Canadian Grand Prix

2015 Canadian Grand Prix: Race Analysis

Hamilton Notches Fourth Canada Win

After the disappointment of having victory snatched from his grasp in Monaco, Lewis Hamilton responded in fine fashion, taking victory in a tense game of cat and mouse at the head of the field with teammate Nico Rosberg. The gap may have fluctuated but ultimately, it seemed as though the championship leader was in control of proceedings. Elsewhere, Valtteri Bottas claimed his first podium of the season, demoting Ferrari off of the rostrum for the first time this season. While some commentators suggested that the race lacked the typical Canadian sparkle, I beg to differ.



2015 Canadian Grand Prix: Saturday Analysis

After finishing at the bottom of the pile in FP3, Lewis Hamilton reversed his fortunes in fine style this afternoon, claiming his 44th career pole and his 4th in Montreal. The Briton took the spoils by a substantial margin of three tenths over teammate Nico Rosberg, who, despite looking strong throughout the day, grappled with a lack of rear grip in the final segment and was unable to challenge his teammate’s supremacy. Some of the leading stories of the day, however, played out in the opening eighteen minutes of qualifying, as power problems for Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel saw them both fall at the Q1 stage.


2015 Canadian Grand Prix: Friday Analysis

A fortnight on from the Monaco debacle which cost him a race victory, Lewis Hamilton has arrived in Canada with intent. The Briton attacked the circuit today, topping the timesheet in both sessions and experiencing a handful of excursions along the way. In what was a truncated FP2 session – rain effected for the second race weekend in succession – Mercedes were the only team to take a gamble on the wet track and with Hamilton’s day ending in the Turn Eight barriers, their rivals decision to remain in the garage was somewhat vindicated.



2015 Canadian Grand Prix: Weekend Preview

The F1 tour bus parks in Montreal this weekend, as the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve prepares to host the Canadian Grand Prix for the 32nd time. The track, encapsulated in the picturesque setting of a man-made island, has certainly delivered some spectacular action over the years, with its characteristics conducive of excellent racing – long straights, followed by slow corners and kerbs which reward bravery – it is a formula which almost invariably delivers.




New Construction Suffers More Delays

Pirelli’s 2013 season seems to be one miscalculation followed by another. The Italian tyre manufacturer announced that the new construction tyres would be available and used throughout the Canadian Grand Prix weekend onwards. After they realized that their ambitious estimate was not set to be matched, Pirelli stated that the tyre would be available in free practice sessions only. Now, Pirelli have said that they will not race their revised tyres at British Grand Prix after completing insufficient mileage in last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix practice sessions.

The new construction was created to solve the delamination issues which had featured in the Bahrain and Spanish Grand Prix. Pirelli designed the new tyre to be introduced on safety grounds, in order to comply with regulations prohibiting any compound alterations in season.While Pirelli have been busy designing the new rubber, certain sections of the paddock have been campaigning against any changes to the current tyre selection. Lotus and Force India have deemed the proposals as unfair as they have been the two teams to engineer their cars to deal with the high degradation levels. Force India are now surly even less likely to comply considering that Paul Di Resta managed an awe-inspiring 54 laps on a set of medium compound tyres in Sunday’s race.
However, the decision regarding the introduction of the new construction will not have to be made as soon as was first believed. Pirelli have once again delayed the full unveiling of their new tyres after not completing the required amount of laps in FP1 and FP2 in Canada. The wet conditions meant that little testing mileage was completed by teams on the prototype tyres and as such, they are not ready for the Silverstone deadline.
Pirelli motorsport boss, Paul Hembery announced the news yesterday, stating; “We are not going to race with the new tyre as we did not get much of a chance to test it in Canada. We have some internal specification changes – process changes – that we think will go the full way to curing the delamination issue that we have seen. That is good from many points of view, as it means teams will be working with the same tyre they started the year with. But it is probably not good for some teams that are struggling with the front tyre.”


Canadian Grand Prix: Saturday Analysis

Following a heavily disrupted FP3, Qualifying was a relentless tale of intermediate runs, as teams failed to predict the unpredictable Montreal weather patterns. The circuit was damp throughout, which favored Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel, who put an end to Mercedes’ dominant string of Pole Positions. However, Lewis Hamilton proved just how strong he is around Canada, lining up P2 and overcoming his persistent brake issues. Performance of the day goes to Valtteri Bottas, who not only made it into Q3, but qualified an awe inspiring P3.


