Grand Prix du Canada/Canadian GP
Race Date: 8 June 2014
Circuit Name: Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve
Number of Laps: 70
Circuit Length: 4.361 km
Race Distance: 305.270 km
Lap Record: 1:13.622 – R Barrichello (2004)
Most Wins (Drivers): Michael Schumacher (7)
Most Wins (Constructors): Ferrari (13) & McLaren (13)
This week the Formula 1 circus rolls into Montréal for the seventh race on the 2014 calendar. Mercedes will be looking to continue their domination of the season while Red Bull and Ferrari will be hoping to close the gap on the runaway Silver Arrows.
The Canadian Grand Prix (known in French as Grand Prix du Canada) was first held in 1961 and became part of the Formula 1 World Championship in 1967. In the 1960s and 1970s, the event was held at either Mosport Park in Ontario or the Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Québec. Since 1978 it has been run at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montréal; a demanding track with its high-speed runs surrounded by potentially high-risk rails and concrete walls, the most notorious of which being the “Wall of Champions” at the final turn. The infamous wall got its name after three former Formula 1 World Champions (Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve) all crashed into the wall in 1999. Since then, champions from across Motorsport have continued to fall victim to the iconic wall.
Mercedes-powered cars are expected to set the pace at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, with the track’s several high-speed sections favouring their power. Red Bull are expected to continue to struggle as the Renault power units lack the performance of their Mercedes counterparts and this race is based predominately on straight line performance. But despite their issues, the surprise package so far has been the performance of Daniel Ricciardo, with two podium finishes and Mercedes’ closest threat. Even Red Bull boss Christian Horner has been taken aback by his ability. So where does this leave reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel? We know what he is capable of in a competitive car, but this season his RB10 has been anything but competitive. Will Vettel continue to be dogged with reliability issues, or will Canada kick start his title defence?
Ferrari will introduce a planned upgrade package this weekend, running their engines with more aggressive settings to gain extra power. McLaren are also hoping to take a step forward in Canada with their own upgrades, combined with a new philosophy aimed at changing the direction of the team and its approach to Formula 1 racing. As for the rest, can anyone from Force India, Williams or Lotus bring something unexpected to the table and spoil the Mercedes party?
But the team everyone will be watching is Mercedes as its two drivers battle each other in their own mini Grand Prix. Can Lewis Hamilton regain the edge over Nico Rosberg with a fourth Canadian GP (he previously won in 2007, 2010 and 2012)? Or will the German, whose best result here was a fifth place last year, continue to show his teammate and the world that he is definitely not a “Number 2” driver? With twelve races remaining after this weekend, if anyone is to stand up and challenge the Mercedes juggernaut they must mount their challenge now before the Silver Arrows bank too many more wins and put the Championship beyond a doubt.
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