Canada offers Hamilton a chance to bounce back

2011 Canadian GP preview

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Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Montreal, 2010

Lewis Hamilton was fortunate to leave Monaco with eight points for sixth place.

A troubled weekend saw him receive three separate penalties.

Can he bounce back at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, scene of his first F1 win and one of his strongest tracks?

Hamilton has an especially impressive record here: three appearances, three pole positions and two wins. In 2008 he led up until that notorious altercation with Kimi Raikkonen in the pits.

McLaren have high hopes for this weekend’s race, claiming they were faster than the Red Bulls in the last two races.

That may be so but no-one’s been able to keep Red Bull from pole position this year. McLaren did it here last year – though not without a little controversy.

But in Canada qualifying should prove less important than in Monaco or Spain. Overtaking is easier on the Montreal track and could be even more so this year as, for the first time, drivers will be able to use their Drag Reduction Systems twice per lap.

Double DRS

The DRS had a less significant role to play in Spain and Monaco – though we still saw two entertaining races.

In Canada drivers are expected to be allowed to use it on the main straight leading to the final chicane and on the pit straight.

It remains to be seen what kind of effect this will have on the racing: it could make overtaking too easy, handing a great advantage to a chasing car.

But keep in mind the teams tend to run special, low-downforce wings at Canada. As these produce less drag, the DRS may be less powerful to start with.


Last year tyres played a crucial role in the race and produced the most exciting Grand Prix of the season according to F1 Fanatic readers.

Pirelli’s tyres have already done much to create great racing this year, and motorsport director Paul Hembery predicted a “monumental” battle at Montreal.

The combination of slow corners and low-downforce set-ups have led Pirelli to bring the soft and super-soft tyres, as they did in Monaco.

This will be music to the ears of Ferrari, who struggled badly on the new hard tyres introduced in Spain. But Mercedes were plagued by problems with graining on the super-softs in Monaco.


Along with Singapore, Montreal is one of the toughest circuits for brakes. They take an especially heavy pounding in the opening laps of the race, when fuel loads are high.

Traffic is hard to escape around the short track. Early in the race, when the pack is close together, drivers struggle to cool their brakes while following in the hot slipstream of one or more other cars.

The low downforce level adds to the burden carried by the brakes. With higher downforce levels, cars lose more speed when the driver comes off the throttle. That effect is less pronounced at Canada where downforce levels are low.

With teams hesitant to run larger brake ducts that would compromise the airflow over their cars, Canada presents teams and drivers with difficult questions about the trade-off between brake life and car performance.

Who do you expect to win in Canada? Will it be six out of seven wins for Sebastian Vettel? Could McLaren come good on their promise to “take the fight” to the Red Bulls?

Check out the new driver form chart below and have your say in the comments.

2011 driver form

Q avgR avgR bestR worstClassifiedForm guide
Sebastian Vettel1.171.17126/6Form guide
Mark Webber53.67256/6Form guide
Lewis Hamilton3.833.83186/6Form guide
Jenson Button3.834266/6Form guide
Fernando Alonso4.674.5276/6Form guide
Felipe Massa7.57.255114/6Form guide
Michael Schumacher9.838.756124/6Form guide
Nico Rosberg6.1785125/6Form guide
Nick Heidfeld14.678.333126/6Form guide
Vitaly Petrov7.839.63175/6Form guide
Rubens Barrichello14.6713.59174/6Form guide
Pastor Maldonado13.51715184/6Form guide
Adrian Sutil14.511.337156/6Form guide
Paul di Resta131110125/6Form guide
Kamui Kobayashi13.58.45105/6Form guide
Sergio Perez13.613.339173/5Form guide
Sebastien Buemi12.3311.338146/6Form guide
Jaime Alguersuari13.514.2511164/6Form guide
Heikki Kovalainen17.831614194/6Form guide
Jarno Trulli19.1716.213195/6Form guide
Narain Karthikeyan22.820.517234/5Form guide
Vitantonio Liuzzi222016223/5Form guide
Timo Glock20.8318.6716213/6Form guide
Jerome d’Ambrosio22.1717.814205/6Form guide

Join in the 2011 F1 Fanatic Predictions Championship

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2011 Canadian Grand Prix

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    Image © Bridgestone/Ercole Colombo

    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    81 comments on “Canada offers Hamilton a chance to bounce back”

    1. I have to say it would take a brave person to bet against a Hamilton win here. He’s mighty around this place.

      1. True. He is the master of Montreal it seems.

        He needs a good result. I remember in 2008 he had a difficult race in France and then in the next race he did one of his greatest drives at Silverstone.

