Canadian Grand Prix | Sunday 9 June | Circuit Gilles Villeneuve | 20:00
The Formula One teams leave Europe for North America, traveling to Montreal, Canada to compete in one of the most popular races on the calendar. The race is well supported despite the lack of home drivers, with local fans often favouring Ferrari because of the popularity of Canadian Gilles Villeneuve, who raced for the Italian team until a crash in qualifying ended his life in 1982. The Canadian Grand Prix is a firm favourite among Formula One fans, well-known for being a fast and exciting race, spectators are kept entertained by the numerous overtakes and enraptured by the incidents that are often the result of a driver straying to close to the infamous ‘Wall of Champions’.
Monaco certainly didn’t want for excitement, with multiple crashes, safety car appearances, daring overtakes and some incredibly aggressive driving by a certain rookie McLaren driver. Rosberg managed to claim his third consecutive pole position and with some aid from his Mercedes teammate, who kept competing cars at bay after Rosberg made a fairly average start, he was able to keep the lead. He went on to win the race, held on the streets where he grew up, to emanate his World Champion father Keke Rosberg who won the Monaco Grand Prix thirty years before. Massa started at the back of the grid and didn’t manage to finish the race after a similar crash to the one he suffered the day before. Alonso only managed seventh, making it a fairly disappointing weekend for Ferrari. Maldonado kept things exciting with a spectacular crash that halted the race for about half an hour, while teams scurried to change tyres. Grosjean made a nuisance of himself, crashing a total of four times in Monaco, much to the irritation of fellow drivers. Perez also wasn’t popular, his aggressive driving style seems to not only be pushing the buttons of his more senior teammate, but Raikkonen as well. The rookie driver botched an overtake on the Lotus which lead to his own retirement and saw Raikkonen lose several places after being forced to visit the pits with a Perez-induced puncture. The Finn managed to finish tenth, his 22nd consecutive finish in the points. The Red Bulls both managed strong finishes in Monaco, with Vettel finishing second and Webber completing the podium in third.
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is all about high speeds, long straights and lots of overtaking. Named after the late Canadian driver, the track is home to the “Wall of Champions,” famous for bringing an early end to many a top driver’s race, including world champions Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button. Each lap is 4.361 kilometers long and the race comprises a total of 70 laps, with two DRS zones increasing the already high amount of overtaking. The track is tough on the brakes, but the cooler weather makes it less abusive on the tyres than some of earlier races this year. Pirelli are bringing their super-soft and medium compounds to Canada and have apparently made some improvements to the tyres after complaints about abnormally high degradation, but we’ll have to wait for the weekend to see if there is any real difference. The circuit has few run-off areas and with barriers close to the track waiting to punish the driver who loses concentration, a safety car is very probable. Rain also contributes to the safety car’s appearance here, with the 2011 Grand Prix suffering a four hour delay because of the constant downpour.
To Win Outright
Sebastian Vettel 11/4
Fernando Alonso 33/10
Lewis Hamilton 7/2
Nico Rosberg 5/1
Kimi Raikkonen 11/2
Mark Webber 16/1
Felipe Massa 33/1
Jenson Button 50/1
Fernando Alonso (33/10 a win, 11/20 a place)
Alonso is one of the few drivers to have previously won the Canadian Grand Prix, and after a disappointing finish in Monaco, the Spaniard will be looking to try and close the expanding gap between him and Vettel in the Championship. He’ll be aiming for a result high in the points and wins and places is the way to go. Each-way on Alonso.
Kimi Raikonnen (11/2 a win, 11/10 a place)
He needs to finish in the points this weekend to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of 23 consecutive points finishes and with the way this former World Champion is driving this season, it seems incredibly unlikely that he’ll miss out. He’s also managed a win here in the past so I think he’ll be competitive this weekend. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the podium unless he has another run in with Perez or an unfortunate meeting with teammate Grosjean.
Jenson Button (Top 6 Finish, 2/1)
Button is worth a mention despite his failure to claim any real points in 2013. He won here in 2011 and finished second the year before so he knows this track pretty well. Although previously a world champion, Button hasn’t managed to produce the results expected from him this season. He did finish sixth in Monaco, so a bet on a Top 6 finish at 2/1 is good value. While you’re at it, take his teammate Perez for a Top 6 finish at 7/2. The Mexican is very aggressive and loves attempting a tricky overtake which could see him finish well. Or end his race early.
POLE POSITION: Lewis Hamilton 2/1
Widely known as “The King of Montreal,” Hamilton has won the Canadian Grand Prix three times in the past. This will be the first time he tackles the track with his new team and the first time in 2013 that he’ll race under the guidance of former McLaren Technical Director, Paddy Lowe, who has now joined Mercedes. Lewis will definitely be fighting for top points this weekend, but the Mercedes is notoriously tough on the tyres and if Pirelli’s improvements fail to bring about any decisive change in tyre wear, Hamilton might battle to hold position on Sunday. He usually produces some very quick laps in qualifying and he’ll be looking to unseat his teammate at the top of the grid, so my money is on Hamilton to take pole position on Saturday.
TO WIN: Sebastian Vettel 11/4
Vettel has yet to win the Canadian Grand Prix, so he will be looking to add a win at the popular race to his ever expanding repertoire. He’s started from the front a couple of times, so a bet on pole at 5/2 wouldn’t be unwise, but with Mercedes dominating qualifying this year I’d rather put my money on the Red Bull to take a win, as the car is quick on race day, performing better over a long distance than the tyre-hungry Mercedes. Vettel now has a sturdy lead in the Championship after his second place in Monaco and he will definitely be looking to increase that lead by twenty-five points this weekend.
Think we've got it wrong? Well leave your comments below and tell us how you think this one is going to play out.