So the Formula One circus arrives to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Canada this weekend and it needs to be seen whether the new cars will make the generally interesting Canadian Grand Prix another processional event or not.
But going into the weekend, the hype around the sport remains high especially in the wake of what transpired in Monaco and the general progression of the season.
So here’s our take at the things to look out for in the Canadian Grand Prix.
- Vettel vs. Hamilton
Now we have arrived at a track that is Lewis’s favorite hunting ground. From scoring his first win in 2007 to raking up a total of 5 wins till date, Hamilton has a certain liking for the track and after having fallen way down behind Vettel in the championship table he’d be hungrier than ever to rake up his sixth win in Canada to cut down the German’s lead and to also get closer to Michael Schumacher’s record of 7 wins on this particular track.
But things are not going to be easy as Vettel is riding aboard the SF70H which can be safely said to be the best car on the grid now. The Ferrari is small, lighter, and nimbler and can get its tires into the operating temperature right off the box. The Mercedes on the other hand has its engine advantage particularly in Qualifying trim with its ability to turn the wick up and go a tad-bit quicker than its nearest rival. With its straights set to favor the Mercedes but the intermittent chicanes allowing the Ferrari to claw back, it needs to be seen who’d emerge ahead. A win for Ferrari would mean that it would be the team with the most wins in Canada, a record it currently shares with McLaren.
- The Ferrari drama
Expect the No. 1 and No.2 drama to fare at Canada as well as the journalist would have a field day hounding Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel over the Monaco results and especially team principal Arrivabene who so far in the season has kept a mum ranging from Ferrari’s expectations and Ferrari’s achievement but I guess this time around he will have to open his mouth and make a statement to the press.
- Return of the Prodigal Son
Fernando Alonso finally returns back to his McLaren-Honda after an outing in the famous Indy 500. Indy was not a different scene for the Spaniard although as the Honda engine in the back of his Indycar went up into smoke in a similar fashion as his F1 car but he had a better competitive outing though as he ran competitively near the front of the field for as long as his race went on and even led the race for a good number of laps. Irrespective of the result, Alonso returns with far more respect as a driver than before and his Indy outing has at the very least added to his legend.
- The misery of McLaren – Honda
But in the F1 world, the once legendary alliance of McLaren and Honda is tarnishing its reputation day by day and narrative has now become bigger than the individual elements involved and with each race on it will grow bigger and bigger. With Honda failing to deliver an upgraded engine to McLaren and compounding that by saying they cannot offer a timeline for the said Upgrade, McLaren’s Zak brown has issued the ultimatum to the Japanese firm. But is it possible for McLaren to really leave Honda because doing that would mean losing the 100 million dollars that Honda provides to the Woking based team over and above the engines. Honda already has a signed deal with Sauber for next year so they are going to be here and their total investment is safe and they simply can transfer their operation from McLaren to Sauber. Yes the progress would be slow but with the engine nowhere near to the other three, this would afford Honda time to work on its formula away from the pressure. So right now the ball’s actually in McLaren’s court now.Now they have two options either Mercedes or Renault. Going with the French manufacturer would clearly mean a Customer deal and a third best engine although the progress is evident but Renault is not there with Ferrari and Mercedes, not for an year or two maybe. Going back to Mercedes would result in a back to square one situation for McLaren who left the German partnership on the grounds that they need a works engine to win in Formula One and apparently the customer Mercedes engine is said to be far off the performance level of the Works engine.
- The battle of the midfield
Always referred to as the saving grace of F1, the battle between the midfield is set to get even more intensified as teams like Force India, Williams and Haas will battle closely amongst themselves for the points finish and hot on their heels would be Renault and Toro Rosso who have the potential to outclass their faster rivals.
- The Homeboy
Whether he likes it or not, the eyes would be set on homeboy Lance Stroll, for the right reasons or wrong that is up to him. While on one hand he is expected to realizes the potential that he has shown in the junior categories and turn up a good performance at his home ground, on the other a large number of people are vouching for him to be the first driver to crash into the Wall of Champions this weekend.
- The weather
With the prediction of rain on race day, nature can play a great shuffler and we can see a mixed up grid on Sunday and with memories of the 2011 race still fresh, we definitely won’t have the longest race but we certainly can have an interesting one. And it also needs to be seen how the new cars performs in the rains and more importantly how Pirelli’s new wet tires are going to fare.
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