• Matthieu Piekarski

#12 Canada GP Preview

Welcome everyone to Montreal and more importantly to the 7th Grand Prix of the season at the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit.

Leaving behind all the Mercedes Strategy fiasco from Monaco, which in the end we found out thanks to additional team radio releases, that Lewis Hamilton is equally to blame in the wrong strategy call to pit during the safety car deployment. I maintain my statement from the last post in regards to Lewis’s misfortune. Now let’s get back to racing! The 4.361 km long track might seem simple, but it is a very challenging track both mechanically and for the driver mentally.

I must begin to talk about the legendary Wall of Champions right after turn 14. Ironically, the slogan written on the wall used to be “Bienvenue au Québec (Welcome to Quebec)”, now it’s been replaced by a Rolex banner. Numerous world champions have crashed in this wall, hence the name. Current F1 drivers to have crashed in that wall are Vettel, Rosberg, Button, Maldonado, will there be a new name added to the list this weekend?

Mechanically speaking, braking will be the most observed factor throughout the weekend. This circuit is the most demanding on brakes of all season long. If you can recall, last year both Mercedes AMG drivers had an ERS (energy recovery system) problem due to brakes overheating, turning to the advantage of Daniel Ricciardo. The big question will be if we shall see this sort of problem again in 2015?

For this GP, teams will be putting much emphasis on longitudinal forces (acceleration and braking) as there aren’t long corners that need to be taken into consideration. Therefore, the demand on tyres is rated low.

Tyres for the weekend: Soft & Supersofts. The time difference between both compounds are in the region of 1.0-1.2 seconds / lap.

  • Expect more tyre degradation than in Monaco

  • Low-grip surface and bumpiness are tyre challenges as this is a temporary circuit

  • Possibility for interesting tyre strategies to be put in action during the race

Weather has played an important factor in the past with the most memorable win in 2011 of Jenson Button in the longest F1 race of all time (more than 4hours) and 6 safety cars deployment. This year on Friday the forecast suggest rain, while Saturday will be sunny and Sunday cloudy with a developing possibility of rain.

Things to watch out for:

  • Limited run-off on the circuit will be a disadvantage for those not finding confidence in their cars.

  • 60% Chances for a Safety Car

  • Great overtaking possibilities in Turn 10 and the DRS zone straight after.

  • McLaren will suffer greatly speed wise, their engine upgrade did not focus on performance but on efficiency & reliability. I doubt they will score points again this weekend.

  • Ferrari is reportedly bringing an engine upgrade with an added 30bhp, enough to match Mercedes AMG performance wise?

  • Williams will hopefully appear much stronger than in Monaco, as the circuit is more suited to the specific of their cars. They brought an upgraded package this weekend.

  • If either Lewis or Nico, claim pole this weekend. Mercedes AMG will mark their 18th consecutive pole, Williams is still the record-holder with 24 consecutive poles between 1992 and 1993.

  • Can Sauber hold on to their 5th Constructor Championship place, despite not brining any major update until end of August (in Hungary)?

  • Canada is often host to numerous crashes (last year between Perez and Massa) and the most spectacular of all Kubica in 2007.

  • Top speed of 347 km/h with DRS open.

  • How will the brakes systems cope reliability wise this weekend?

  • 60% of the lap is down on Full Throttle.

  • 24 sec is the minimum pit-stop time gap in order to retain the position.

  • I am betting on a 2 target pit stop strategy for Sunday’s race.

  • Starting on Supersoft

  • 1st change for Soft

  • 2nd stop ending with Supersoft

  • In the last 10 Montreal races, the pole-man has been victorious only on 4 occasions. So whoever gets pole saturday, has 60% chances of not winning the race.

Predictions for the weekend:

This one depends on numerous factors. The first factor that now I take into serious consideration is whether Nico’s wife (Vivian) will be present (despite being 7 months pregnant) or not this weekend, if she is my bet is on Nico. Statistically speaking, she has attended the Spanish & Monaco GP and both times Nico has won. Having a bumpy bump does bring good fortune!

But on a more serious note, the king of Canada after Michael Schumacher (7 wins) is Lewis Hamilton (with 3 wins). Following Monaco, Lewis has a revenge to take in order to bounce back and claim a fourth Canadian GP win.

We won’t know until FP3, whether Ferrari’s engine upgrade will have closed their gap to Mercedes AMG. One thing I am certain of, is that if both Mercedes AMG drivers have similar problems as last year, then you can bet Ferrari will be there to grab on to whichever opportunity presents itself.

I expect a 1-2 Mercedes AMG win this weekend, if everything goes smoothly (which I secretly hope not, just to spice up the show).

Bet Quotes for the winner of the #CanadaGP (unfortunately, don’t expect any surprising quotes for this weekend)

1.Lewis Hamilton 1.35

2. Nico Rosberg 1.90

3. Sebastian Vettel 5.00

4. Kimi Raikkonen 10.00

Enjoy the Canadian Grand Prix!

ps: if you are in Montréal, you must try the local delicalies such as the Poutine fries, absolutely delicious!

ps #2: If you haven’t done so already, please take 20mins of your time (do it during FP1 as due to the rain, there will be limited run) in order to complete the GPDA Fan Survey. The survey ends Sunday after the race. Every voice counts!

Click here to complete it:


Don’t forget to follow me throughout the weekend for pics and a roundup of the weekend’s paddock gossip on my Twitter: @m_piekarski

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