The battle between Ferrari and Mercedes is again likely to provide plenty of intrigue as the Formula One paddock crosses the Atlantic for this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix (Race: Sunday, 19:00 BST, live on Sky Sports F1).
Sebastian Vettel led home team-mate Kimi Raikkonen to a Ferrari one-two in Monaco last time out to level up the win count between Ferrari and Mercedes, who have now recorded three wins apiece over the course of the first six races of the year.
Mercedes had some struggles in Monaco, and Lewis Hamilton was particularly troubled. While his team-mate Valtteri Bottas qualified third and came home fourth, bad luck saw Hamilton qualify down in 13th. He picked his way through the field as best he could to finish seventh on race day.
It will be interesting to see if Mercedes can retake the initiative this weekend. They are having some issues with this year’s tyres, while Ferrari seem to have a car that is capable of performing well across a variety of circuits and tyre compounds, giving them a slight edge at this point in time.
Hamilton always runs very well in Montreal. The British driver has won the event five times and comes into this year’s running seeking a third consecutive victory for Mercedes. However, the smooth surface and circuit layout suggest that this could be another weekend in which the team’s tyre issues will cost them. They struggled to get temperature into their tyres in Monaco and the situation is likely to be repeated this time out.
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With that in mind, Ferrari and Vettel look the better bet. Vettel won the event for Red Bull in 2013 and finished second for Ferrari last year. He clearly has an advantage over team-mate Raikkonen and therefore has a good chance of extending his championship lead with victory on Sunday.
Daniel Ricciardo secured his second consecutive podium finish in Monaco, two places ahead of Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen. Carlos Sainz Jnr posted Toro Rosso’s best finish of the season to date in sixth, while the final points paying positions were filled by the Williams of Felipe Massa and the Haas cars of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.
After five consecutive double points finishes, Force India failed to score in Monaco. Sergio Perez showed strong pace in qualifying but had an incident-filled race that eventually saw him come home 13th following a late-race collision with Daniil Kyvat’s Toro Rosso. Esteban Ocon never really got to grips with the circuit and ended up 12th.
The team did, however, see plenty of positives in the outright pace that Perez showed in both qualifying and on race day, where he actually recorded the fastest lap. They are confident they will have a strong package this weekend, and Perez has shown in the past that he is capable of performing well in Canada – most notably with a third-place finish for Sauber in 2012.
Perez saw his own streak of 15 consecutive points finishes come to an end in Monaco but can be expected to strike back in style in Montreal, where a top-six finish is within his capabilities.
Renault also had a frustrating time in Monaco. A number of their components were reaching the end of their life cycles, and they had a bitty weekend full of mechanical issues that made it difficult for either of their drivers to challenge for points. Nico Hulkenberg retired early on with gearbox problems, while Jolyon Palmer finished 11th only by virtue of other retirements.
There are, though, reasons for optimism ahead of the trip to Canada, not least because Hulkenberg has shown himself to be a specialist at the Circuit Giles Villeneuve. The German driver has finished in the top eight on each of his last three visits to Montreal, including a highly impressive fifth-place finish for Force India in 2014.
The team are confident that the reliability problems that plagued them in Monaco will be fixed by the new components to be fitted this weekend, while they will also bring a circuit-specific aerodynamic update to the event that they hope will prove competitive.
With Hulkenberg at the wheel, Renault have a very solid chance of scoring some points on Sunday.
F1 Canadian Grand Prix Betting Tips Verdict
We have three recommended betting tips for this Canadian Grand Prix preview:
- Back Sebastian Vettel to win the race @ biggest odds of 6/4 with Betfair, Paddy Power or BetVictor.
- Bet on Sergio Perez to finish in the top six @ biggest odds of 11/10 with Stan James or BetVictor.
- Back Nico Hulkenberg to finish in the points @ best odds of 6/5 with William Hill.
- Latest Canadian Grand Prix Odds and F1 Drivers’ Title betting.