Chance of rain promises classic race in Canada

2011 Canadian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Montreal, 2011

Sebastian Vettel starts from his sixth pole position of the year in Montreal.

But several of his rivals are well-equipped to keep him from his sixth win of the year.

Not least of which the Ferraris, who had their best qualifying performance of the year.

The McLaren’s race pace is not to be underestimated either, and they look well-prepared for wet conditions.


The prospect of rain has dominated the teams’ preparations for the Canadian Grand Prix. Showers are expected throughout today at the circuit.

The drivers have had no running in the wet at Montreal so far. Nor have they had much experience of Pirelli’s wet and intermediate tyres, which are identified by orange and blue lettering respectively.

That does at least mean they have a full stock of fresh wet weather tyres available. This could prove important as the limited running they have done on them so far has indicated they wear out quite quickly.

As is always the case when a wet race is in prospect, there is much speculation over which teams and drivers have made the greatest concessions to a wet weather set-up.

The two McLarens and Nick Heidfeld are among those who appear to be running more wing. In wet conditions this could pay off with improved performance and better tyre life.

The start

The fast-starting Ferraris could pose a threat to Vettel at the start.

Fernando Alonso leapt from fourth on the grid to lead in Spain two races ago. He also gained one place at the start in Monaco despite the very short run to the first corner.

It’s a fairly short run to turn one at Montreal – just 200m, roughly the same as Melbourne. See below for more data on the drivers’ starts this year.

The first corners at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve also present a high risk of incident – remember Felipe Massa’s collision with Vitantonio Liuzzi last year.

Depending on the conditions, Race Control may order a single-file rolling start behind the safety car.


If the race is dry, the top ten drivers will start on the super-soft tyres they qualified on.

Drivers were able to lap strongly on both compounds during practice with little sign of the problems they encountered last year.

But even without rain today’s race is expected to see much cooler conditions, which could also affect how well the tyres last.

Brake wear is always a consideration at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in dry races. They take the greatest punishment at the start of the race, on high fuel loads running in the hot slipstream of other cars.

Position change on lap one

Average Total 1 2 3 4 5 6
Sebastian Vettel -0.33 -2 0 0 -2 0 0 0
Mark Webber -1.5 -9 0 -6 1 -1 -2 -1
Lewis Hamilton -0.67 -4 0 -1 1 -2 -1 -1
Jenson Button -0.83 -5 -2 0 1 1 -5 0
Fernando Alonso -0.33 -2 -4 -2 -1 1 3 1
Felipe Massa 0.83 5 3 1 1 0 0 0
Michael Schumacher -0.33 -2 -11 3 5 1 4 -4
Nico Rosberg -0.17 -1 0 -4 0 1 0 2
Nick Heidfeld 3 18 5 4 2 0 7 0
Vitaly Petrov 0.83 5 2 3 -2 -1 1 2
Rubens Barrichello -0.67 -4 -3 0 0 0 -1 0
Pastor Maldonado -1.17 -7 -1 0 -3 0 -4 1
Adrian Sutil 1.17 7 4 1 3 0 -1 0
Paul di Resta 1.33 8 4 0 1 0 2 1
Kamui Kobayashi -0.5 -3 1 0 2 5 -10 -1
Sergio Perez -2.6 -13 -1 -1 -4 -8 1
Sebastien Buemi -0.5 -3 -1 0 -4 0 2 0
Jaime Alguersuari -1.83 -11 -9 2 -3 -3 1 1
Heikki Kovalainen 0.83 5 4 0 1 3 -1 -2
Jarno Trulli 1.5 9 3 -1 1 2 3 1
Narain Karthikeyan 0.2 1 0 0 1 0 0
Vitantonio Liuzzi 1 5 0 2 1 2 0
Timo Glock 0.4 2 2 1 0 -1 0
Jerome d’Ambrosio 0.67 4 4 0 -2 2 0 0

2011 Canadian Grand Prix

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    Image © Ferrari spa/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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    60 comments on “Chance of rain promises classic race in Canada”

    1. I cannot wait for todays race!

      For those wanting to follow the weather radar, I have found the following link.

      1. SabatFormulaOne
        12th June 2011, 10:41

        Now it’s raining . 60% of rain chance during the race .