        Hope he can bounce back again.

        1. He needs a good result. I remember in 2008 he had a difficult race in France and then in the next race he did one of his greatest drives at Silverstone.

          It looks like a pattern, Tommy. After a poor result in Brazil 2007, a win in Australia 2008; After the criticism at Fuji 2008, a magnificent win at China; After the awful race at Malaysia this year, another great win at the same China.

          1. Some people just operate better when you light a fire under their rear…

          2. I’m expecting something very good from Lewis this week. He does seem to race well coming off a bad result. I think the lower downforce configuration of the Montreal circuit may help Mclaren a little as well. I’m really hoping for an entertaining weekend.

        2. Jeez it wasn’t that long ago but it just seems weird to think Hamilton raced around Magny-Cours, almost anachronistic :)

      2. Also a brave man to bet against vettel, 5 wins out of 6 this year

        1. Or a wise man… What goes up, must come down remember…

          1. not during 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 or 2004 though…

            1. the champions wall might just play its part once again

            2. @sato113
              true, but in 2010 and 2011!! Hahaha oh how the mighty have fallen

            3. Something tells me Hamilton won’t want to wait 6 years though…

        2. I would place a bet on Lewis to win at Canada, because he has 3 poles and 2 wins, and Montreal is a low downforce track. Hamilton probably could also have won in 2008, but except for….well you know what!

      3. Soumya Banerjee
        8th June 2011, 17:39

        He was also the Master of Monaco(having won it in the F3 series in 2005, in GP2 in 2006, lost out to teammate Alonso due to team orders in 2007, and won in 2008) till 2009. That year he had an uncompetitive car and crashed in qualifying. But in both 2010 and this year, with a much better car he could not do justice. The days of one track suiting a driver are over. The last was Kimi, who would always be in a winning position at Spa since 2002, no matter what car you gave him.

        1. I read somewhere (I seem to recall it being JAonf1, but can’t find it now) that someone from the McLaren team recounted how Ron Dennis asked Alonso to be nice to Hamilton after the race, because “they had to pit him early to make sure Alonso would win”. According to this McLaren team member’s story, Alonso’s perplexed reaction was “I was coasting, if you’d told me during the race, I could have gone much faster”.

          1. RB struggles on low downforce tracks. We saw this last year at Monza. Lewis and Jenson should easily win this one, unless Ferrari (who have good brakes) are able to get ahead some how.

        2. Lost out to teammate Alonso due to team orders in 2007

          Lost out to Alonso by being outqualified and unable to do more than match Alonso’s race pace.

          1. While it is all academic now, we must remember back then, teams could refuel their cars, and Hamilton was driving with at least 5 laps worth of extra fuel when he was called in for his stop.

          2. @David A

            I think they are suggesting that Hamilton was ordered to go slower mate..which is why Alonso was made to look quick!!

            Its funny how Alonso always gets dragged into Hamilton discussions.

            1. I often wonder had the internet been around in the Prost and Senna days whether the same thing would have happened.

            2. I often wonder had the internet been around in the Prost and Senna days whether the same thing would have happened.

              Good point. Now, just imagine, between Ayrton and Prost, who would have more haters bashing any move or any tongue in cheek.

        3. but to be fair,lewis was looking super strong in quali in monaco.he just wasnt able to do a proper q3 lap.
          and he did well to finish 6th considering the damage his car got,and the drive thru penalty.

