ADVERTISEMENT

FORM GUIDE: Can anyone stop Red Bull’s hot streak as F1 returns to Canada?

ADVERTISEMENT

The Canadian Grand Prix returns for the first time since 2019, and this time, things are markedly different as the field looks to beat Red Bull at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. Here is the form guide for this weekend’s race in Montreal.

vying for pole

As we haven’t had a Canadian Grand Prix in two seasons, the form book rests perilously on the windowsill, on the verge of defenestration. Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton held this spot between 2015 and 2019, but now the new guard has taken over, in the form of Max Verstappen in his Red Bull and Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari. Furthermore, Sergio Pérez has put himself in the mix after winning in Monaco.

Leclerc looks to be the man to beat on Saturdays, the Ferrari driver taking pole position in the last four Grands Prix, Verstappen’s only qualifying win coming at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Therefore, it could be assumed that Leclerc is the favorite to do it again this weekend.

ADVERTISEMENT

PALMER: Why would Ferrari be looking to hit back after the pain of their double DNF in Baku?


Leclerc is on a streak of four consecutive pole positions heading to Canada

It’s not easy getting five pole positions in a row though, as Lewis Hamilton is the last driver to do so in a stretch from the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix to the 2020 Russian Grand Prix. Last season, Verstappen managed the streak of longest pole positions with four from France to Great Britain. So expect Leclerc’s career to come to an end soon… surely?

And if that streak comes to an end, whether it’s Verstappen, Perez or, for one stretch, Carlos Sainz, they have the best chance of taking P1 on the grid.

TECH TUESDAY: Red Bull’s smart flooring that has made porpoise less of an issue on the RB18

Poles in the last five races:

  • 2019 – Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
  • 2018 – Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
  • 2017 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  • 2016 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  • 2015 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

FAN VIEW: We have a three-horse race for pole at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, with Sergio Perez joining teammate Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the race for P1 on Saturday. Despite Leclerc’s run of four consecutive pole positions, he is second in the F1 Play voting, with Verstappen the clear favourite.


1402483362

Verstappen is the man to beat on Sunday, but he hasn’t taken pole position since Imola

In the mix for the win

Mercedes have won four of the last five Canadian Grands Prix, but will they do it again? Well, after the Silver Arrows struggles in Azerbaijan, it wouldn’t be wise to back them. They are outsiders, and it looks like this could be a fight between Red Bull and Ferrari once again.

Ferrari has dealt with its problems in recent races, a double DNF compounding its problems in Azerbaijan when, once again, Leclerc lost valuable points and the chance to fight for victory. As a result, Red Bull has won five races in a row, and Leclerc still has two wins this season.

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

It may seem like Red Bull has gotten lucky, given Ferrari’s recent reliability struggles, but the fact is that their RB18s have superior race pace and straight line speed. The team hasn’t had the pace of Saturday, but their better form for Sunday means they’ve struck a balance between qualifying pace and race pace, and it’s paying off.

So Red Bull is definitely the favorite once again, but surely Ferrari will fight back at some point. With Canada arriving just a week after Azerbaijan, it is doubtful the Scuderia have resolved their reliability issues, but they may have made some headway in finding a solution.

A front-row start will remain crucial here; Not since 2014 has the Canadian Grand Prix been won from outside the front row, when Daniel Ricciardo took his first victory since P6 on the grid.

READ MORE: Horner calls Red Bull’s Baku 1-2 ‘redemption’ for Verstappen missing out on 2021 win

Wins in the last five races:

  • 2019 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  • 2018 – Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
  • 2017 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  • 2016 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  • 2015 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

FAN VIEW: If Leclerc has dominated Saturdays in recent races, Verstappen is the king of Sundays. Four wins in his last five races mean the Dutchman is a heavy favorite in the initial F1 Play voting to win in Canada. He has nearly twice as many votes as Leclerc, with Perez the only other notable contender.


1402453639

Ferrari have shown the pace to win, but reliability has hurt them in recent races.

podium outsiders

After George Russell pounced on that pair of Ferrari retirements in Azerbaijan, it has become even more apparent that Mercedes is the team most likely to get on the podium when the leaders fail. Given Hamilton’s prowess here, perhaps he’s up for a surprise podium finish this weekend.

Of course, Ferrari and Red Bull are expected to take the top three spots, but Canada has been known to make room for three teams in the grandstand; in 2018 we saw Verstappen (Red Bull), Vettel (Ferrari) and Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) take the podium and in 2016 Bottas, driving a Williams, joined Vettel and Hamilton.

BEYOND THE NET: Thierry Boutsen on his journey to F1, his friendship with Senna and life after racing

Therefore, it is not ruled out that three teams could be on the podium this time. Aside from Mercedes, expect McLaren, Lando Norris and Ricciardo eager to give the team their 400th F1 podium finish, and AlphaTauri to challenge, the latter given his pace culminating in P5 for Pierre Gasly in Baku.

Alpine’s Fernando Alonso also deserves a good result. He has picked up the pace recently and shrugged off the misfortune of not being able to score from Saudi Arabia to Miami inclusive.

Podiums in the last five races:

  • mercedes-7
  • ferrari-4
  • red bull – 2
  • Williams-2

FAN VIEW: Not surprisingly, it’s the Big Six who dominate F1 Play voting for podium places on Sunday, with Carlos Sainz, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton the outsiders of that group. There is also interest in Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) and Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), who performed well in Azerbaijan.


1154858154

The last podium of the F1 Canadian Grand Prix

Points Potential

Eight of the 10 teams on the grid have scored points in the last three races, only Haas and Williams failed to score in that time, the former team in a drought of four scoreless performances.

Haas, however, came close to scoring in Azerbaijan, before Kevin Magnussen suffered his second successive retirement. And Alex Albon made a solid change for Williams, finishing 12th.

However, the teams lower in the order that seem most likely to score in Canada are McLaren, AlphaTauri and Alpine, the three that finished in the top 10 in Azerbaijan.

ORAL HISTORY: The inside story of Sebastian Vettel’s first Formula 1 point on his 2007 US GP debut

Aston Martin is also starting a run of form as, after failing to score points in the first three races, they have taken four top-10 finishes, including P6 via Vettel last time out in Baku.

As Canada hasn’t hosted a Grand Prix since 2019, four drivers will make their Canadian GP debuts this weekend: local hero Nicholas Latifi, Yuki Tsunoda, Zhou Guanyu and Mick Schumacher. Of those four, Zhou and Tsunoda look the most likely to score points, having been unlucky enough not to do so in Azerbaijan.

Points in the last five races:

  • Mercedes-187
  • ferrari-132
  • red bull-76
  • Williams-40
  • Racing Point/Indian Force – 31
  • Renault-28
  • Lotus – 7
  • Toro Rosso-3
  • Haas-1
  • Sauber-1

FAN OPINION: F1 Play players believe that Gasly and Vettel are pretty much clinched for points in Canada, along with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso. There is also good support for Gasly’s AlphaTauri team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, while McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) are not without sponsors.

sniloans