Prixview – Canadian Grand Prix

Prixview Testing & Race Reports

Round seven takes Formula One across the Atlantic for the first time this season and to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. The circuit is located on an island in the middle of the island St Lawrence Seaway, which has been the permanent home of the race since 1978 when it moved from Mosport.

The circuit was originally called Circuit Île Notre-Dame and opened in 1978, the circuit has been largely unchanged as it winds its way around the island and along passed the rowing lake used for the 1976 Olympic Games and currently hosts the annual F1 Boat Race on Saturday Night.

The circuit can be described as both a street and purpose-built circuit as it’s lined with walls and runs around the island. But unlike the last race, this is more a Baku style circuit requiring speed and downforce, overtaking is very likely as it has wide open corners and tricky chicanes.

Montreal though in North America feels very much like a European race as its part of the DNA of the sport. The circuit is one of the well-known races, because of its drama and the fact that it punishes drivers for mistakes, gives them chances to overtake other drivers.

The most famous corner is the Mur du Quebec, which came to be known twenty years ago as the Wall of Champions. The final chicane is arguably one of the best and worse space to overtake, as get it wrong you will crash out.  The name started in 1999 after three champions, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve crashed into the wall in 1999.

Other champions which have crashed into the wall include Carlos Sainz Jr, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, Derek Warwick and Jenson Button.

The first Grand Prix was won by Gilles Villeneuve himself and that was his first win in the sport. His name put Formula One on the map, and following his fatal accident at the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix the circuit was renamed after the popular Canadian.

Montreal was also where Lewis Hamilton’s first win, and he has become the master of the circuit. This year the five times champion is looking for his seventh win to equal Michael Schumacher. The circuit appears to suit his driving style as it requires speed and the ability to attack.

Robert Kubica pulled off a win for Sauber after front runners Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen as well as Nico Roberg crash into each other in the pit lane. His only Grand Prix win. He builds a lead over teammate Nick Heidfeld to become F1’s only Polish winner, scoring Sauber’s only race win.

However, making mistakes can be costly, teams need to go into this race with the same mindset as Monaco. It is unpredictable what may happen and reacting to events on track, as well as the weather, can see races won and lost. The big question going into this weekend is can stop Mercedes, that appears unlikely given there recent form and Hamilton’s history here.

Facts and figures

Round 07 of 21
Race Formula 1 Pirelli Grand Prix du Canada 2019
Venue Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, Quebec
Circuit Length 4.361km (2.709 mi)
Laps 70
Race Distance 305.270 km (189.694 mi)
Lap Record 1:13.622 (Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari, 2004)
Most wins drivers Michael Schumacher (7)
Most wins manufacture Ferrari (14)

Fast facts

  • Michael Schumacher holds the record for the greatest number of wins at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. He won seven times between 1994-2004. Lewis Hamilton is not far behind now with six wins.
  • Alan Jones, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton are the only drivers who’ve taken back-to-back wins at this circuit. It’s a list which Sebastian Vettel could join in 2019.
  • Pole position has been decided by less than a tenth of a second at four of the last six Canadian Grands Prix. But twenty-two of the last fifty Grand Prix’s have been won from pole.
  • The lowest any winner has started though is 10th. Jacques Laffite holds that particular record, winning for Ligier in 1981. It would prove to be his sixth and final F1 win.
  • Of the last twenty one races, 12 have been interrupted by Safety Car periods, with 1999 and 2007 both having seen 4 separate SC appearances (a total of 19 laps in the 2007 race) – though that’s nothing compared to 2011, when 32 of the 70 laps ran behind the SC, and included a 2-hour red-flag period.

Event timetable

Session

Local

BST

Friday

P1 10:00-11:30 15:00-16:30
P2 14:00-15:30 19:00-20:30

Saturday

P3 11:00-12:00 16:00-17:00
Qualifying 14:00-15:00 19:00-20:00

Sunday

Race 14:10 19:10

What happened in 2018?

Vettel took pole in Montreal after going nine hundreds of a second faster than Bottas. It was an extremely close session between Ferrari and Mercedes, with the upgraded Renault power unit Red Bull was not far off with less than half a second between them.

Hamilton, the record holder, struggled in qualifying a very messy session and a lockup in Q3 saw the Mercedes driver only manage fifth. Williams’s woes continued as local boy Lance Stroll failed to make it out of Q1 starting seventeenth.

It was a race which stands out as one of Vettel’s best of the season, the Ferrari drove superbly from the front controlling the race from the start after holding off Valtteri Bottas into the first corner before pulling away from the Finn.

Vettel pulled out a lead over Bottas, but that was aided by the Finn’s mistake trying to lap the Renault of Sainz. Ferrari by now was proving that the challenge was genuine and that Mercedes had to take them seriously this season.