      4. Seems the money is on Vettel…

    2. Jenson Button will be the man to watch this weekend I think

      1. Jeffrey Powell
        8th June 2011, 18:26

        It would be great to see Jenson trounce Lewis that would mean a replacement for Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost rolled into one,or just a plain old simple miracle.

        1. JB a rain master?

        2. Jenson may at times beat Lewis, but if Fernando couldn’t trounce him, then it’s hardly in the cards that will ever happen with Button.

    3. Not only is he amazing at canada but he is probably the best driver for bouncing back full stop if he has a bad weekend he seems to find something even more extra next time out he’s my pole and race winner.

    4. I like the 2011 form guide. Top notch.
      Here’s hoping for a Mclaren or Ferrari pole. I want to see those RB7’s overtaking the other top cars

      Should be a good weekend me thinks

    5. I would really love McLaren to beat Red Bull mostly on their speed here. And Alonso breathing in their necks.

      Maybe Vettel to have his first DNF after crashing out while defending 2nd or 3r from Fernando in the dying stages?

    6. Hamilton’s McLaren has in fact been the quickest car for the past two races. Whether the McLaren is faster than the RB7 is moot, because Webber and Button are not obviously maximizing the respective chassis. His ability on the brakes obviously pays dividends at a track that is basically about slamming on the brakes a few times, trail-braking into chicanes with low downforce on the car. The only question here is whether he can get to the front row and have a shot at Vettel before the hairpin. Otherwise, it will be Spain again. Alonso may be strong again also. He is no slouch on the brakes, and the track characteristic wont expose their downforce deficit too badly. The only question is whether the Ferrari will become statues again on the harder tire.

      1. Mclaren seem to be applying too much theory where common sense is the best approach. They can’t afford to keep fumbling their drivers chances of winning.

      2. It can be Spain again. Vettel can win only if he gets some distance. If he finds Hamilton stuck on his rear like in Spain he will lose this time because Canada ain’t Spain where you need a miracle to even find a chance to attempt an overtake.
        Hamilton will certainly find a place to attack if he finds himself stuck behind Vettel.

    7. Keith, have I misunderstood this or is it a typo?

      “…Ferrari who struggled badly on the new hard tyres introduced in ?Canada?”

      Good preview though, I can’t wait. I would say that Hamilton will take pole. But as we saw last weekend anything can happen.

      1. This will be music to the ears of Ferrari, who struggled badly on the new hard tyres introduced in Canada.

        Shouldn’t it be Spain?

      2. It is Spain, fixed it, thanks.

    8. Hamilton’s problem is that he needs two wins and a sixth place with Vettel not scoring any points just to break even, I think! If my maths is up to scratch that is alot to do even for a driver of Hamilton’s calibre. The Red Bull is so strong and Vettel’s lead is so healthy he can afford podium finishes, his rivals cannot. Yes it is true that Hamilton runs good at Montreal usually, but this time he needs alot of luck aswell if he is to peg back Vettel in any meaningfull way.

      1. e needs two wins and a sixth place with Vettel not scoring any points

        This would be true if there were only 3 races left this year. Since there is still around 13 (my math is horrendous) his odds are much better than you suggest.

        1. Nigelstash (@)
          8th June 2011, 23:11

          What we need is McLaren and Ferrari to fight back strongly over the next few races. 58 points is a big lead, but keep him in 5th for the next 4 races and it will be gone. Wishful thinking I know, especially with Massa all over the place. Let’s try again, what we need is McL & Ferr & Merc & Webber & a sudden unexpected comeback from Kubica…. anything to keep Vettel out of the points for a while. Two DNFs would do it, but I just don’t think we will see him making mistakes this season. I don’t think he is up there with the best, but he can handle pressure.

          1. I think we need a bit of bad luck or a few mistakes from Vettel. A motor blowing up or binning it in qualy. Its been pretty smooth sailing for that half of the red bull garage this year.

    9. It will certainly be an interesting battle.

      Fernando seems to building up some momentum, Jenson wants it really badly, Sebastian I believe will have quite a bit of pressure in Canada, Lewis is absolutely on it and will want to secure a bounce back while also maintaining his form in Montreal. And Mark Webber is desperate to knock some of the shine off his stable mate.

