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Featured 2015 Formula One Canadian Grand Prix

Discussion in 'Formula 1 Race Comments' started by R.J. O'Connell, Jun 4, 2015.

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  1. Montreal Salut Gilles.jpg
    For nearly forty years, the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal has become one of the most thrilling races on the Formula One World Championship calendar. Millions of F1 fans around the globe have had this June weekend marked on their calendars, in eager anticipation of this Grand Prix.

    Just as the namesake of this great circuit once did in the tragically short span of his racing career, the Canadian Grand Prix has forged its reputation as a must-watch race through countless moments and popular victories that rank among Formula 1's finest.

    The switch from the ├╝ber-technical Monaco Grand Prix circuit of two weeks ago, to the high-speed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is one of the most jarring contrasts between consecutive races this year. Montreal's circuit is punishing on even the most refined and developed engines and brakes, as drivers will often drop their cars down into first and second gear to negotiate several low-speed corners and chicanes, from blistering top speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour. At these speeds, one miscalculated move can turn a brilliant race into a horrifying brush with disaster. No other Formula 1 venue has a feature known as the Wall of Champions that has struck down the likes of Jacques Villeneuve, Damon Hill, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, and even the seven-time champion Michael Schumacher.

    Canadian GP Gilles Villeneuve 78.jpg

    When Gilles Villeneuve won the inaugural Canadian Grand Prix held at this track in 1978, it cemented his legacy as the greatest driver to hail from his country, even before his title bid the following year, or the two gutsy race victories taken in '81. Though his win here came at the wheel of the number 12 Ferrari, the number 27, used in his last two seasons, has become synonymous with Villeneuve and his undying spirit. In 1985, the late Michele Alboreto took the #27 Ferrari to the top step of the podium at the track that was now named in Villeneuve's memory. A decade later, Jean Alesi, a flamboyant and aggressive driver who was beloved by the Tifosi just as Villeneuve was a generation before him, but so bitterly unfortunate in half a decade driving for the Scuderia - finally broke through with an emotional win at the Canadian Grand Prix, driving that same #27 Ferrari to victory on his 31st birthday. The win would stand as Alesi's one and only Grand Prix triumph, yet twenty years later, it is still celebrated to this day.

    At some F1 venues, a race is usually decided at the very first corner of the first lap, or even in qualifying the day before. Here in Montreal, the victor is often uncrowned until the bitter end. Nigel Mansell seemed all but assured of a crushing win in 1991, but as he waved to the crowd in celebration, his car stalled on the last lap, giving his long-time nemesis Nelson Piquet the final victory of his F1 career. Twenty years later, torrential rains hit Montreal, and the Canadian Grand Prix became a four-hour epic that was decided on a last lap pass, when Sebastian Vettel ran out of dry line at turn six, allowing Jenson Button to go through to the lead for the signature victory of his storied career.

    And just last year, Montreal staged another thrilling race for the ages in the closing laps, as the mighty Mercedes-Benz team showed that they were far from invincible even in their most dominant season. The track's penchant for destroying brakes ended Lewis Hamilton's race early. Then his teammate Nico Rosberg was struck with an ERS failure, weakening his W05 Hybrid. Rosberg drove valiantly to fend off the field behind him, but in the end, it was Red Bull Racing's new star, Daniel Ricciardo, who surged through into victory, the first of his career, and one that was eagerly celebrated as the Formula 1 world witnessed the birth of a new superstar.

    Daniel Ricciardo 2014 Canadian GP.jpg

    Two weeks ago, Mercedes again proved fallible in Monaco, when Hamilton and his team suffered a well-coordinated brain cramp and made the decision to pit from the lead under a safety car, giving the lead of the race to his teammate Rosberg at a circuit where track position is at a premium like nowhere else. Rosberg sailed off to his third consecutive Monaco Grand Prix victory, while a distraught Hamilton could only look into the vanishing horizon as a commanding win withered to a bittersweet third place. If any circuit can spark a determined fight back for the two-time champion, Montreal is the place - he's a three-time winner in Canada, which includes Hamilton's very first Formula 1 victory in the 2007 race, in only his sixth start.