        1. Wow ! Now it’s 80% chance of rain !

      2. I was about to post the same link :)

      3. not sure how far away the webcams are but theres a live link to a few montreal webcams here for a visual idea of the weather

        1. I searched for webcams too, but haven’t been able to find one.

          However a large zone of rain is heading towards Ciruit Gilles Villeneuve from SW according to the radar above. Up to 8 mm of rain per hour.

    2. I think it will be a massive race again. Track will be very slippery from the rain in the morning certainly.

      Having wet would be nice, as it means we won’t have to bother with the doubled up DRS thing. But I would rather have slippery and maybe a small bit of rain with maximum part intermediates running, not a fully wet race.

      1. I think the conditions will change, so the drivers will change from intermediates to wets or vice-versa. Something new and exciting to watch out for!

      2. it means we won’t have to bother with the doubled up DRS thing.

        I think you’re writing it off too quickly. I’m interested to see it just to see how it works. If there’s any race you can play around with it, it’s Canada because all the other elements for a thriller are already in place.

    3. You know, given the choice between a wet race and a dry race, I’d have to say I’ll always pick a dry race – but one where the rain is a perpetual threat. I love watching everyone sit by lap by lap, constantly re-doing their calculations until finally someone makes the call. It happened in China last year, and that was fantastic.

      1. Agreed. Also agree on your above point about double DRS.

      2. Well said, I don’t mind it staying dry in the race, but between the on track rubber having washed of in the morning and a threat of rain, and maybe a few drops to make it tricky, it looks good.

      3. This is exactly why I find Spa a great race. The unpredictable weather is always a threat and has everyone sharp for an entire race.

    4. id like the rain to come if it does, about 10 laps into the race so we can have a grid start.

      1. Exactly, + it gives us that awkward time when teams don’t know when they should pit.

    5. I wish rain would come during the race. Rail should spice the race but I don’t want to see rolling start.

    6. Everywhere I look for Montreal it says rain. It’s going to be great!

    7. My one wish for this race is that there should be no Ferrari team orders should Massa get ahead.

      Even if it costs Alonso some points now, it damages for the team in the longer run.

      1. I would hate that too. Alonso has so little chance of winning the championship, it would be painful.

        1. Alonso has so little chance of winning the championship, it would be painful.

          He’s reckons he’s got until Silverstone to find something to fight Vettel with, or else Ferrari will have to start concentrating on 2012.

          What I’d really like to see is Alonso find that something and keep in touch with Vettel all year – only to realise some time around India that he made the wrong call and that Vettel will be the 2011 World Champion.

          Yes, I take a perverse kind of glee out of watching Alonso be forced to realise he’s only second-best.

          1. You mean his car is 2nd best

          2. I’m not a fan of Alonso, but I still think he is the best out of this years drivers. Somebody pointed out in an earlier article that Vettel made errors on his pole lap and was still 1st, showing the superiority. IDK if that parts true or not, but either way I still think Alonso is a better driver.

            1. Oh, he might be the better driver – it’s his personality and attitude that rub me the wrogn way. I find him to be an entirely unlikeable person.

        2. Matthew McMahon
          12th June 2011, 17:25

          It isn’t looking good. But we have to look back to last year, after Belgium he was pretty much written off as having a chance of winning the title and he came back and very nearly took it. But I completely agree that in the current situation there is no call for team orders (still think it should be banned!). I’d love to see Massa get one on Alonso!!

      2. With a double drs zone or if it rains,
        I’m sure Alonso will be able to get past Massa without the teams help. As I’m sure Lewis, Jenson, and Mark will get by him as well.

    8. Lookout for Alonso because of his experience, and Hamilton because as Kieth said more wing and because he is brilliant in the rain.

    9. Wow, Mark Webber is equal 2nd worst for average starting positions lost on the first lap. At least it’s a short run to turn 1, if he doesn’t have KERS.

      1. The average is a bit bloated because of his Malaysia start without Kers, but he isn’t the best starter…

        1. also he qualifies well in the redbull, alot of places to lose not many places to gain

    10. I might have wanted a dry race today but since the tyre wear on the super softs doesnt seem too bad, bring on the rain!!!