      This I hope will provide the perfect back drop to an immense contest between these 5 front runners. Having said that I want Lewis to clinch it, but if Sebastian does hold everyone off he must be favorite to get a back to back this year.

      This could be a turning point in the season, or at least a break from the RedBull & Vettel dominance.

      1. To be honest I think Ferrari is onlt falling further behind, I really hope to see Fernando, even win, but I think the chances are slim.

        Ferrari are letting him down.

    10. In 2008 he led up until that notorious altercation with Kimi Räikkönen in the pits.

      No offense, but I think Räikkönen had just overtaken Hamilton (albeit in the pits) and was leading until Hamilton hit him from behind.

      1. And there I was thinking no-one would be pedantic enough to split that hair.

        1. Really? You run a site with public commenting on your articles and you really thought nobody would be pedantic enough?

          If that is the case, you had it coming :p


          1. Really? You run a site with public commenting on your articles and you really thought nobody would be pedantic enough?

            Pedantically speaking, I think Kimi technically didn’t overtaken Lewis because both didn’t had passed trough the 1st intermediate.

            1. Kimi was ahead of Lewis, therefore he had overtaken him.

        2. this is F1F! it’s a hair that has to be split!

    11. I still think it will be Vettel’s race though i hope not .This year he has been the best driver by a mile. Getting the max result out of each race bar one where it wasnt really his fault. Hamilton,on the other hand has been hot n cold this season. He hasnt even been able to get the results that the car is capable of mostly due to his or his team’s fault. He should atleast have been on 90 points as the car is good enough to come 3rd in each race. And keeping in mind that Mark hasnt been performing well , hamilton should’ve been closer to Vettel than he is. Alonso has been a bit better than Ham but not Vettel. He has the 3rd and rarely 4th/2nd fastest car. So he has done well so far to score 69 points despite a few mistakes. So its not just the cars. Vettel is outperforming the other drivers as well.

    12. It would be great to see a ‘racing driver’ win a race for only the second time this year, but the way Seb has been off the starts Mclaren have not much chance, but if anyone can give the red bull/Seb a fight it will be hamilton!
      I am a Mclaren fan but still surley if you are a red bull fan you want a good fight, because its great to have a win for your team/driver but the whole idea of the sport is to have the exilaration of a fantastic victory!

    13. Im hoping that redbull (sebastian) have issues whether they be reliability or punishments etc (hehe..I know sorry but thats what we all need for the championship to be drawn out).

      Got a big feeling that ferrari will be very competetive. Can see Mercedes still having big issues with the qualifying ahead of them will be important. Think renault will take a bit of a step forward and could be a handful, even too williams considering all the updates they’re bringing.

      Hope Lewis can repeat his canadian form as hes been mighty there.

      However Im very concerned about 2 DRS zones – even any DRS zones as Montreal has shown before you dont need to interfere with the racing there as its always been fantastic and eventful…just leave it up to the pirellis!

    14. Everything seem to play to Lewis Hamilton’s hands. Not-aero track, track where Q doesn’t count that heavily because there are places to pass, great personal records (like Raikkonen has in Spa, or Massa had in Istanbul), strong race pace of the McLaren.

      Alonso and Ferrari also seem to be in strong position but lower temperatures could hinder their progress.

      As for Vettel, I think this is the first time this year when he really needs to go for a stable, solid podium instead of a win. He has a 58 points advantage – should be more than enough for the championship if he looks after it cleverly.

      1. Also, the lower temps are another pro for Lewis: thanks to this the softs and particularly the super-softs will last despite his direct driving style.

    15. I am suprised they have decided to test out 2 DRS zones in Canada, why did they not do something like that at Monaco? Monaco would have benefited from 2 zones, I know its slightly different, but if there is a circuit that does not need help with overtaking its this one!

      1. Mouse_Nightshirt
        8th June 2011, 20:51

        Where on earth could you have put the other one considering DRS was banned in he tunnel?

    16. should be some safety cars here.

