What do you expect at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve?

After a two-year absence and the arrival of new technical regulations for 2022, it’s hard to know who will really be able to do well this weekend at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have had great success in recent years at Ile Notre Dame. The Briton has also won four of the last five editions of the Grand Prix, being cut short by only Sebastian Vettel in 2018.

New identities, but mixed success

Vettel also came close to winning for two consecutive years in 2019, but remember that going off the track gave him a five-second penalty for returning to the track that was deemed dangerous by the keepers. So the Ferrari driver crossed the finish line first, but the win went to Hamilton.

Moreover, this year Hamilton will try to become the most winning driver in the history of the Canadian Grand Prix. He currently has seven wins in Montreal (2007, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019), which has made him associated with Michael Schumacher (1994, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004).

However, Mercedes doesn’t hit town as a favourite. The team has a problem this season. Although Barcelona reached a new flat bottom, the gap with the leaders remained wide in Monaco and Baku. So it would be very surprising if this delay in Montreal could be erased, especially since it is a track that should not suit Mercedes. When asked in Baku about the rings that can smile on the German team, coach Toto Wolff Silverstone, Paul Rijkaard, mentioned perhaps the Red Bull Circuit, but “definitely not Montreal”.

In order to win, we must turn to Ferraris and Red Bulls, who have given us a very tight and interesting battle since the start of the season.

On paper, we can believe that the circuit in Montreal could be more suitable for Red Bull. Since the start of the season, the Red Bulls have often had an advantage on the straights, while the Ferraris are more comfortable in the corners. Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has several straights and several DRS areas which has been good news for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez since the start of the season, especially in racing.

Indeed, the start of the season also proved to us that qualifying sessions do not always indicate the result of the next day. Ferraris are particularly distinguished on one lap, and Leclerc has seized the opportunity to score six leading positions since the start of the season, including the last four.

However, in the races, the Red Bull team often showed more speed during long runs, and they were also less demanding on the tires, which allowed Christian Horner’s team to take advantage of the strategic advantage on a few occasions. That’s why, out of Red Bull’s six wins this season, only one has come from first place.

Verstappen will also try to win the first race in Montreal, who has amassed the podium in five starts during his career. As for Red Bull’s last win here, we have to go back to 2014, when Daniel Ricciardo scored the first victory of his career.

On the Ferrari side, the spotlight will be on the team after their double retirement last Sunday. Charles Leclerc will want to catch up with the standings at a circuit where he has already been successful, even if he has little experience in Montreal. In 2018 he snuck into the points with a tenth place with Alfa Romeo.

Then, in 2019, Leclerc took the second podium of his career with a third place finish.

We must not forget their teammate, Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz. Perez, by beating Monaco and finishing second in Baku, overtook Leclerc to take second place in the standings. The Mexican is doing very well and has re-positioned himself at the height of the title race.

As for Sainz, he wants to forget the start of the season without expectations, sometimes the victim of mistakes on his part, but also the victim of his team’s reliability problems. He will try to be the seventh driver in history to win the first race of his career in Montreal.

And what about Canadians?

Two Canadians will be on the track this weekend, Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi. Either way, let’s say the start of the 2022 calendar isn’t really smiling at them.

At Aston Martin, Stroll struggled to get the most out of his car, so he only finished points twice in the first eight races. His point in the ranking places him in 17th placee Drivers rank, while Sebastian Vettel is 14e After missing the first two races of the season.

Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari, Formula 1 dominance still

In his defense, the Canadian sometimes deserved better, especially at the Miami Grand Prix. After qualifying 10th, his best result of the season, Stroll had to start from the pit line due to a fuel temperature issue. Despite this issue and the connection with Kevin Magnussen, Stroll still advanced to 10th in the race.

However, Stroll has to do some work to feel more comfortable behind the wheel of his car. This is especially the case in the playoffs, his Achilles heel since the start of his career. He has defeated his teammate only twice in eight races (once against Vettel and once against Hulkenberg). The difference was especially amazing in the last two races. While Vettel hit the third quarter in Monaco and Baku, Stroll had to settle for 18e and 19e Rank.

Finally, Nicholas Latifi will finally have the chance to compete in the National Grand Prix, the one who saw the Montreal Grand Prix canceled during his first two seasons in Formula 1.

Latifi had a encouraging season last year. He collected his first points in Formula 1, ending the year with seven units on the clock. It’s no surprise that George Russell has the upper hand, but he has shown some interesting pace all season.

However, this season, Latifi, who was born in Montreal, is having a hard time adjusting to his new single-seater. There are too many players off the track, and the gap with new teammate Alexander Albon is just too big.

So the Canadian will have to find solutions to his problems. Because even if he can count on significant financial backing, his steering wheel may be at stake if results don’t improve.

Let’s hope his passing in the house brings new life into his season.



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