F1/Rd 7: 2019 Canadian Grand Prix Preview and Starting Grid

    Sebastian Vettel to start from pole position, which he has not done since July last year. Race starts at 2:10 am Monday morning in Malaysia.

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    Race starts at 2:10 pm in Canada today/2:10 am in Malaysia on Monday

    Round 7 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship takes place across the Atlantic, at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Canada. Although the Canadian GP has been run since 1961, it was only included in the F1 calendar for the first time in 1967 and the event has been held at different venues over the years. The current venue has been in use since 1982 and this year will be the 36th year at the circuit which is named after the Canadian F1 driver who died in a crash in 1982.

    The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve mixes elements of a permanent and a street circuit, offering an exciting combination of low grip and high speeds around the 4.361-km track. Set on the artificial Île Notre Dame in the city’s St Lawrence River, the nature of the circuit is that of an elongated shape of the low-lying island, with a sequence of short straights punctuated by chicanes running up the western side, followed by a hairpin and a long back straight down the eastern edge before a final chicane leading onto the main straight.

    Downforce and brake cooling
    This configuration compels teams to sacrifice downforce in favour of straight-line speed, though the faster corners at Turns 1-2 and approaching the hairpin temper this. Thus, a set-up somewhere in medium-low part of the downforce range is required.

    The layout of the circuit also places a high demand on brake cooling, with a sequence of heavy stops into the slow corners, and very little recovery time in between. Those slow corners also place a premium on having a car with good traction on exit.

    Despite being a very different circuit, Pirelli offers the same compounds in Montreal as it did in Monaco, with the three softest tyres available. The different demands of the circuit, however, see more variation in the allocation, with the Ferrari drivers each taking 5 sets of the Medium (C4) compound, compared with just one set last time out.

    Ferrari starts from pole position
    Ferrari starts from pole position for a change and it has certainly been a while for Sebastian Vettel to be up front (the last time was in July last year).

    “Coming here, we knew that we would have better chances and we were able to confirm that. Our pace is stronger here and we are basically sure to avoid the soft tyre in the race. We’ll take it from there,” said Vettel after the final qualifying session.

    “Anything can happen [in the race] and we’ll race to find out, as simple as that. We know our competitors are very quick, especially over the distance and we’ve seen this in all the races so far, but we’re starting ahead of them and hopefully we’ll stay there and fight as hard as we can. It is important that the chance was there and we took it. But now we must confirm it in the race. So hopefully more singing!” he added.

    Sebastian Vettel has not been in pole position since July last year and a win today might see a change of fortune.

    Approaching one-third distance in the 2019 season, Mercedes’ tight hold on the top two podium positions has finally been broken, though the German team still increased their advantage in Monaco. They now leading the Constructors’ Championship with 257 points to Ferrari’s 139. In the Drivers’ Championship, consecutive victories have helped Lewis Hamilton gain a small of 17 points over Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, while extending his lead from Vettel to 55 points.

    McLaren remains the most successful team in the Canadian event with 13 victories, closely followed by Ferrari who have 12 (with 11 of those victories captured at the current venue). Among the drivers, Michael Schumacher has won the most times (7) but Lewis Hamilton has the opportunity to equal that if he wins today.

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