    11. Yesterday, here, we had a 75% chance of rain and it rained for 2 minutes, so I wouldn’t get overly excited about 60%, who knows what will happen there. Rain or no rain I’m sure it will be a great race.
      Rain = no DRS, that might be good.

    12. It looks like most of the showers (more prolonged ones) will be before the race, but with showers you never know.

    13. Michael Short
      12th June 2011, 11:52

      As I look out my Hotel window getting ready to go to thre train to the cirduit it is wet out but not raining. The wind is very gusty.

    14. Gotta be Fernando or Vettel to take this one. Cannot wait for the Ferrari’s start, Massa could well sneak up.

      1. Quick, someone hide Vettel’s magic Monza balaclava…

    15. What about tyres if it is a dry race who have the most number of option left?

    16. Of course it will be a classic because I’m not able to watch it.

      1. Well i hope your bad luck is real because that will mean we will be able to see an awesome race.

        1. i hate you.

    17. I don’t think that rain will make the race more interesting, because in that case DRS will be disabled.

      1. If there’s a race that can do without DRS, it might actually be Montréal. Mind you, if it rains, things are spiced up anyway :)

    18. I’m not sure tyres are going to be that important for once, if it dries up. Tyre degradation is so low that I can even imagine one stop strategies. Two is going to be the norm though, but I think everybody managed to save 2 sets of super-softs which has zero or little amount of running.

      As a Ferrari fan I certainly would have liked rain in pretty much every race up to now (except maybe Monaco and Malaysia), but please not now! Given ‘normal’ circumstances (which are rare in Montreal; SC is always expected even in dry conditions) I think today Ferrari is the team to beat.

      So I want a smooth, normal race and a Prancing Horse-victory for once.

      1. I just looked at the radar linked (big thank you! :)).

        Rain has fallen and departed as of now. I’ll check it every once and a while, but if it stays like this, the tracks is going to dry up I think. Even though it’s gonna be ‘green’, slippery. Could very well catch someone off guard especially in the early stages so I bet we are in for an early SC.

    19. If you look on Jake Humphrey latest photo tweet, it’s defentely raining, so hopefully it will be raining during the grand prix and helping the McLarens

    20. high chance of safety car start in GP #BBCF1@andrewbensonf13 mins ago


    21. There’s a decent amount of rain on its way to the course, looks like it will arrive about an hour before the race starts, and end shortly after the start of the race.

    22. It’s misting at the circuit gilles villeneuve right now. The track is wet. Support races have been running wet tires so far. I’d say it’s start that’ll be done on intermediates.

    23. Chance of rain is %99.9 Looks like a decent downpour at some point during the race too.

      1. Please, please, please, let it rain somewhere in the middle of the race. I want a clean dry start, and then a sudden kaboom-splash of heavenly water to shake things up…

        Dear little F1 Deities, make it rain during the rain, not before. Let the track dry and keep it that way until the “Look but never stare” moment and the first few laps (hey, we might as well properly test the double DRS zone with single detection point before).

    24. What are the rules on DRS if it rains? Are they still allowed to use it?

      1. No, DRS is disabled in the wet. If it dries out, FIA can enable it at some point.

    25. Some sites are reporting very heavy rain near the circuit. So it seems Mclaren’s gamble paid off.

      1. I don’t understand why you say it was a gamble. They were given odds of 60% rain, 40% no rain. Therefore it would be a gamble not to set your car up for the rain.

    26. Oh wow look at Heidfeld’s Lap One Change! Pretty impressive :)

    27. Chance of rain promises classic race in Canada

      Looks more like a damp squib at the current moment!

    28. I think you jinxed it Keith! :P

    29. Epic race, but I’m glad to be sitting comfortably in the sunshine in Denmark, and not waiting for the restart in the rain in Montreal.
      A pity for Lewis and the tyre change by Button and Alonso, which turned out to be a bad idea.
      My prediction is bad – I only have 1 driver correct in top 5 by now.
      But a good race so far for Kobayashi, Massa, and the Renaults. If they get started again, maybe Webber, Alonso and Button will get back in the top 5.

    30. And pitstops are not counting as they can now change tyres before the restart.

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