After yesterday’s tricky practice sessions, the teams did not receive the reprieve they desired. The session was significantly shortened to just 30 minutes following lengthy repair work to the armco barrier on the exit of turn nine after a support race accident. To compound the issues, another morning downpour had left the track damp, meaning that the slick tyres were not used until the final few minutes. 
The session began at 10:30am, (local time) which meant that schedules had to be adjusted to complete a full programme. However, as McLaren Sporting Director, Sam Micheal alluded to, the top teams only run a 40 minute schedule in FP3 sessions anyway. The fundamental issue faced was the damp track. This left many teams with a dilemma, as some considered saving the intermediate tyres. Some teams opted to either wait for the track to dry out or complete practice starts on the  extreme wet compound. Concequently, only 14 drivers had set a lap time after 15 minutes. Fernando Alonso was a notable absence from the timesheet, as he opted to run the extreme wet option. Meanwhile, Felipe Massa was setting blistering times on the intermediate compound. 
With 7 minutes remaining, Sergio Perez became the first man to head out on slick tyres, while his initial lap was merely an installation run on the medium compound. The majority left the pit lane on the super soft tyre, as the dry line was clearly visible. This drying track meant that the end of FP3 closely resembled the end of FP1, as times began to tumble. It was a case of the last driver to set a time would be towards the top of the timesheet. Hamilton, Vettel, Sutil, and Di Resta all hit the front before Mark Webber topped them all with a 1:17.895. However, Qualifying is likely to be a very different scenario.
FP3 Timesheet
01. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m17.895 7 laps
02. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m18.248 +0.353 8 laps
03. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m18.732 +0.837 7 laps
04. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m18.977 +1.082 10 laps
05. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m19.131 +1.236 6 laps
06. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m19.457 +1.562 7 laps
07. Paul di Resta Force India 1m19.496 +1.601 6 laps
08. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m19.750 +1.855 9 laps
09. Jenson Button McLaren 1m19.790 +1.895 9 laps
10. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m20.316 +2.421 8 laps
11. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m20.596 +2.701 9 laps
12. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m21.035 +3.140 12 laps
13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m21.364 +3.469 7 laps
14. Max Chilton Marussia 1m21.652 +3.757 9 laps
15. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m22.021 +4.126 14 laps
16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m22.720 +4.825 15 laps
17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m23.058 +5.163 7 laps
18. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m23.132 +5.237 14 laps
19. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m23.309 +5.414 8 laps
20. Charles Pic Caterham 1m23.620 +5.725 12 laps
21. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m24.317 +6.422 12 laps
22. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m26.195 +8.300 9 laps  

Canadian Grand Prix: Friday Analysis

Friday was a day which encapsulated Montreal’s weather patterns. As teams focused on the skies more than the track itself, scheduling the FP1 and FP2 running was especially difficult. A rain effected FP1, was followed by a reprieve, with a dry FP2 session, (despite fears of another downpour late on). Fernando Alonso claims the accolade as fastest man of the day, posting a 1:14.818 on the super-soft compound. However, Mercedes still appear to be the dominant force over a single lap.


FP1 began in inclement conditions, a key characteristic of Montreal in general. With the track littered by puddles and rivers, it was anticipated that the session would get off to a slow start. However, as conditions improved throughout practice, the times began to tumble as drivers switched to the slick tyres. The end of the session was a case of who could set their personal best latest and it was Paul Di Resta who prevailed, snatching P1 in the dying moments. 
With a rain soaked track, conditions were only going to improve if cars began to circulate. Esteban Gutierrez became the first man to brave the slippery circuit on the intermediate tyre, setting a tentative 1:34.113. Evidently this was soon to be beaten. Thirty minutes into the session and only four drivers had posted times, with Mark Webber leading the way. 
Conditions were slowly improving and times began to tumble as all 22 cars ventured out. A drying line was clearly visible, yet conditions were still not slick tyre conducing. Meanwhile, Rosberg hit the front, with Hamilton in P2 at the halfway point of the session. All was not running quite as smoothly for Williams as Valtteri Bottas took the scenic route through turn three and four. It was at this very spot which Jules Bianchi experienced difficulties just a few minutes later. He was the first casualty of the session as he went down the escape road following a seemingly innocuous lockup. Unable to work his way out, he was told to turn off his MR02 before it got too hot. Certainly a tricky start to the weekend for the French rookie.
As the slick tyres began to emerge from their blankets for the final twenty minutes, drivers had to drive with even greater caution. While the racing line was dry, it was treacherously damp off line. Williams soon forgot about Bottas’ early excursion as Pastor Maldonado became the first driver to make the easy yet costly error of running wide. At turn 3 the Venezuelan ran deep, clipping the wet patch which sent his car straight into the barrier. While no damage was sustained on any of the corners, Williams lost a vital development front wing, of which they only had two available. This wing featured out-board modifications with additional detailing, with the aim of channeling the air around the underneath the front wheel. Moreover, the cameras had been mounted on the end of the nose to increase front stability. This major update was vital to the team, yet only one remains. It would be unfair to take the wing away from Bottas for Maldonado’s error, meaning that the Venezuelan may have significantly hampered his performance across the weekend. 
The nature of the circuit meant that the marshals were unable to clear Pastor’s car, meaning that the session concluded with yellow flags in sector one. Consequently, the final timesheet was more a representation of who pushed harder in sector two and who backed off more significantly. Regardless, Paul Di Resta will take confidence away from topping the timesheet, as he edged out Jenson Button. The Force India driver recorded a strong second and third sector after being 0.9 seconds down in sector one. A fantastic start to Force India’s 100th Grand Prix.      
FP1 Timesheet

