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Canadian Grand Prix 2016 Preview
Our scribe takes a look at this week's Canadian Grand Prix. He reckons Rosberg has got this one!
This weekend the boys and their machines will be donning their snow boots and sharpening up on their ice fishing skills as they trek further into the Northern Hemisphere to visit the great nation of Canada, where everybody is almost too polite and maple syrup flows freely.
After the chaos that embodied the race at Monaco, the top drivers are probably looking for a return to form this weekend, while the underdogs are hoping that chaos reigns once again..
Canadian Grand Prix | Sunday 12 June | Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve | 19:30
Monaco is a race track that has gained notoriety for its way of deciding who will be on the podium. Year after year, we see a mixture of bad pit strategy, safety cars, and a good old demolition derby ( American style) determining who stands on that podium when the dust settles and the pieces are picked up.
This year was no different, except for Nico Rosberg's three streak winning record at the track being decimated by his team mate Lewis Hamilton. We saw relative underdog Daniel Ricciardo snap up his first career pole in Monaco, which I applaud. However, a poor pit strategy stole his win away from him. Ricciardo had built up a 13-second lead by lap 15, in spite of the heavy rains that were lashing the track - this bad weather forced the safety car to lead the first eight laps of the race.
Ricciardo stopped on lap 23 to switch to intermediate tires as the track had started to dry off. This stop saw him cede his lead to Hamilton who had been waiting for his chance. Hamilton pitted from the lead on lap 31 for softs, then Red Bull pulled Ricciardo in again on lap 32 and made a quick decision to put him on ultra softs, this proved to be his undoing as the tires weren't even ready when Ricciardo reached his pit box.
What should have been a quick and smooth three-second pit stop turned into a torturous 13.6 second stop. Ricciardo finally managed to leave the pits as Hamilton came down the straight and the Aussie lost the lead he had fought so hard for going into the first corner.
Despite two desperate attempts to pass Hamilton later in the race, the Brit managed to claim first place, wRicciardordio trundling into second.
This is now the second race in a row where pit strategy cost Ricciardo a near-certain win, he must have given his pit team a hell of a dressing down after the race, I know I would have.
Force India popped their head up from the pack and managed to get down a great tyre strategy and really good pit timing with driver Sergio Perez. Although he started in eigth, the wily Mexican had managed to wrangle his way into third by the time the race hit halfway, he finished on the podium's final step, giving him some well deserved points.
Other than that surprising turn of events, the order barely changed from about half distance, with Ferrari driver Sebatian Vettel in fourth, followed by Fernando Alonso in the McLaren, Nico Hülkenberg in the second Force India, Rosberg in the second Mercedes, Carlos Sainz for Toro Rosso, Jenson Button in the second McLaren, and Felipe Massa taking the final point for tenth for Williams.
Top conteders Mercedes, whose car I had such hope for at the start of the season, has given them nothing but problems. The Silver Arrows suffered engine issues on both cars in qualifying, and Hamilton's problem almost kept him from setting a time in Q3.
Rosberg hit more trouble in the race with a brake temperature problem making his car so slow that he let Hamilton by on lap 16. The drivers are good we know this, the cars in the past have been excellent and known for their sturdy reliability, however, this season we have seen that reputation crack and only time will tell if the remainder season will shatter it completely.
The track at Montreal must be a real pleasure to drive on. With a circuit length of 4.361Km and 70 laps to race the total race distance is 305.27km. The track has 14 turns all in all, with most of them being quite gentle and there are long tracts of straight where drivers can really build up some speed and show their mettle.
The first DRS detection zone comes into play just after the ninth turn with drivers hitting the very rounded 10th turn shortly after and then going along a relative straight until the slight 12th turn where the first DRS activation zone starts, with a speed trap at the end.
DRS activation zone two comes after the relatively sharp 14th turn right by the pits, ending just before the tracks first turn.
Weather wise, it looks like it may not be much better than at Monaco with 19 degrees being expected on Friday with some cloud cover, Saturday it will warm up slightly with a balmy 23 degrees expected with some cloud cover and the sun poking its head out to watch the second round of qualifying.
Race day on Sunday will be the most miserable day with a high of 16 expected and lots of cloud cover and rain, so the safety car may be out in full force again this weekend.
To Win Outright
Lewis Hamilton: 11/10 | Nico Rosberg: 2/1 | Daniel Ricciardio: 13/2 | Sebastian Vettel: 9/1 | Max Verstappen: 11/1
Fastest Qualifier: Sebastian Vettel 9/1
Although Vettel has been ok this season, he hasn’t really shown us what he is made of, with 0 wins thus far. We know he has the ability and his car has the speed, he just needs a bit of luck and a good race and pit strategy. His team and him need to work in seamless harmony if he wants to have a chance at taking an outright win. And getting a good pole position is the first step to take in this.
To Win Outright: Nico Rosberg 2/1
I am going to go with the trend here and say that Rosberg will take this race, with the tricks and victories he has been showing us this season, and his wide point lead he has the confidence and the ability to have another solid showing in Canada this weekend.
Podium Finish: Lewis Hamilton 1/5
The chances are good for Hamilton to take his place on the podium for this next race in Montreal, assuming his car holds out during the race the driver will be able to easily cruise to a second, if not first.