last seven Canadian Grands Prix.
Finally, the final T13 also known as the ‘Wall of Champions’ is a chicane that bleeds into the final straight and has caught many drivers out over the years.
Perez, Verstappen, Russell
Fastest lap: Verstappen
Pole position: Leclerc
First to retire: Nicholas Latifi
Most Team Points: Red Bull
Both Cars Qualify for Q3 Shootout: Red Bull
Free Practice 1/2/3 Winning Car: Verstappen/ Red Bull
Safety Car: Yes
Top 6: Gasly
Top 10: Tsunoda, Vettel, Alonso