Canadian Grand Prix preview

Formula One arrives in Montreal this weekend for the Canadian Grand Prix. All eyes will be on Lewis Hamilton as he tries to bounce back from being denied victory in Monaco.

Hamilton had led the race until lap 65 when he was called into the pits just as the safety car went out. Mercedes thought the reigning champion had more time in hand than he actually did, leaving him third when he emerged back onto the track. Hamilton was unable to find a way past Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, now running second, leaving Nico Rosberg free to claim an unexpected third straight win in Monaco.

To say Hamilton wasn’t happy about the situation would be a big understatement. The team apologised and Rosberg admitted Hamilton should have won the race, but all’s fair in love and war and Rosberg was happy to take the win and close his deficit to championship leader Hamilton down to 10 points.

The Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve has been a good hunting ground for Hamilton, taking three wins including his first in F1 back in 2007. Teammate Rosberg, by contrast, has a best finish of second. Old friends they may be, but the pair seem to have abandoned the bonhomie of (some of) last year. The intra-team intrigue will be sky-high.

But the Canadian race is notoriously unpredictable. Even if the weather holds out, the circuit can be a car-breaker, with many unforgiving walls waiting to catch out anyone who slips up. So it won’t necessarily be a Mercedes walk-over.

You can’t read too much into apparent speed at Monaco as it’s a different animal, but Vettel and Ferrari seemed to show improved pace relative to the Mercedes in the principality, as did the Red Bulls. McLaren had a vastly better race as well, although that only translated to the mid-field. Whether or not they can carry that speed through to Canada remains to be seen. But if it can, it could give a clue how the rest of the season will pan out.

Elsewhere, the third/customer car debate rumbles and might even be gaining momentum, and ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone has suggested the F1 Strategy Group – consisting of team managers, Ecclestone himself and FIA President Jean Todt – should be abolished as it never actually decides anything, and its remit for setting out the future direction of the sport passed entirely to Ecclestone and Todt. There might be something in that, though Ecclestone might not be the man for the job, if many of his out-of-date views are anything to go by.

The Canadian Grand Prix takes place on Sunday 7 June. For more information click here

Drivers’ Championship standings after 6 races

  1. Lewis Hamilton — Mercedes — 126 points
  2. Nico Rosberg — Mercedes — 116
  3. Sebastian Vettel — Ferrari — 98
  4. Kimi Raikkonen — Ferrari — 60
  5. Valtteri Bottas — Williams-Mercedes — 42
  6. Felipe Massa — Williams-Mercedes — 39
  7. Daniel Ricciardo — Red Bull-Renault — 35
  8. Daniil Kvyat — Red Bull-Renault — 17
  9. Felipe Nasr — Sauber-Ferrari — 16
  10. Romain Grosjean — Lotus-Mercedes — 16
  11. Sergio Perez — Force India-Mercedes — 11
  12. Carlos Sainz Jr. — Toro Rosso-Renault — 9
  13. Nico Hulkenberg — Force India-Mercedes — 6
  14. Max Verstappen — Toro Rosso-Renault — 6
  15. Marcus Ericsson — Sauber-Ferrari — 5
  16. Jenson Button — McLaren-Honda — 4
  17. Fernando Alonso — McLaren-Honda — 0
  18. Roberto Merhi — Manor-Ferrari — 0
  19. Will Stevens — Manor-Ferrari — 0
  20. Pastor Maldonado — Lotus-Mercedes — 0

Constructors’ Championship standings after 6 races

  1. Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team — 242 points
  2. Scuderia Ferrari — 158
  3. Williams Martini Racing — 81
  4. Infiniti Red Bull Racing — 52
  5. Sauber F1 Team — 21
  6. Sahara Force India F1 Team — 17
  7. Lotus F1 Team — 16
  8. Scuderia Toro Rosso — 15
  9. McLaren Honda — 4
  10. Manor Marussia F1 Team — 0

By Only Motors

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