Alex Yoong’s Canadian Grand Prix preview

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The Canadian Grand Prix is held at the Gilies Villeneuve Circuit on the outskirts of Montreal. It’s a beautiful race that is a favourite in the paddock. Spring is in the air, the people are friendly and smiles are everywhere.

It’s also one of the two high-speed tracks on the calendar that are considered “low-downforce” – the other being the Italian Grand Prix in Monza. Its 4.3 kilometers’ long with long straights connected by chicanes or hairpins. It is a track that you can overtake on – and often times, we get exciting races here.

While it’s a high chance we’ll have another exciting race in Canada, the last one out at Monaco wasn’t bad either. We had wet, we had dry, unusual overtaking, pit stop mistakes and a brilliant win from Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton

Suddenly in one race, the Championship has come alive because with Nico Rosberg finishing seventh, the gap between the two Mercedes drivers is suddenly down to 24 points. With 15 races to go and 375 points up for grab, 24 points is nothing. Hamilton will be coming to one of his best tracks with his tail up and momentum with him. Rosberg will have to be very mentally strong this weekend if he wants to leave Canada without his points lead reduced.

Even if Hamilton does win this weekend, it’s not the end of the road for Rosberg because the reigning World Champion is always good here. However Rosberg must show better than at Monaco, where he just recently faded so badly. If Hamilton wins, the young German must still be right on his tail, pressuring him to the flag.

One of the big talking points from the last race was how Red Bull Racing messed up the last pit stop for Daniel Ricciardo – and it certainly cost the Australian his first win at Monaco. He needs to forget about it now and concentrate on moving forward. Red Bull put their hands up, and hopefully the inter-team communication is much better.

Daniel Ricciardo 3

Can Ricciardo or even his teammate, Max Verstappen, challenge for the win here? They both will have the new Renault engine this weekend, which is worth about half a second per lap around Canada. While that should put them comfortably in front of Ferrari, the general feeling is that it will still not quite be enough here at this power circuit. Renault has made great strides this year, but the Mercedes engine is still the class of the field.

Ferrari is a team under pressure now. Their season has not gone well enough for them by their high standards. They need to get on top of their qualifying form, because in the last two races, they have been very poor there. While it’s not as critical as Monaco – where you can’t overtake – it’s still vital that they show they understand where the issues are.

Over the last two races, Mercedes and Red Bull have been providing all the fireworks at the front, as it should be – and it’s vital that Ferrari join the party if they want to consider this year a success.

Alex Yoong

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