Ferrari to keep its winning roll going in high speed Canadian F1 Grand Prix chase?
Ferrari has now won on two street circuits as well as on fast, flowing circuits this season and they have been quick everywhere - so can the team n...
Ferrari has now won on two street circuits as well as on fast, flowing circuits this season and they have been quick everywhere - so can the team now win on a track that is basically a series of straights punctuated with chicanes?
You wouldn't bet against it.
Ferrari is in confident mode after outclassing Mercedes on a track where it has dominated for the past four seasons. Mercedes looked at sea on the tyres in Monaco, as they had in Bahrain in completely different circumstances and it is becoming a first order priority to get on top of this.
Montreal is one of the strongest tracks for both Mercedes drivers; Lewis Hamilton took his first GP win there and has always been outstanding at getting close to the walls, while Valtteri Bottas broke though in 2013 with a stunning third on the grid for Williams and has been on the podium the last two seasons.
The Ferrari is better at getting the front and rear tyre temperatures matched, whereas Mercedes has some difficulty with it and Montreal with few high energy corners, is another track where many teams will struggle to get the tyres into the right operating window.
The characteristics of Montreal are well known by now. The standout features are:
* Track lined with walls so 80% chance of Safety Car, one of the highest of the season and it always upsets the Strategy plans when it comes.
* Second shortest run to Turn 1 (260m) at the start, so you would think pole should be quite important. However the P2 slot is on the racing line, the right side of the track and of the last 15 Grands Prix at Montreal, only 6 of them have been won from pole. Incidents into Turn 1 are also very common. Last year Sebastian Vettel lead into Turn 1 from third on the grid.
* Smooth track surface means that the softest tyre compounds are used. Mercedes has struggled with these compounds in warm conditions, Montreal experiences one of the largest variations of temperature during a race weekend, so anything could happen. Likely to be another race where the hardest of the three Pirelli tyre compounds (Ultrasoft/Supersoft/Soft) sees little use and remains in the blankets, as has happened at most races so far this season.
* Extremely tough on brakes - due to the nature of the layout, with seven significant stops from over 300km/h into chicanes and hairpins.
Canadian GP in numbers
The 38th race held on the man-made island of Notre Dame at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, will mark the 50th anniversary since the first Canadian Grand Prix.
The Safety Car is as synonymous with this circuit as the Wall of Champions or the World's fair dome built for the 1967 event. The first Safety Car in F1 history was used here at the 1973 Canadian GP and of the last 19 races, 11 have been interrupted by them.
In 2011, 32 of 70 laps were run behind the Safety Car and the 1999 race was the first ever to finish in a Safety Car period. That happened again in 2014, making Montreal the only venue to boast the occurrence twice. However, only one of the last five races here have brought Bernd Maylander out of the pits.
Expect a close battle, as in the last 14 grands prix, eight have been won by a margin of under three seconds. Canada deems pole position more redundant than any other circuit on the calendar: only six of the last 15 races here have been won by the polesitter, and four won from outside the top-five.
With a 25-point lead in the drivers' championship, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel will remain on the top spot regardless, but with a run of seven consecutive podiums – his longest since his 2013 title win – it looks likely that he'll consolidate that lead.
Only once has the German started a season with more points than this, and that was in his winning 2011 season. Counterpart Kimi Raikkonen hasn't earned a podium in Canada since 2006; his last Canadian victory was in 2005.
Title-rival Lewis Hamilton has, however, set a precedent of success in Canada as a five-time winner. By topping qualifying this weekend he would equal Schumacher's record of six pole positions and tie Ayrton Senna's career poles with 65. The venue, in which he gained his first pole and win, could become his most successful with a sixth victory,
Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas has finished on the podium at Montreal for the past two years for Williams. He has qualified third in every race bar Bahrain this season and is tied 3-3 with Hamilton in qualifying performances this season. Mercedes is 15 laps short of leading 4,000 in its constructor history, a feat reached only by Ferrari, McLaren, Williams and Lotus.
Red Bull, borne out of the 1997 Stewart Grand Prix team whose founder Sir Jackie Stewart turns 78 on race day, last won here in 2014 due to Daniel Ricciardo's maiden F1 victory. He only led the final three laps – the only laps he's ever led at Montreal. Ricciardo will be looking for a third consecutive podium on Sunday.
Carlos Sainz Jr of Toro Rosso has scored points in five races this year, more than both Red Bull drivers. If he or team-mate Kvyat qualifies in the top-10 for Canada, it will the 100th top-10 start in Toro Rosso's history as a constructor.
Midfield rival Haas does have a podium finisher at Montreal – Romain Grosjean – who finished second in 2012 for Lotus. Since then, he hasn't finished on the lead lap.
Renault's Nico Hulkenberg hasn't been out-qualified by a team-mate in Canada since 2012 with three-consecutive points-finishes here. His team-mate Jolyon Palmer, the highest-placed driver in the standings without having scored a point, will be watching out for Robert Kubica as the Pole tested for Renault for the first time in six years on Tuesday.What are you looking forward to in this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix? Leave your comments below and head to the JA on F1 Facebook page for further discussion and topics
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