The Checkered Flag looks ahead to this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, round 7 of the 2015 Formula 1 season.
Montreal plays host to round seven of the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship this weekend, with the fallout from the Monaco Grand Prix still fresh in everybody’s minds.The 4.361KM Circuit Gilles Villeneuve hosts its thirty-sixth race this weekend, with the track having made its first appearance on the calendar back in 1978, a race won by the driver the circuit is now named after, Gilles Villeneuve.
Lewis Hamilton will arrive in Canada wondering just how a dominant display in Monaco saw him finish only third, with the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team (driver included) making a tactical error to pit during the safety car period. The Briton has three previous Canadian Grand Prix victories, including in his rookie season back in 2007, and will be looking to return to the top step of the podium this weekend.
Team-mate Nico Rosberg took advantage of Hamilton’s slip-up in Monaco to claim his second victory in a row, and his third Monte Carlo triumph in three years. The German lost a near-certain win in Canada twelve months ago with a car issue, but will be looking to win a hat trick of races for the first time in his Formula 1 career this weekend.
Sebastian Vettel also took advantage of Hamilton’s slip-up in Monaco to claim second, with his Scuderia Ferrari team continuing to be the closest challengers to Mercedes. The German driver won this event back in 2013, but while a win this year will not be easy, Vettel could and should be the driver Mercedes will worry about the most.
The same cannot be said for Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen right now, who has struggled in recent races in qualifying and has suffered during the subsequent races as a result. His stirring drive to second in Bahrain is a distant memory, and with the Finnish driver fighting for his Ferrari career, he will need to raise his game once more, starting this weekend in Canada on a track he won at in 2005.
The Williams Martini Racing team endured a terrible weekend in Monaco, with neither Valtteri Bottas nor Felipe Massa coming anywhere close to qualifying or finishing inside the top ten, but the team insist their performance two weeks ago was specific to the Monte Carlo track, with both drivers hopeful of returning to their assumed position as the third best team in F1 this weekend.
The Infiniti Red Bull Racing team had their best weekend of the season in Monaco, with Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo finishing fourth and fifth, but with their Renault power unit, they might struggle to match that performance in Montreal. Ricciardo will have the extra confidence this weekend having taken his first Formula 1 race victory at this event twelve months ago.
The same power unit powers sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso, with rookie drivers Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen likely to also struggle, especially compared to recent races where both drivers have qualified strongly inside the top ten.
Romain Grosjean saw his three-race points scoring run ended following a clash with Verstappen in Monaco, but both he and Lotus F1 Team team-mate Pastor Maldonado will be looking to put behind them their disappointments to return to the top ten this weekend, with Maldonado still seeking his first points of 2015.
The Sauber F1 Team look to have been out-developed in recent races, but Felipe Nasr grabbed two points in Monaco, and both he and team-mate Marcus Ericsson are hopeful of taking advantage of their Ferrari power units to have strong weekends in Montreal.
The Sahara Force India team had a positive Monaco, with the layout of the circuit helping their under-developed car, but Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg might struggle this weekend to have as good a result in Montreal on a circuit with completely different characteristics.
The McLaren-Honda team finally secured their first points of 2015 in Monaco, with Jenson Button finishing a creditable eighth, but the team may struggle to emulate that performance around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Both Button and team-mate Fernando Alonso are former winners in Canada, but any thoughts of a victory this year will not be in anyone’s minds within the team.
The final team on the grid continue to be the Manor F1 Team, who are now the only team not to have scored a point in 2015. Roberto Merhi finally beat Will Stevens to the chequered flag in Monaco, while the team continue to have a 100% finishing record for every race they have started.