Welcome to one of F1’s best-loved venues. The Canadian Grand Prix is held in spectacular scenery and the atmosphere tends to be one of the most exciting, whilst the high-speed track with several fast, slippery corners usually makes for some dramatic and exciting racing. The track, named after the late, great, Giles Villeneuve, should provide some good action this weekend.
For two drivers on the grid, this track holds particular importance. Lewis Hamilton took his first F1 win here ten years ago, and Daniel Ricciardo claimed his first F1 victory here in 2014. It seems highly unlikely Ricciardo will repeat that feat on Sunday – the Red Bull just doesn’t have the engine power to live with the Mercedes’ or Ferraris, and given the low-grip nature of the circuit, and the ultra-soft tyres on use, Hamilton might struggle as well. Mercedes have not excelled on the ultra-softs this season, so things point toward another Ferrari win here.
Still, the high-speed nature of this venue might give Mercedes a slight edge. The long Casino Straight and the start/finish straight are very much about power, and there are long, gentle curves that will also test the engine grunt. Where Ferrari hold the advantage is in the sharper curves – turns 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 and the final chicane that is 12 and 13, are areas where I would expect the Ferraris, especially on the ultra-softs, to be stronger.
One thing that might go in Hamilton’s favour is how much he enjoys this track. He has won five times in Canada, including the last two times out, so he has a good understanding of what it takes to do well here. It remains to be seen if he can overcome the issues that have hampered Mercedes so far this season.