F1 2018: Watch Canadian Grand Prix Preview, A lap around Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
The F1 circus heads to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix, round 7 of the 2018 Formula 1 season which takes place at the legendary Circuit De Gilles Villeneuve. The circuit in itself was built in 1977 and hosted its first ever Grand Prix in 1978. Following, the tragic death of Canadian F1 star Gilles Villeneuve, the circuit, then known as Île Notre-Dame Circuit, was renamed in his honour and has since then hosted all of the Canadian Grand Prix's.
Michael Schumacher holds the record for most number of wins having won 7 times but that record may be equalled this year by championship leader Lewis Hamilton. The circuit was also the scene of Jean Alesi's only Grand Prix victory back in 1997 driving for the Scuderia Ferrari. Interestingly, he won driving the Number 27 Scuderia Ferrari which also was the number of the late Gilles Villeneuve.
Video: A lap around Circuit - Gilles Villeneuve, Canadian Grand Prix 2018
Situated on a man-made island in the St Lawrence river in Montreal, its one of the shorter circuits of the year with the official track length of 4.3 km, the track in itself consists of a sections of public roads and purpose-built sections which run through the public parks circling the lake which interestingly was used for rowing in 1976 Olympics.
The track over the years has been known for exciting racing with a number of overtaking spots especially at the Turn 10 hairpin and the chicane of turns 11 and 12.
There has been little change to the track since it first hosted the Grand Prix and apart from new pit buildings which were introduced in 1988 nothing else has changed.
Getting the set-up right is a delicate act as sectors 1 and 2 have a mix of high to medium speed corners which require downforce and aerodynamic stability while sector 3 mainly consists of the long back straight and the start/finish straight, so the teams have to make compromises on the downforce levels so as not to create too much drag down the two long straights.
Also, there are number of heavy braking spots and so managing the brakes is very crucial especially during the race, more so if the drivers are stuck in traffic behind other cars.
The circuit also features the "Wall of champions", situated at the exit of turns 12 and 13 chicane, the wall is notorious for catching out many drivers especially world champions. In the 1999 Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve all crashed at the same corner thus giving it the name.
With respect to tires, Pirelli is bringing the super-soft, the ultra-soft and the hyper-soft tyres for the grand prix, and going by the degradation seen on the hyper-soft in Monaco, with Montreal being harder on the tyres compared to Monaco, the strategy battle is going to get ever so exciting especially since there is a lot of lap-time difference between the ultra-soft and the hyper-soft tyres.
Going into the Canadian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton leads the world championship over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, the point difference between them being 14 points.
Going by the circuit layout and the previous records, Mercedes are favourites going into the weekend but the Ferrari boys will be in close contention, Though Renault are bringing an engine upgrade for Montreal, don't expect Red-Bull to be as dominant as they were in Monaco, particularly through the final sector which has the long back straight.
The Mercedes and the Ferrari engine is still superior to the Renault and the Honda, so considering Montreal is a high power output circuit expect teams running Ferrari and Mercedes engines to fair better.
In the midpack, it's gonna be tight as ever, but Williams and Haas should be up among the midfield pack after their disappointing performance in Monaco, as both of those cars have a good engine package and so it should be an exciting fight in the midpack. Also, it been one of the stronger tracks for Force India team so expect them to be best of the rest after the top 3 teams.
Renault are also bringing an engine upgrade, which the team has labeled as the B-Spec engine but there's some uncertainty over whether Red-Bull will be getting the upgrade or not. Also, Montreal will see all the manufacturers introduce a new power unit for the power-hungry Montreal circuit.
First Grand Prix: 1978
Number of Laps:70
Circuit Length: 4,361 km
Race Distance: 305.27 km
Lap Record: Rubens Barrichello (1.13.622)
Most Wins: Michael Schumacher (7 wins)
Last Win: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)