    17. I agree that maybe 2 zones aren’t needed in canada but where would you put a second one in monaco? it was banned even for practice and qualy in the tunnel so that’s out.

    18. jamesal-rawazik
      8th June 2011, 20:13

      the real underdogs at canada this weekend will be force india…………..

      1. I’m not so sure, Force India seem to come to the fore at low downforce tracks the past few years.

    19. He’s certainly got another chance to bounce off something!

      I can hardly wait to see what McLaren/Engineers/Drivers do to shoot themselves in the foot again.

      Vettel or Alonso will be the ones making no mistakes around this circuit.

    20. Looks as though the weather could add to the mix. The “official” govt. of Canada Met Service is now giving:

      Saturday: Periods of rain. Low 13. High 22.

      Sunday: Rain. Low 11. High 17.

    21. I thought I’d accidentally clicked through to planetf1 when I saw this was the lead story this morning, oh well.

      1. Well there’s a lesson on why you should read the entire article instead of just the headline.

    22. Can anyone remember the last wet Canadian GP? I can’t for the life of me.

      Hamilton to win btw.

      1. 2000, off the top of my head.

        1. wow, that is a long time ago. it’ll be interesting if we do have a wet one.

      2. It’s a bit of a strange place for rain in the summer. I remember waking up to sweltering humidity, pouring with rain by 11, half an hour later it was over and dry before lunch!

    23. Younger Hamii
      8th June 2011, 22:39

      I’ve Just Noticed the last NON-AGGRESSIVE Driver to win here in Canada was Ralf Schumacher in 2001 from there on its been rather Schumi,Kimi,Fernando,Robert and Lewis(Known to be very Aggressive out on the Track) that have won this Grand Prix but hey who says Vettel cant be aggressive.But definetely my Bets are on Lewis or Fernando to win this race and im not determining the Race Victor by how aggressive Drivers are.

      Im Just implying that Montreal is a Drivers Circuit that rewards Aggression(we’ve seen it with Lewis and Robert in previous Years) and its a typical Low Downforce Track,Playing to Ferrari and McLaren’s Hand, who are more capable of balancing Downforce and Drag than RB can.

    24. Nigelstash (@)
      8th June 2011, 23:20

      A little thought about qualifying. My favoured theory for Red Bull’s domination of of qualifying is their ability to use DRS much earlier out of corners due to them sticking to high speed corners like glue (particularly evident in Turkey). This will be less of an advantage for them in Canada, as in Monaco, where Hamilton had the pace to close the gap on Vettel in Q1 and Q2. It is not a foregone conclusion that Red Bull will be on the front row.

    25. I want a Ferrari win this weekend.

      But I’m staring down the barrel of a Red Bull walkover or McLaren victory.

    26. If Vettel wins here too, the WDC will have been decided already. But he won’t win. Everyone is talking about Lewis and he is certainly a favorite here, but I think Alonso will have a lot to say as well. He could have won in Monaco, were it not for Vettel’s unbelievable run of luck (granted, coupled w/ skill). I can’t see past Lewis and Alonso for the race win. If neither wins it, they are done for this year’s title.

      1. Ferrari’s performance on the soft and super softs makes them a real threat here. Hamilton seems the odds on favorite, and that makes sense, but I can really see any of the Redbull, McLaren or Ferrari drivers taking this. I think it will be the most equalized performance from the three teams we have seen so far.

    27. Until & unless RED Bull get over their KERS issue I doubt that they will be good here as this is a circuit which does need more horses then aero. It will be an exciting race & I think someone other the Vettel will win this time & my prime candidate is Lewis & Fernando. Dark horses can be the Renault & Saubers.

    28. McLaren have high hopes for this weekend’s race, claiming they were faster than the Red Bulls in the last two races.

      That may be so but no-one’s been able to keep Red Bull from pole position this year.

