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A return to Montreal and Ferrari looking to bounce back: 5 stories we’re excited about ahead of the 2022 Canadian GP

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Another back-to-back event draws to a close with a long-awaited return to a popular venue for the Canadian Grand Prix. As the paddock returns to Canada for the first time since 2019, we take a look at some of the top talking points likely to be going around in Montreal.

1. Ferrari’s response

It was a painful day for Ferrari at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as both cars retired with technical problems. For Charles Leclerc, that was the second time in three races that he has led a race and failed to finish due to a power unit problem, and it has put a dent in his title hopes.

But Ferrari has an instant chance to bounce back this weekend in Montreal, and there is every reason to be optimistic. On the one hand, Leclerc had a good chance of winning the last three races, with the two DNFs interspersing a strategic misstep by Ferrari in Monaco.

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READ MORE: Wolff backs Mercedes technical team to get W13 ‘back to normal’ after labeling car ‘a box to drive’ in Baku

There’s also his qualifying record, with Leclerc on pole in six of the eight races so far this year and in excellent form on a Saturday, often giving himself the best chance on a Sunday if the car runs smoothly.

Ferrari will have worked hard in the short interval between races to try and improve reliability, and will want to make a statement that it remains an important factor in the title hunt.


2. Driver market heating up

Pierre Gasly scored his best result of 2022 by far, with a fifth place behind the Red Bull and Mercedes drivers in Baku.

Gasly’s timing was very good, with a performance in the first race after it was confirmed that Sergio Pérez would stay at Red Bull for another two years, and with growing speculation about Gasly’s future.

READ MORE: Gasly says Perez contract deal is ‘logical’ as he plans more talks with Red Bull management

Speaking loosely about what he will do in 2023 ahead of the race in Baku, the Frenchman suggested he is still ready to be part of the Red Bull family next year, but will discuss with Helmut Marko whether that is within AlphaTauri once again or going. to imply a change to another team to allow him a different challenge.

When it comes to other teams, Oscar Piastri has been linked with a move to Williams next year in a move that could call Nicholas Latifi’s seat into question, and it’s an issue that could well come up for the Canadian when he is finally able to participate. in his first home Grand Prix, having made his debut in the Covid-hit 2020 season.


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Pierre Gasly’s future at AlphaTauri is up in the air after Sergio Pérez’s contract extension at Red Bull

3. The Alpine Rocket

One of the interesting aspects of Sunday’s race in Azerbaijan was in the midfield, where several drivers had their attempts to climb into the points thwarted by an Alpine.

That’s because both Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon had extremely impressive straight line speed that allowed them to hold off any attack, and even the impact of the DRS was not enough to allow another driver to attack on several occasions.

READ MORE: Alonso left with ‘good taste’ after third consecutive score gave him a boost heading to Canada

Likewise, such a high top speed ensured that the Alpines would have no problem overtaking a car once they were within relatively close range, and then it would be so difficult to pass themselves that they both moved forward during the race, even when they seemed to be on the defensive most of the time.

And so we head to Canada, where lower downforce setups tend to be the way to go to allow for good top speed, particularly on the run to the final chicane and pit straight. Could it be that Alpine have an advantage on the straights again, and could it be even bigger this weekend?


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Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso in the Alpine had incredible straight line speed in Baku and could be a team to watch in Canada

4. Mercedes seeks to tag porpoise

While Leclerc and Ferrari had to deal with the emotional pain of another DNF last weekend, Lewis Hamilton was dealing with physical pain in his Mercedes as he struggled with the rebounds in Baku.

Whether it’s because of the porpoise phenomenon, when a car pitches up and down at the pace of the maximum amount of downforce, or simply because of the level of bottoming out the car is doing over bumps, it’s clearly an uncomfortable ride for drivers of Mercedes right now.

READ MORE: Wolff backs Mercedes technical team to get W13 ‘back to normal’ after labeling car ‘a box to drive’ in Baku

Numerous drivers have spoken out on the issue and are willing to have talks with the FIA, but teams not suffering from the same level of difficulty suggest it is a fault in the designs of the cars of those struggling and therefore no concessions should be made.

Canada’s long straights towards the end of the lap could lead to similar problems this weekend, where we are likely to get more examples of drivers facing a physical challenge. However, how dire the situation is and what potential remedies could be put in place are issues that continue to divide opinion.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2022: Toto Wolff apologizes to Lewis Hamilton over the radio

5. The return to Montreal

That’s right, the last time we raced at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was in 2019, when Lewis Hamilton beat Sebastian Vettel after the latter received a time penalty for the way he rejoined the track during their fight for victory. .

Since then, Covid-19 has meant it hasn’t been possible to hold the Canadian Grand Prix in each of the last two years, but we’re coming back with a bang as a full house is expected in Montreal this weekend.

READ MORE: Binotto calls Baku DNFs ‘a concern’ as Ferrari slips 80 points behind Red Bull

It’s a track that tests drivers’ precision, with plenty of time to build speed through the chicanes onto the straights, but with the edge of the track largely defined by concrete walls where mistakes are regularly punished. .

That usually makes for good racing, with the chance to overtake at Turn 1, the hairpin turn and most of all the final chicane, in front of a passionate and knowledgeable crowd that always creates a great atmosphere every time. F1 is in town. It will be good to be back.


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Lewis Hamilton won the Canadian GP in 2019, after Sebastian Vettel’s 5 second penalty

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