    In a race where speed and power are so crucial, Ferrari and Honda each bring significant engine upgrades to Montreal. Sebastian Vettel is a former winner at this track, and even though Ferrari haven't won here since the last of Schumacher's seven Montreal wins in 2004, a rejuvenated Vettel seems up to the task of restoring the honor of Ferrari in Canada, as does his teammate Kimi Raikkonen, a former Canadian GP winner in his own right. For McLaren Honda, their focus is simply to continue a grueling ascent up the running order. In Monaco, Jenson Button finally secured the team's first points of 2015 - it was an eighth place finish. Both he and his two-time World Champion teammate Fernando Alonso look to continue McLaren's push towards the front, but the former champions and their team know that their task is far from complete, and the McLaren faithful may be happy to salvage a single championship point from a circuit that still works to their disadvantage.


    For this writer's ever-dwindling money, no battle in the constructors' championship is hotter than that for fifth place. Scuderia Toro Rosso have the overwhelming advantage over Lotus, Force India, and Sauber when it comes to pace and performance, but poor reliability has cost them several precious points for their sensational rookie duo of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz. But it's another rookie, Felipe Nasr of Brazil, who has elevated Sauber F1 Team to a tremendous fifth place in the standings - one place ahead of Force India, who are enjoying a great run of success from Sergio Perez, a former podium finisher at Montreal. Romain Grosjean has been stellar for a struggling Lotus team, but Pastor Maldonado has had a difficult start to his 2015 season, and the polarizing Venezuelan must now start to deliver results to reward his raw pace.

    The Williams Martini Racing team of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa have been steady, yet unspectacular so far in 2015. But they shined their brightest on high-speed tracks like this last year, and today they have hope that this race will be the start of a resurgence back to the podium. But all eyes will be on Daniel Ricciardo as he aims to go back-to-back in Montreal. He was a dark horse for victory last year, but this year he may be an even bigger underdog, as his Red Bull team has struggled to keep pace with Mercedes and Ferrari all season.

    But Ricciardo and Red Bull know that they can never be written off for victory, for the Canadian Grand Prix has taught Formula 1 fans all around the world to expect the unexpected at every corner.

    Will Hamilton rebound from the disappointment in Monaco? Will Rosberg use the momentum of his Monaco victory to move back into the title fight? Or will the field of drivers like Vettel, Raikkonen, Bottas, and the reigning champion Ricciardo stun Mercedes here yet again?
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    • Winner Winner x 2
  2. I can't wait !!!!!!
  3. If this race is another bad race I will cry, of all the tracks that consistently provides good racing, this is the one, if they can't properly race here, all hope is probably lost until Brazil or USA
  4. Come on mate, we had some good races this year, Malaysia, Bahrain and Spain.
    Besides we also got Italy, Hungary and Japan as well, so I think it's gonna a be good year.
  5. Malaysia was good, I accept, I think Bahrain would have been better if the director shown us where the action that he missed, Spain nah I found Spain pretty boring, Italy should be good, Japan and Hungary are on and off, Hungary tends to be rather dull and Japan some years its good, some years its pretty poor, I only said Brazil because that is consistently a great race and USA because so far that has been pretty consistent with decent races then again its only had 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Hamilton looks pretty strong for another weekend, I hate to admit it but
    it seems that only divine intervention or human stupidity can prevent him
    from clinching another title.
    • Winner Winner x 1
  7. Lotus look pretty good in practice. But points aren't paid on Friday.
  8. Bram

    Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    What? No pace car yet :)
  9. Yannick Van Broeck

    Yannick Van Broeck
    Premium Member

    Sadly not :-(
  10. No its sun, if we had got a few rain drops then FIA would have called the safety car...
  11. If we need a top driver to be at the back to make it a slightly good race at THIS track of all tracks, then F1 lost all its momentum it had began to gain in 2014
    • Agree Agree x 2
  12. Also I thought the engineers weren't allowed to tell a driver how far they had to lift and coast as that is driver coaching?
    • Agree Agree x 3
  13. Yeah, and they told Hamilton that Rosberg is Ok on fuel but have to manage brakes, but they could not answer Rosberg when he askd about Hamiltons fuel?...
    • Agree Agree x 2
  14. The truth is that has not banned engineers from telling a driver how much
    fuel his teammate has, but Mercedes seem to have their own agreements
    between drivers.
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