Stroll’s home race was over before it had really begun, a stunt with Hartley took him out at the first corner. The Quebecer lost control of the rear of Williams thanks to oversteer, that squeezing Hartley, who was on his left, between the Williams and the tyre barrier, briefly launching the Toro Rosso into the air.

Ferrari hadn’t won in Montreal since 2004, the last time that happened with a German they went on to secure the drivers and constructors, so would this be Vettel’s year? The fight for five was on!

Race Result – 1) S. Vettel, Ferrari, 01:28:31.377, 2) V. Bottas, Mercedes, +7.376, 3) M. Verstappen, Red Bull – Tag Heuer +8.360

What to watch for?

Montreal is a circuit where Mercedes should be strong, they have won the first six races and this is a Melbourne style circuit as its high speed and downforce. Lewis Hamilton has been the strongest driver in Montreal, and you need to wonder following his recent comments about not delivering a 100% this season if it’s the race where he begins to step up to the maximum.

Equally, Ferrari’s hopes of a championship I believe are over unless something goes majorly wrong for Mercedes. There has been talk that they will be bringing a major engine upgrade to Montreal, like Mercedes. This makes sense as its another power hungry circuit, and needing pace is important.

Like Monaco, track evolution is going to be massive as this circuit is largely a public park and we will see times fall. That makes the question, are Ferrari and Red Bull able to keep up with Mercedes and how big the gap maybe. Also, unlike Monaco, it’s a place where overtaking is possible. This allows for great racing but also punishes drivers who make mistakes.

2017 vs 2018 Race Data

P1 Fastest

P2 Fastest

P3 Fastest

Q1 Fastest

Q2 Fastest

Q3 Fastest

Race Time

Fastest Lap

2018

01:13.302 01:12.198 01:11.599 01:11.710 01:11.434 01:10.764 01:28:31.377 01:13.864

Diff

-3.936 -3.990 -4.011 -3.860 -3.620 -4.110 -11:04.330 -04:02.360

2017

01:17.238 01:16.118 01:15.610 01:15.750  01:15.054 01:14.874 01:39:18.640 01:18.504

A lap of Montreal

LEWIS HAMILTON COMES ACROSS THE LINE AND BEGINS TO HEAD TO THE OUTSIDE FOR THE KINK BEFORE TURN ONE. HE THEN BREAKS AT ABOUT 100M BEFORE, HEADING TO THE APEX AND STRAIGHT INTO TURN TWO RUNNING AROUND THE APEX BEFORE HEADING TO THE OUTSIDE ON THE RUN TO THREE. BREAKS FROM THE OUTSIDE BEFORE GOING TO THE APEX AND ACROSS STRAIGHT THROUGHT FOUR AND INTO FIVE.

BUILDS SPEED ON THE EXIT AND BREAKS GOING INTO TURN SIX HITTING THE APEX AND AGAIN AT SEVEN, WHERE HE RUNS TO THE OUTSIDE. BREAKS GOING UNDER THE BRIDGE FOR EIGHT, HITS THE APEX AND RUNS STRAIGHT INTO THE APEX OF NINE. RUNS TO THE WALL ON EXIT BEGINS ALLECTARTION.

BREAKS AS HE REACHES THE HAIRPIN, RUNS AROUND THE APEX AND GOES TO THE OUTSIDE THROUGH TWELVE AND RUNS ALONG THE LONG STRAIGHT. HE BREAKS JUST BEFORE PIT ENTRY, HITS APEX OF THIRTEEN AND FOURTEEN AND RUNS ALONG THE OUTSIDE DOING A 1:11.459.

Tyres

Driver

Team

White Hard (C3)

Yellow Medium (C4)

Red Soft (C5)

L. Hamilton

Mercedes 1 4

8

V. Bottas 2 3

8

S. Vettel

Ferrari 1 5 7
C. Leclerc 1 5

7

M. Verstappen

Red Bull – Honda 2 4 7
P. Gasly 2 4

7

D. Ricciardo

Renault 1 4 7
N. Hulkenberg 2 3

8

K. Magnussen

Haas – Ferrari 2 3 8
R. Grosjean 1 4

8

C. Sainz Jr

McLaren – Renault 2 2 9
L. Norris 2 2

9

S. Perez

Racing Point –Mercedes 2 2 9
L. Stroll 2 2

9

K. Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo – Ferrari 1 3 9
A. Giovinazzi 2 2

9

D. Kvyat

Toro Rosso –Honda 1 4 8

A. Albon

1 4 8

G. Russell

Williams –Mercedes 3 3 7
R. Kubica 2 3

8

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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