Canadian Grand Prix Tips and Preview by James Punt
The Formula 1 season has been dominated by Hamilton, Bottas and Mercedes. They have won all six races so far, 4 wins for Hamilton and 2 for Bottas. Hamilton heads the standings with 137 points, Bottas has 120 points and it is a yawning 38 point gap back to Vettel in 3rd. So, is there any chance of an upset this weekend? James Punt has previewed the race in great detail, check out his Canadian Grand Prix tips below.
Canadian Grand Prix Tips and Preview
The Formula 1 roadshow crosses the Atlantic this weekend for the Canadian GP in Montreal. The weather forecast is for dry sunny and warm weather all weekend. Temperatures will be in the mid to high 20’s on Saturday and Sunday which should help teams like Ferrari and Haas get their tyres warmed up and into the right operating window.
The track is mostly made up of straights linked together by chicanes, one slow hairpin and just a few corners in the first part of the lap. It rewards good straight line performance, good braking and traction out of the chicanes. It’s a fast low downforce circuit which should be Ferrari friendly. It is not unlike Baku without the fiddly bits.
Circuit Could Suit Ferrari
The Ferrari car is mint in a straight line but it hates corners and it hates cool weather. So with nice, warm sunny weather and plenty of straights Vettel and Leclerc should be at the races this weekend. It doesn’t mean they will win of course, Ferrari find new ways to lose as a matter of course but it is very much a circuit on which they should be competitive.
The Mercedes is a better car, maybe not as good in a straight line but it is hardly a slouch in that department and Mercedes are due to introduce a new upgraded power unit this weekend. Ferrari has already had their first power unit upgrade so we may see the performance of their power units converge a little this weekend.
Red Bull has never done that well here as they have been down on power for years. Ferrari powered customers such as Haas should see the benefit of all that power as well.
Hamilton is a track specialist. He won his first F1 race here and has a total of six wins and six pole positions. Sebastian Vettel also has a good track record with two wins and four poles. Bottas has been on the podium for the last four years.
Hulkenberg Has A Good Record At This Track
Of the midfield drivers Hulkenberg has been very consistent here in recent years with form figures of 5/8/8/8/7 for the last five years. Raikkonen has been in the top 10 for the last seven years but nobody else stands out.
The battle for pole and the race win looks to be between Mercedes and Ferrari this weekend. Red Bull still a little ham strung by the power deficit between Honda and Mercedes and Ferrari. In the Turbo Hybrid era Mercedes has scored 167 points here, Ferrari 108, Red Bull 102, Williams 46, Racing Point 39, Renault 14, McLaren 14, Toro Rosso 6 with just 1 apiece for Haas and Alfa Romeo.
With Ferrari’s straight line advantage they should be closer to or possibly ahead of Mercedes. The Mercs will likely be quicker in sector 1 as it has the most corners, sector two should be close but expect Ferrari to rule the final sector. Mercedes new power unit could of course change that in sector three but they expect a difficult weekend. Difficult for Mercedes probably means they don’t expect another 1-2 finish.
Bottas Has Closed The Gap To Hamilton
Bottas is much closer to Hamilton’s performance level this season, especially in qualifying where it is 3-3. This is a Hamilton stronghold and his late braking style is effective into the many chicanes. However Bottas is no slouch here and expect the two to be very close once again but Hamilton has to be favourite for being the quicker Mercedes this weekend.
Ferrari should have an overall pace advantage and the warmer weather will help but can you trust them not to screw things up again? It is very hard to expect anything but more fumbles. How they managed to get Leclerc out of qualifying in Q1 at Monaco was pure Ferrari. They owe him big time. If their car has a 0.5 second advantage they might just about pull off a win but they are their own worst enemy.
Ferrari have had just one pole position this season and only one other front row start so they are hard to fancy for pole. Leclerc has generally been lacking in qualifying, not helped by his team of course but it isn’t the strongest part of his game at the moment.
Hamilton is the 2.25 favourite but the odds look about right given threats from his team mate and perhaps Ferrari.
Canadian Grand Prix Tips: Four Drivers In With A Shout
For the race itself it is much the same. We should have four contenders, Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel and Leclerc. Mercedes are in total control of the season and have seen off Ferrari every time. Even on a track with a probable advantage for Ferrari a Mercedes win looks more likely.
Again Hamilton is the 2.25 favourite. Bottas is 3.75 but he has won two races to Hamilton’s four. Vettel is 5.00 and Leclerc 6.50. The e/w places are first and second only and it must be pointed out that Vettel hasn’t actually crossed the line higher than 3rd place so far in 2019 and neither has Leclerc. There is no real value in the pole and win markets so far.
Red Bull are likely to be the third best team again, ready to pick up the scraps if any of the top 4 has a problem.
Sainz Hitting Form
The midfield continues to be fairly fluid with different teams doing well at different tracks. Carlos Sainz has hit a good run of form for McLaren with three consecutive top 8 finishes. Toro Rosso has started to move up the table as they are getting more out of their package now. This has not been a good track for them however with just two top 10’s in the last five years.
Kimi Raikkonen’s consistent start to the season has derailed somewhat and after four straight points’ finishes he has failed to score in the last two. Qualifying pace has dropped off but Kimi has a solid record here and with an upgraded Ferrari power unit Alfa Romeo should be in better shape this weekend.
Haas arguably have the fastest car outside of the big three teams. The problem is that they have struggled with the tyres much like Ferrari themselves. They do go better on the softer compounds and we have the softest ones available again this weekend. Combined with decent weather they look to have everything in place to have a strong weekend. Their record in Montreal however has been very poor with just a single point from three races. This season both drivers have managed just two top 10 finishes each which bearing in mind how many times they have qualified in the top ten is a poor return.
Canadian Grand Prix Tips: Perez Looks A Decent Price
Racing Point have had a disappointing season so far, only really getting it all together in Baku with track specialist Perez qualifying 5th and finishing 6th. Stroll has been very poor in qualifying and both drivers have really struggled in the last two races with poor qualifying performances and no points.
The team are much more optimistic about their chances this weekend. It has been a reasonably good circuit for them in the past and being Canadian owned they will want a good showing. Stroll was 9th for Williams two years ago but his qualifying woes are off putting. Perez is their best driver and while he hasn’t been brilliant here he has been in or around the top 10 for the last five years (11/11/10/5/14).
Canadian Grand Prix Tips: 3 points Perez to finish in the top 10 @ 3.25 with William Hill
Carlos Sainz is doing a fine job at the improving McLaren. They were looking over the cliff edge for the last few years but operationally they have improved, they have beefed up key personnel and the car is a considerable improvement.
It may only have a Renault power unit but the car is slippy through the air. Who was fastest in sector 1 in Barcelona with its long straight? A Ferrari perhaps, Mercedes or a Haas? No it was Carlos Sainz in his McLaren. That bodes well for this weekend.
Sainz Looks A Bet
Sainz was driver of the day for me in Monaco and finishing 6th in a car that they expected to struggle with was a major triumph. The car was slow in practice but the team came up with a set up change which worked wonders. That suggests they are understanding their package better now and they are moving forward. It is an optimistic bet but Sainz is a steady driver who gets his car home more often than not.
He is a bit of a dark horse this weekend and if Haas do their usual thing of qualifying well but racing poorly then he is in a good position to be best of the rest. If any of the top 6 drivers has a problem he could be the man to take 6th place. He has been 7th, 8th and 6th in the last three races and he is worth a small bet at decent odds.
Canadian Grand Prix Tips: 1 point Carlos Sainz to finish in the top 6 @ 6.00 with Sky bet