Max Verstappen demonstrated stellar performance at the recent Barcelona race, reigning supreme in every session and leading every lap. His triumphant achievement included securing a pole, victory, and fastest lap, culminating in a hat-trick.
Given his success in Montreal last year, where he won the race starting from pole, it’s challenging not to consider Verstappen a strong contender this time around. However, there are factors that could disrupt this prediction.
One such factor is Lewis Hamilton. He finished runner-up in Barcelona, a result of Mercedes’ effective upgrades. Matching Michael Schumacher’s record, Hamilton has seven wins in Montreal and is eager to surpass this record.
Another potential disruptor is Aston Martin. Despite lagging behind Mercedes and Ferrari in Spain, the team has promised to introduce a “step” upgrade in Canada. Fernando Alonso, having tasted victory in Montreal in his championship year of 2006, is another possible contender.
As F1 gears up for the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, we delve into the current performance trends.
POLE PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS
In all but one of the seven races this season, Red Bull has secured pole position, with Verstappen clinching four. As noted, he also dominated in Canada last year, despite adverse weather conditions.
There is a slight possibility of rain this Saturday, but even if it occurs, Verstappen is still a strong contender for the lead. However, Sergio Perez’s recent lackluster performance in the second Red Bull vehicle could affect their team dominance.
The only non-Red Bull drivers who have secured front row starts are Alonso (twice), Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, and Mercedes’ George Russell. Any of these, along with Hamilton, could potentially challenge Verstappen, though overtaking seems unlikely.
In an unexpected turn of events, McLaren exhibited impressive performance in Barcelona. Despite being unsure about the source of this increased pace, Lando Norris has proven to be a strong competitor against his teammate Oscar Piastri, leading him 6-1 in qualifying.
Verstappen is the clear favourite for victory, standing at 9/25 odds. However, if Perez can shake off his recent challenges and given the quality of his vehicle, his 5/1 odds could provide a good return. Hamilton, with 10/1 odds, is also an interesting contender.
There is a high chance for the top three spots to feature three different teams, particularly if Perez’s performance remains subpar. Mercedes, Ferrari, and Aston Martin are closely matched.
However, considering Verstappen’s 1/5 odds for a podium, and Hamilton and Alonso at 9/10 each, it might be beneficial to consider George Russell (2/1) or Lance Stroll (16/1), racing on his home ground in the second Aston Martin, as broader options.
Predicting the top six finishers in Canada could be intriguing. Up to now, only Norris (in Australia) and Esteban Ocon (in Monaco) outside the top four teams – Red Bull, Mercedes, Aston Martin, and Ferrari – have managed a top-six finish.
If there are cracks in the performance of the top four teams, Norris, considering his Barcelona form, could break into the top six, with surprisingly high odds of 8/1. The Alpines of Ocon and Pierre Gasly stand at 5/2 and 11/4 respectively.
Alfa Romeo Stake performed well in Canada last year, with Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu finishing seventh and eighth respectively. Given their recent top 10 finish in Barcelona, they are 4/1 to replicate that in Canada, and an enticing 19/1 for double points.
DARK HORSE SELECTIONS
If we consider the back end, Logan Sargeant’s Williams has ended last in two of the last three races. Bottas and Kevin Magnussen have also found themselves in similar positions twice this year. The odds for a repeat are 7/4 for Sargeant, 10/1 for Magnussen, and 11/1 for Bottas.
Regarding retirements, two out of seven races this season have seen all cars finish. Apart from the Australian race, which was marked by numerous initial crashes, only two or three cars have failed to finish the rest of the races.
Canada recorded three non-finishers last season, and among the top four teams, Ferrari and Aston Martin have seen the most retirements, with two each. Aston Martin was the first to retire in both instances, with 10/1 odds for a repeat.
The last Canadian race without speed control was back in 2015, and the odds for a safety car period this year are 2/5. The previous four races have all seen a full SC (apart from a VSC in 2016), so a repeat is highly likely.
NOTE: Odds are accurate as of the time of writing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Canadian Grand Prix Analysis
Who was the star performer in the last Barcelona race?
Max Verstappen was the star performer in the last Barcelona race. He was the fastest in every session and led every lap, completing a hat-trick of pole, victory, and fastest lap.
Who are the potential contenders for the Canadian Grand Prix?
The potential contenders for the Canadian Grand Prix are Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, and Fernando Alonso. Teams like Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, and Aston Martin are also closely matched and could make a significant impact.
What factors could affect the performance of Red Bull in the Canadian Grand Prix?
One significant factor could be the recent lackluster performance of Sergio Perez, a Red Bull driver. Another potential factor is the possibility of rain on the day of the race. However, even in the event of rain, Max Verstappen is still seen as a strong contender.
What are some surprising trends in the current F1 season?
One surprising trend is the strong performance of McLaren in Barcelona, with Lando Norris demonstrating significant competitiveness. Also, only two drivers outside the top four teams have managed to secure a top-six finish so far, which could shift in Canada.
What are the predictions for the top finishers in Canada?
The top finishers could include drivers from Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, and Aston Martin. Norris and the Alpines of Ocon and Gasly could also break into the top six. The odds also favor a high chance for a safety car period this year.