2016 Canadian Grand Prix Practice Review

Motor Racing Circuits

Lewis Hamilton wins the Monaco Grand Prix ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in second place and Sergio Perez in third place. McLaren, Toro Rosso and Williams all managed to score some much needed points.

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was renamed in honour of the popular Canadian driver following his death in 1982. It is situated on the Ile de Notre Dame, a man-made island in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River, in the city of Montreal. The original name of the circuit was Ile Notre Dame Circuit.

The temporary road course is quite fast and tough on the cars, but it is not as challenging for drivers as other Formula 1 tracks. Teams with the best engine performance and durability have traditionally performed well here.

The circuit is 4.36 kilometers long and the driving direction is clockwise. A total of 13 corners with 8 right turns and 5 left turns. Turn 10 is a very tight hairpin, named L’Epingle, that offers the best overtaking opportunity and exit is also vital to catch the right line and carry momentum onto the following straight.

The hairpin is one of the best options for the spectators. The last chicane is also a possible overtaking spot. Because of the temporary nature of the circuit there is no grip at all to start with, but grip levels improve constantly throughout the weekend.

The barriers run close to the circuit and many experienced drivers have been caught out by them. A particularly famous part of the circuit is the concrete wall on the outside of the exit of the final chicane. The wall has been nicknamed “The Wall of Champions” since many famous drivers have fallen victims to the wall.

It acquired its nickname in the 1999 Canadian Grand Prix by ending the race of three Formula One World Champions; Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve. Since then many more drivers and champions have hit the wall.

Practices 1, 2 and 3

The main headline from the Practice sessions is that Mercedes and Ferrari look to have the driver-car package to beat this weekend as weather conditions and tyre management which will test the drivers, teams and the cars throughout Friday and Saturday practice sessions.

Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheets in FP1

Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheets in FP1 and FP2

Practice 1 saw Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheet with a time of 1.14.755 followed closely by Nico Rosberg with a gap of 0.331 seconds behind, Sebastian Vettel was in third with a gap of 0.488 seconds behind, Max Verstappen in fourth with a gap of 0.798 seconds behind and Kimi Raikkonen in fifth with a gap of 0.863 seconds behind Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas is sixth with a gap of 1.546 seconds behind, Nico Hulkenberg is seventh with a gap of 1.709 seconds behind, Carlos Sainz Jr is eighth with a gap of 1.788 seconds behind, Sergio Perez is ninth with a gap of 1.822 seconds behind and Fernando Alonso is tenth with a gap of 1.908 seconds behind Hamilton.

During FP1, Williams driver Felipe Massa brought out the red flag when he crashed at Turn 1(the same corner where he famously collided with Sergio Perez during the 2014 race) but walked away unscathed which was great to see.

This then brought out the red flag while Massa’s Williams was recovered quickly. However, Massa did say to his team via team radio that he thought he had a problem and lost the rear when he closed the DRS before he spun out of control into the barrier.

Also during the session, traffic was a problem at the final chicane with Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton both being forced to take to the run-off to avoid a slow-moving Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso respectively.

Practice 2 saw Hamilton tops the timesheet with a time of 1.14.212 followed closely by Vettel with a gap of 0.257 seconds behind, Rosberg was in third with a gap of 0.526 seconds behind, Verstappen in fourth with a gap of 0.944 seconds behind and Ricciardo in fifth with a gap of 0.956 seconds behind Hamilton.

Bottas is sixth with a gap of 1.001 seconds behind, Button is seventh with a gap of 1.001 seconds behind, Raikkonen is eighth with a gap of 1.022 seconds behind, Hulkenberg is ninth with a gap of 1.109 seconds behind and Sainz Jr is tenth with a gap of 1.198 seconds behind Hamilton.

Sebastian Vettel tops the timesheets in FP3.

Sebastian Vettel tops the timesheets in FP3.

Practice 3 saw Vettel tops the timesheet with a time of 1.13.919 followed closely by Verstappen with a gap of 0.239 seconds behind, Rosberg was in third with a gap of 0.397 seconds behind, Raikkonen in fourth with a gap of 0.413 seconds behind and Hamilton in fifth with a gap of 0.415 seconds behind Vettel.

Ricciardo is sixth with a gap of 0.568 seconds behind, Sainz Jr is seventh with a gap of 0.736 seconds behind, Alonso is eighth with a gap of 0.882 seconds behind, Perez is ninth with a gap of 0.967 seconds behind and Massa is tenth with a gap of 0.971 seconds behind Vettel.

With half an hour left during FP3, Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat went down the escape road before Turn 3 after it appears that he did not hit anything or had contact with anything. He managed to get the car rolling and was able to continue on with the session.

With just 13 minutes left into the session, Kevin Magnussen hit the wall massively coming out of Turn 7 after trying to get the car to go into third gear. The Renault was completely destroyed on the left hand side and this brought out the Red Flag in order to for the marshals to get to Magnussen to see if he is okay and to safely recover the Renault off the track.

It was then announced that the session would not be restarted after the marshals and the race director took a look at the damage at the barriers and also it was starting to rain heavily.

You would be stupid not to bet against the Mercedes drivers of Hamilton and Rosberg to gain pole position again this weekend. As the Mercedes drivers seem to be performing brilliantly at the moment and the momentum is with them from all the track mileage and their strong form from the last race. Vettel, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Verstappen or Sainz Jr also cannot be discounted for the pole also as they are consistently within the top ten places at the moment.

However, I think that Toro Rosso, McLaren and Force India have shown that they could throw themselves into the mix and could qualify well here to be in the hunt for some decent points this weekend. We all look forward to the qualifying session of the Grand Prix with excitement…

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