F1/Round 7: Preview of the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix and Starting Positions

Race starts at 2:10 pm Montreal time/2:10 am Malaysian time (Monday)

This weekend sees the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship at its one-third point as the teams gather in Montreal for Round 7- the Canadian Grand Prix. While this weekend’s race takes place at a second consecutive temporary circuit after Monaco – the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – located along the St Lawrence River, it presents teams and drivers with a very different set of challenges compared to the tight confines and low speeds of Monaco’s twisting streets.

In Montreal, there’s a series of fast straights which lead into heavy-braking corners. The high end-of-straight speeds and the stop/go nature of the circuit lead to it being classed as the season’s toughest on brakes. The frequent braking events over 70 laps of the 4.36-km long circuit lead to high temperatures within the discs and pads and the effect is compounded by the fact that the straights, particularly on the first half of the lap, do not allow sufficient time for cooling.

The temporary nature of the circuit also means that track conditions evolve significantly across the weekend and this, allied to the relatively smooth surface, means that grip is often at a premium. As such, the tyre supplier has traditionally offered its softest compounds for the Canadian Grand Prix. This year is no exception, with the supersoft and ultrasoft compounds being made available again, along with the softest of the range, the hypersoft tyre. This tyre makes its second appearance of the season after Monaco.

The last round saw the Drivers’ Championship lead of Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton reduced to 14 points as Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo joined the British driver and second-placed Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari on 2 wins each this season.

Lewis Hamilton first F1 win was in Montreal, when he was driving for McLaren in 2007.

With Montreal accenting power over aerodynamic poise, the race today (early Monday morning in Malaysia) should see the return to prominence of Mercedes and Ferrari. Vettel (who starts from pole position), Ricciardo and their respective team-mates Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen, along with Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas, might count themselves among the podium potentias.

Michael Schumacher holds the record for most Canadian Grand Prix wins, with seven. His first one came when he was driving for Benetton in 1994 and after joining Ferrari in 1996, he claimed another 6 in Montreal.

Hamilton can equal the German driver’s record today if he wins as victory here in 2017 took him to a Montreal total of six. In fact, he also scored his first-ever F1 victory at this venue, in 2007 with McLaren.

[Chips Yap]