Lewis Hamilton lost out late on in Monaco two weeks ago and will be keen to reestablish a healthy lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship with victory at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix (Race: Sunday, 19:00 BST, live on BBC1 / Sky Sports F1).
Hamilton led the field until he and his Mercedes team decided to pit for new tyres when the safety car was deployed 14 laps from the end. He did not have a sufficient advantage to do so and came out third, behind team-mate Nico Rosberg and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
The tight and twisty streets of the principality rendered Vettel an impassable object and a sour-faced Hamilton therefore had to settle for third. Rosberg took his second consecutive victory to close to within 10 points of his team-mate at the top of the drivers’ standings.
Red Bull achieved their best result of the season to date, with Daniil Kyvat and Daniel Ricciardo coming home fourth and fifth respectively ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. Sergio Perez finished in a superb seventh place for Force India, while Jenson Button (pictured) secured McLaren’s first points of the season in eighth.
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The team had expected to run well at Monaco and Button’s team-mate Fernando Alonso had also been in contention for a points finish before a gearbox failure forced his retirement. As it was, Felipe Nasr (Sauber) and Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso) rounded out the top 10.
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal has played host to the Canadian Grand Prix since 1978. It is a medium downforce track, featuring four straights linked by a series of tight and wall-lined corners. It is popular with the drivers and normally produces an entertaining race, with good overtaking opportunities into both the hairpin and the final chicane.
Pirelli brought their soft and supersoft tyres to last year’s Canadian Grand Prix and have again chosen those compounds for this weekend’s event. Current weather forecasts suggest that it will be a mild weekend, with a mixture of sun and cloud and little chance of rain.
Hamilton is keen to put the disappointment of Monaco behind him and can be expected to move forward with a strong performance this weekend at a track that suits his driving style and at which he has always run well. He has achieved three pole positions, three wins and one further podium finish in his seven previous races at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Rosberg did beat Hamilton to pole position at last year’s Canadian Grand Prix and the pair diced for supremacy during the race before Hamilton was forced to retire with a brake problem. Hamilton did, though, easily get the better of Rosberg in their first season as team-mates back in 2013, and with a point to prove he can be fancied to dominate this weekend.
Sergio Perez challenged at the front for Force India in last year’s Canadian Grand Prix. Their car is not as competitive this time around, so a repeat performance is unlikely, but they still have a solid chance of securing a points finish on Sunday. They are confident that the circuit will suit the characteristics of their car and they have two very capable drivers at the wheel.
Perez has been the more successful of the two so far this season, having finished in the points three times to Nico Hulkenberg’s one. He raced superbly in Monaco and feels that he is currently driving as well as he ever has done. He was very strong in Canada last year, finished just outside the points in 2013 and secured a podium finish for Sauber back in 2012.
The Mexican can therefore be expected to bring his car home inside the top 10 on Sunday.
Pastor Maldonado has increasingly become a figure of fun since his move to Lotus at the start of last season. The Venezuelan, who does have one race win from his time Williams to his credit, has always had a reputation for being an aggressive and occasionally reckless driver, and that has only been amplified during his time with the Enstone-based team.
Maldonado has failed to finish in five of the six races so far this season. Mechanical issues ended his Grand Prix in Malaysia, China and Monaco, while collision damage put paid to his chances in Australia and Spain. In Bahrain, he received a five-second penalty after lining up in the wrong grid slot and later crashed into the back of the Williams of Felipe Massa.
The Canadian Grand Prix is generally quite hectic. The various overtaking spots, close proximity of the barriers and possibility of rain combine to create plenty of opportunities for a non-finish. Maldonado has failed to reach the chequered flag in two of his previous five visits to the circuit and is quite likely to once again fail to do so on Sunday.
F1 Canadian Grand Prix Betting Tips Verdict
- Back Lewis Hamilton to both take pole position and win the race @ best odds of 11/10 with Paddy Power.
- Bet on Sergio Perez to finish in the points @ 5/2 with Bet365, Betfair Sportsbook, Ladbrokes or William Hill.
- Back Pastor Maldonado not to finish @ best odds of 11/8 with Bet365.