      I suspect the problem is that the Red Bull is a great ‘finishing’ car. It’s at its strongest when it’s low on fuel. They’ve worked out that the secret to success is a strong qualifying position and opening stint (hence the talk of ‘start-only KERS’) because then they can dictate the race. One of the biggest tactical errors that teams have committed this year has been in following the standard Bridgestone approach of pitting to cover someone else. But the Pirellis require you to reverse-engineer your race: you have to decide where you want to be at the end of the race – or at least your final stop – and work backwards from there. Trying to cover someone off meddles with your own race strategy, and the Pirellis are not very forgiving of that. The team that beats Red Bull will not be the team that manages their tyres best, but the team that resists the temptation to cover someone else’s stop and instead stays on the right tyres at the right time.

    29. Dear Lewis

      Heh Lewis thinks he’s great because from his narrow and ignorant perspective he’s concentrating on what he thinks is the most important aspect of the sport, winning.

      But he’s wrong. People always win in sport, always, but people don’t watch all sports all the time because, while there’s always a winner, people need to understand the sport, and identify with those they want to win.

      Sadly it seems some people indentify with people ONLY because they happen to come from the same country as them. Well that’s their choice, Lewis has got a lot of fans…

      I also identify with Lewis Hamilton, that’s why I want him to lose and be shown for who he is. He is spoiled, arrogant, ignorant and totally unempathic. He’s lived a sheltered life and been brought up with some grossly inadequate values.

      You know the only way to win in sport? To beat OTHER PEOPLE. To make this interesting, all of these people competing play by the same rules, so that you know who has won.

      But Lewis, with his childish worldview, doesn’t see the bigger picture. He just cares about himself and his perspective. Pity. Pity he can’t see that rules are there to make winning more important. Pity he can’t see that there are (usually) 24 other drivers (including the “monkeys” at the back – a Lewis Hamilton quote there) all the same as him who want to win just as much.

      To be honest it’s quite sad. The only think that makes it irritating is the fact that the British sporting press have been going on about him for ages as if he couldn’t do anything wrong, and that coverage of him is woefully disproportinate, especially from ITV a couple of years ago.

      Formula One Racing would be SO much better without him. He ruined the race on Sunday because he thought he had the right to be ahead of other drivers because he thinks he’s better than them. But how does he know? He’s not even competing in the same sport. Lewis Hamilton is competing in the Lewis Hamilton Ego Formula One conundrum, a game he can’t win, and can’t lose.

      Tim S.

      1. Paper Tiger
        9th June 2011, 9:09

        ” The only think that makes it irritating is the fact that the British sporting press have been going on about him for ages as if he couldn’t do anything wrong”.

        I suggest you try reading a British newspaper before commenting, because that’s completely false.

      2. You could just as easily replace the name Hamilton in your post with Schumacher, Alonso, Senna… All drivers capable on their day of using the most unsavoury of tactics when it suited them to do the only thing they could comprehend: winning.

        Our sport has a rich, exciting and incredible history thanks to its great, great heroes and devious, evil villains. Many drivers fall into both categories depending on your viewpoint. We should enjoy the ride and let history judge the drivers, not try and have them removed to suit the tastes of Tim S. For that would be a very bland sport indeed, I am sure you agree.

      3. Hmmm, he ruined the race because he thinks he’s better than other drivers. Did Muhammad Ali ruin boxing because he thought he was better than Joe Frazier, George Foreman & Sonny Liston? It’s not a morality contest and I doubt Hamilton thinks he’s a better “person”, just a better driver – it’s called confidence mate.

        You said yourself the only way to win in sport is beat other people, how else do you do that in motor racing other than by going faster and overtaking?

      4. @Tim S –

        What is truly sad is when people like you who haven’t won anything substantial in their life, who haven’t competed in ANY sport at the highest level, who cannot comprehend the concept of absolute belief in ones abilities, who have no confidence in themselves, now feel they have the right to judge others who have the balls to put in the hard work, sacrifices and pain to achieve more in their short life, than you ever would your whole life.
        Go figure.

    30. If Hamilton qualifies in the top 3 i’m tempted to say it’s his to lose.

      1. It only remains to be seen what half-***** strategy McLaren’s Engineers/Drivers come up with.

        The only thing that might be slightly bothering Vettel right now is why on earth didn’t he didn’t 3 stop in China.

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