This weekend sees Formula 1 head to Montréalfor the 39th time, and one driver has excelled there more than any other in the current field. In fact, Lewis Hamilton has been so dominant around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve that he is the only multiple winner that will line up on Sunday afternoon.
His breakthrough victory came here in 2007, and he has won each of the last three editions – all from pole position. With six victories so far, another win on Sunday will equal Michael Schumacher’s record seven Canadian GP successes.
Scuderia Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel arrived at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve this morning – in the case of Seb, riding a bike – and now, they are all set for the challenge on one of the few remaining ‘superfast’ tracks on the calendar.
“This is quite a special place”, says Kimi “where you need a good top speed, but the most important thing is to have a good ride over the kerbs; it’s about compromising the top speed through the slowest part and the braking. It’s the first track of the year that is quite different from the others. Compared to Monaco, here you have less chances to go off track and hit the wall, but there are places you can easily lose the car and end up in the barrier, because the kerbs are quite rough here and the chicanes are taken at quite high speed. Obviously you don’t want to waste time going off the track and missing part of a session, but it’s part of the game. You want to push as much as you feel it’s ok for that moment, especially in qualifying and the race. The rest is just about figuring things out and trying, making sure that you have the right feeling to go as fast as you can. It will be interesting to see how the Hypersoft tyres will behave at this track; I tried them for a couple of runs in the winter test , but obviously the conditions are different now. I’m sure over one lap they will be very good, but how long they will last will depend on many things. It’s been very close between everybody in the past races, so I don’t expect the situation to be completely different all of a sudden. It’s impossible to know now what will happen over the weekend; tomorrow we’ll start driving and get the first feelings and then will go from there. Hopefully we’ll be there in the fight”.
Seb’s comments reflect his teammate’s point of view: “Compared to last year, we have another car and the approach is, of course, also different. It is hard to make any prediction about this weekend. A lot can depend on what the other teams can do here and on the weather as well, as it might be raining. The track is a little bit different from any other, but we think the engine can play a role here. So, let’s see where we are. We have brought some updates here, which I am sure everyone does at some point along the season: so far, we’ve had a good and efficient car on the straights and this should help. There are a couple of tricky points, but I like this track. Unlike Monaco, which is not the best place for overtaking, I think it should be different here. However, tires play a bigger role this year. We’ve done a good job so far, but there’s still a long way to go”.