“Stronger Than Ever”
Following on from last week’s race down the streets of Monte Carlo, Lewis Hamilton goes to Montreal and the Canadian Grand Prix after his victory in Monaco full of confidence. Despite recent criticism over his lifestyle and form this season, Hamilton insists he is “stronger than ever” as he looks to close the gap on teammate Nico Rosberg in the drivers’ championship.
“I've proven that I'm just as strong as I've ever been and I will be for the rest of the year, so I'm looking forward to the next chapter,” Hamilton said.
“Montreal has always been a good track for me, so hopefully I'm able to shine like I did the first time I went there in that great city atmosphere.”
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Located on the man-made Ile Notre Dame in the St Lawrence river, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a true high speed challenge with a picturesque backdrop. Having been staged at the Montreal circuit since 1978, German legend Michael Schumacher holds the record for the most wins at the circuit (7). Current world champion Lewis Hamilton has won here four times, including his first ever win back in 2007.
Originally named the Île Notre-Dame Circuit, the circuit was built and finished in 1978. In 1982, it was renamed in honor of Canadian Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve, father of Jacques Villeneuve, following his death earlier in the year. The circuit is located in a part of the city of Montreal known as Parc Jean-Drapeau.
The final sector of the lap sees cars travel alongside the Bassin olympique, a stretch of water which was used in the 1976 Olympic Games for rowing and canoeing events.
The famous last corner of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve became well known for crashes involving former World Champions. In 1999, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve all crashed into the same wall which had the slogan Bienvenue au Québec (Welcome to Quebec) on it. The wall became ironically known as the "Wall of Champions".
- The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has a length of 4.361 km, according to the official Formula One website, with the average lap taking around 75 seconds to complete.
- The races 70 laps see cars complete a distance of 305.270 km, with the grand prix usually lasting between 90 and 95 minutes.
- The lap record is held by former Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello, who set a time of 1:13.622s on Lap 68 of the 2004 Canadian Grand Prix.
- Apart from Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen (2005),Fernando Alonso (2006), Jenson Button (2011) and Sebastian Vettel (2013) are the only current drivers to win at the track.
- The longest race in F1™ history took place here in 2011, when it took Jenson Button 4h 4m 39.537s (which included a two-hour rain break) to complete the race. Jenson Button prevailed in the most dramatic of circumstances, fighting back from 21st on the road to pass Sebastian Vettel on the final lap.
Who’s Your Money On?
A Mercedes driver. It’s as simple as that. Though Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen have shown huge promise in the first six races of this season, speed will ultimately win this race.
Ruing his luck in Monaco, Championship leader Nico Rosberg hopes he has used up all his bad fortune following a lowly seventh place finish in Monte Carlo. “I expected and prepared myself for some difficult races after the awesome start to the season,” Rosberg said.
Make no mistake about it though, all the momentum lies with Hamilton. After a topsy-turvy start to his season, all signs point to the three-time world champion being right back on track after his first victory this season. “I have to say how grateful I am to my mechanics for sticking at it and sticking with me after what's not been an easy start this year,” said Hamilton.
And what of arguably the best driver of his generation, Sebastian Vettel? His Ferrari is getting better, he says. Despite demonstrating the pace to do so last time out, Ferrari and Vettel have failed to win a race so far this year. After setting a blistering pace in practice in Monaco, Vettel’s fourth place finish left a lot to be desired. "This year by nature the gap is smaller, we are closer, we probably haven't had smooth races like we had in the beginning last year, so things didn't yet come together which is also our fault,” claimed Vettel.
Form is temporary and class is permanent, or so they say. With 42 wins and an improving Ferrari under him, expect Vettel to be in the shake-up this weekend in Montreal. Will he beat both Mercedes’ drivers to the checkered flag? Doubtful, but a place on the podium would represent a good result for the Italian team.
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