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Formula 1 Canadian GP

F1 Form Guide: Canadian Grand Prix

This tricky street circuit has seen a few upsets in the past, so what could happen this time? Here are some top tips for this weekend.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-22, the rest of the field at the start

Max Verstappen was at the peak of form at the last race in Barcelona, finishing fastest in every session and leading every lap on his way to completing a hat-trick of pole, victory and fastest lap.

It is hard to look past the Red Bull driver again in Montreal, especially given he won the race from pole there last year, but there are a few reasons why things could be different this time.

One of those is Lewis Hamilton. After finishing second in Barcelona, where Mercedes’ upgrades did the trick, the Briton is level with Michael Schumacher on seven wins in Montreal and he is very keen to secure the record outright.

Another is Aston Martin, which slipped behind Mercedes and Ferrari in Spain but has promised a “step” upgrade of parts in Canada. Fernando Alonso has what it takes to win there too, having triumphed in 2006 in his title-winning year.

So, as F1 heads to the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, we take a look into the current form.

POLE PERFORMANCE

Red Bull has been on pole in all but one of the seven races this season, with Verstappen taking four. As mentioned, the Dutch driver also took the top spot in Canada last year – albeit in a rain-affected session.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

There is a slim chance of rain on Saturday but even if that does happen it is hard to see beyond Verstappen leading the way. In the second Red Bull, though, Sergio Perez is off form, so it might not be all Red Bull at the front.

So far, the only non-Red Bull front row starters have been Alonso (twice), Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz and Mercedes’ George Russell. Any of them, or Hamilton, could be beside Verstappen, even if they are unlikely to be ahead.

McLaren also looked surprisingly strong in Barcelona – although Lando Norris seemed to have no idea where the pace had come from – but he is a fair bet when it comes to team-mate head-to-heads as he leads Oscar Piastri 6-1 in qualifying.

PODIUM CHALLENGERS

Verstappen is a massive odds-on favourite for victory at 9/25 but if Perez can overcome his recent struggles, given the car he is in is the class of the field, his tag of 5/1 looks pretty good value. And Hamilton on 10/1 could be interesting.

The chances of the top three containing three different constructors are pretty high right now, especially if Perez continues to be off-colour, and Mercedes, Ferrari and Aston Martin all fairly closely matched.

However, with Verstappen at 1/5 for a podium and Hamilton and Alonso both 9/10, it might be worth looking at George Russell, who is 2/1, or even Lance Stroll, on home soil in the second Aston Martin, at 16/1, as wider options.

POINTS PLAYERS

The top six placings could be interesting in Canada. So far, only two drivers outside the top four teams of Red Bull, Mercedes, Aston Martin and Ferrari have secured a top six place: Norris (in Australia) and Esteban Ocon (in Monaco).

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43

Photo by: Jake Grant / Motorsport Images

The strength of those in the top four suggests there are few open doors, but that is ignoring the fact that Canada is a fast street circuit that can bite. Champions Corner, particularly, is a magnet for mistakes.

If there is fragility in the top four teams then, based on Barcelona form, Norris could be in the top six in the McLaren – and is a rather surprising 8/1 to do so – while the Alpines of Ocon and Pierre Gasly are 5/2 and 11/4 respectively.

Alfa Romeo Stake did well in Canada last year, with Valtteri Bottas seventh and Zhou Guanyu eighth. The latter was in the top 10 in Barcelona, and both drivers are 4/1 to repeat that in Canada. Even better, they are 19/1 for double points.

Logan Sargeant, Williams FW45

Logan Sargeant, Williams FW45

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

CHANCE CHOICES

Looking right to the back, the Williams of Logan Sargeant has been classified last in two of the last three events, while Bottas and Kevin Magnussen have twice done so this year. Sargeant is 7/4 for a repeat, Magnussen 10/1 and Bottas 11/1.

As for retirements, two of the seven races this season have seen a complete set of finishers while the rest, aside from the crazy Australian event that involved multiple first-lap crashes, have only had two or three cars drop out.

 

Canada saw three non-finishers last season and this season, of the top four teams, Ferrari and Aston Martin have retired most with two each. The latter was the first to do so on both occasions and the odds of a repeat are 10/1.

The last race in Canada without some form of speed control was 2015 and the odds of a safety car period this year are 2/5. The last four races have had a full SC (it was a VSC in 2016) so there is a high chance of that happening again.

NOTE: Odds correct at time of writing

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