Canadian Grand Prix – preview
8-10 June 2018
Start time: 14:10hrs local, 19:10hrs BST, 20:10hrs CET
Race laps: 70
Tyre choice: Red Supersoft, purple Ultrasoft, pink Hypersoft
Toughest corner Turns 13 & 14, the final chicane. It’s very fast and unforgiving; the cars brake from 340km/h (211mph) to 150km/h (93mph) on entry and then accelerate up to 200km/h (125mph) by the exit. If the drivers are marginally off-line, or if they take too much kerb, they can end up hitting the outside barrier, known as the Wall of Champions.
Focus points The Baku City Circuit, scene of race four in 2018, has a long straight with a high top-speed, but the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve represents the first genuine high-speed challenge of the season. The cars exceed 300km/h (186mph) on four occasions around the lap and all of the corners are relatively slow, so it’s a tough racetrack on brakes. The focus points are traction, top speed and braking.
Biggest challenge The walls. As was the case at Monaco last time out, the proximity of the barriers means the drivers have to be very precise with their driving inputs. Miss a braking point by two metres at 300km/h (186mph) and you risk ending up in the barrier.
Braking There are seven significant braking events around the lap, four of which result in the cars shaving off more than 200km/h (124mph). The cars spend 19 per cent of the lap braking and the average deceleration is 4.3g.
Power The cars use 1.8kg of fuel per lap, which is high. This is also a very demanding circuit for the ERS, with lots of acceleration from low-speed and long periods of full throttle. The longest straight is 1.16km/0.721 miles, which is just 0.01km shorter than the longest straight of the year at the Shanghai International Circuit.
Aero Medium-to-low downforce, which is similar to Spa-Francorchamps. The engineers are forced to make a compromise between straight-line speed and braking stability. For high end-of-straight speeds you want as little downforce as possible, but to maximise braking and traction you need as much low-speed grip as possible.
“After a disappointing race in Monaco, I’m already looking forward to heading to Canada. It’s a great track and a real test for the driver and the car. It’s claimed many top drivers in the ‘Wall of Champions’ and the Safety Car often plays a role in the outcome of the race.
“I’ve always enjoyed racing in Montreal. It has the best combination of a great track, challenging street circuit characteristics, and it’s a fun city to visit. I’ve enjoyed some great races in Canada and I won there in 2006, so it’s a special place for me. Even more so this weekend, when I’ll be celebrating my 300th grand prix.
“This will certainly be a tough circuit for us, but we’re making progress with our package race-by-race. A little bit of the drama or changeable weather conditions we’ve seen in Canada so many times in the past could offer us some opportunities – it’s up to us to take advantage of every possibility.”
“I really enjoyed racing in Canada for the first time last year, and I feel well prepared to tackle the streets of Montreal again. It’s a completely different track to Monaco, but a lot of the principles are the same – narrow streets, close barriers and tight racing. I hope we can have some fun this year and get in the mix.
“I feel that we’re improving step-by-step, and I hope we can show this in Canada. We had an unfortunate situation in quali in Monaco where we had no choice but to send the car out with a small issue, and it influenced our grid slot and then the rest of the weekend. As well as solid preparation, we need a little bit of luck on our side this weekend, for both myself and Fernando.
“I love street tracks – they’re the circuits I enjoy racing on most as they’re the biggest challenge for a driver. There are definitely more overtaking opportunities in Montreal than in Monaco, so there’s more chance of capitalising on any action that happens. We’ll be working hard in every area to bring everything together for race day, hopefully along with some points.”
“Canada has been a great race in McLaren’s history, and we all love going racing there. The Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is a great street track, unlike any that we see on the calendar today, and is a really tough challenge for the engineers, mechanics and drivers.
“It’s a circuit that is notoriously unpredictable, and all the teams work hard to set up their cars for its demanding characteristics. Even then, a lot is still left to chance, which is why the drivers, teams and fans alike are huge fans of this grand prix.
“We know it won’t be an easy weekend for us, but it’s important we focus on getting ourselves in the most representative grid slots we can to be able to fight on Sunday. We’ve had a couple of difficult weekends, so hopefully in Montreal we’ll be able to see further progress and bring home some points – and the raft race trophy!”