01. Paul di Resta Force India 1m21.020 10 laps

02. Jenson Button McLaren 1m21.108 +0.088 20 laps
03. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m21.258 +0.238 21 laps
04. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m21.308 +0.288 16 laps
05. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m21.608 +0.588 22 laps
06. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m22.068 +1.048 18 laps
07. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m22.402 +1.382 22 laps
08. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m22.587 +1.567 17 laps
09. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m23.047 +2.027 26 laps
10. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m23.131 +2.111 16 laps
11. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m23.341 +2.321 13 laps
12. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m23.352 +2.332 17 laps
13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m23.3e6 +2.366 19 laps
14. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m23.417 +2.397 19 laps
15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m23.957 +2.937 33 laps
16. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.054 +4.034 21 laps
17. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m25.354 +4.334 22 laps
18. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m25.753 +4.733 21 laps
19. Max Chilton Marussia 1m25.821 +4.801 19 laps
20. Charles Pic Caterham 1m27.143 +6.123 20 laps
21. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m27.522 +6.502 11 laps
22. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m29.306 +8.286 8 laps


While FP1 was all about the Canadian weather, FP2 centered firmly around brake locking. Following the rain effected session, drivers focused on finding the limit, yet this was a tricky task due to the exceedingly low track temperatures. 20 degrees was the peak surface temperature and drivers evidently struggled to find core temperature in the tyres. However, it was Fernando Alonso who made the most of the difficult circumstances, to finish P1 ahead of Lewis Hamilton. 
The session began frantically, as teams attempted to reschedule development runs as well as qualifying simulation following the damp first session. Moreover, drivers still had the opportunity to run the development tyre and gain vital data, meaning that it was set to be a stressful ninety minutes. 
The session came alive around the halfway mark, as the super-soft tyres emerged for the first time this weekend. It was these qualifying runs which would allude to a possible result tomorrow afternoon. While track temperature may have been a factor, Lotus have cause for concern as it seemed that the E21 required three laps to get sufficient carcass temperature into the tyres. Both Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean posted impressive times, yet set their personal best’s deep in their respective stints. 
During these short runs, it was Red Bull who briefly locked out the top of the timesheet, before Mercedes once again stamped their authority as kings of qualifying, as Hamilton went quickest with an impressive effort of 1:14.830. Rosberg jumped up to P3. However, it was clear that Hamilton was still struggling under braking. Throughout the session, the Brit made several lockups as he continued to come to terms with his new brake material. 
However, Hamilton’s reign at the top did not last for long, as Fernando Alonso posted a 1:14.818, edging ahead of his ex-teammate. These runs formed the final timesheet, as teams opted to examine long run performance at the end of the session. Fortunately, a few light drops of rain did not hamper proceedings and teams were able to complete their FP2 schedules. The long runs suggested that Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus are very close at the top, while Mercedes struggled for performance. However, with no information regarding fuel loads, it is important to avoid jumping to conclusions at this early stage of the weekend. 
FP2 Timesheet
01. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m14.818 48 laps
02. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m14.830 +0.012 45 laps
03. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m15.083 +0.265 40 laps
04. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m15.212 +0.394 46 laps
05. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m15.249 +0.431 46 laps
06. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m15.254 +0.436 43 laps
07. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m15.280 +0.462 41 laps
08. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m15.396 +0.578 43 laps
09. Jenson Button McLaren 1m15.422 +0.604 29 laps
10. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m15.566 +0.748 38 laps
11. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m15.599 +0.781 35 laps
12. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m15.661 +0.843 39 laps
13. Paul di Resta Force India 1m15.855 +1.037 22 laps
14. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m16.319 +1.501 46 laps
15. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m16.351 +1.533 38 laps
16. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m16.374 +1.556 40 laps
17. Esteban Gutierrez Saube 1m16.475 +1.657 45 laps
18. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m16.929 +2.111 35 laps
19. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m17.070 +2.252 41 laps
20. Charles Pic Caterham 1m17.236 +2.418 35 laps
21. Max Chilton Marussia 1m17.888 +3.070 45 laps
22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m18.392 +3.574 39 laps