2016 Canadian Grand Prix team-by-team preview

2016 Canadian Grand Prix

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While Mercedes remain the team to beat their rivals have begun to close in.

Red Bull’s engine upgrade could make them a contender for victory this weekend and Ferrari are also bringing new bits for their motor. Which will lead the charge against the silver cars on Sunday?


The Mercedes team will be very wary of the increased threat posed by Red Bull, but will rely on their dominant power unit to keep them clear of the pack in Canada. This is one of Lewis Hamilton’s favourite circuits, having taken his first victory here in 2007 and reaching the top step three times since.


Keen to move on from their disappointing performance at Monaco, the team will be spending a further two tokens to upgrade the turbo this weekend. That might be what they need to close the gap between them and Mercedes – and put those troublesome Red Bulls back behind them.


Bottas has gone well in Canada, taking a podium last year and third on the grid in 2013

The long straights will typically suit the Williams car, but the twisty middle sector will punish any lack of grip. Their power unit advantage should put them in contention for a good points finish.

Valtteri Bottas finished third here last year, but Felipe Massa is the only driver to finish every race in the top ten so far in 2016. On paper this looks like their best chance of taking a podium finish so far this year.

Red Bull

After being strategically snookered in Spain and watching his team gift-wrap victory for Hamilton in Monaco, Daniel Ricciardo) will be desperate to claim his elusive first victory of the season. Red Bull’s low downforce package has been very effective in recent years and coupled to their upgraded Renault power unit (now available to both drivers) could see them challenging Mercedes once again.

Meanwhile Max Verstappen needs to prioritise steering clear of the ‘wall of champions’ and Montreal’s many other hazards following his destructive Monaco Grand Prix weekend.

Force India

Once again Sergio Perez grabbed a podium by stealth in Monaco, beating both a Ferrari and a Mercedes with excellent strategy calls from the team. Another good result in Canada is possible as the high speed nature of the circuit is likely to suit their chassis and both drivers should be solid points contenders.

However Perez over-played his hand in his race in 2014, struggling on old tyres as he tried to retain third place here when he defended too aggressively against Felipe Massa at turn one, resulting in a huge collision and a post-race penalty.


Pirelli have brought the same compounds for Canada as for Monaco, with teams able to use the soft, super-soft and ultra-soft tyre. Surprisingly Renault have decided to not use the super-soft at all.

The decision, made 14 weeks ago, may not be as radical as the team had hoped as in Monaco the ultrasoft tyre did not provide significantly more grip compared to the supersoft as was predicted. It remains to be seen how the new compound will behave away from the unique Monte Carlo streets.

Toro Rosso

Toro Rosso struggled last year in Montreal as they were hampered by their low straight-line speed with an under-powered Renault engine. This year they should stand a better chance of competing for points, but will need to eliminate the problems in the pits that plagued Carlos Sainz Jnr in Monaco.


The collision between the team’s drivers in Monaco would have been unacceptable at any time. The team’s precarious financial situation made it even worse.

They will continue to feel the after-effects here as Marcus Ericsson was given a three-place grid penalty for the contact, meaning he will likely start from the final row of the grid.


Canada is likely to be a difficult weekend for McLaren as the long straights and harsh acceleration zones will bring out any weaknesses of the power unit. Honda is bringing an upgrade, however, and the team has made gains since the season began.

Chances of a repeat of Jenson Button’s spectacular victory here in 2011 are slim indeed, but the team are sure that steady progress is being made to return them to the top step soon.


The fact that the Manor car cannot produce as much downforce as its rivals means it generally will produce less drag, which may be of benefit down the long straights. Coupled to a Mercedes engine this will see them slightly closer to the pack, but don’t expect miracles.


Haas has an even more aggressive tyre selection than Renault, bringing ten ultra-soft sets per driver and just three of the softs.

Romain Grosjean has taken all of the points for the team so far this year and he achieved the best result of his career to date in Canada for Lotus in 2012 with second place. Esteban Gutierrez was elated just to see the chequered flag in Monaco.

2016 driver form

DriverGrid averageRace averageRace bestRace worstClassified
Lewis Hamilton6.333.00175/6
Nico Rosberg1.672.20175/6
Sebastian Vettel4.503.00244/5
Kimi Raikkonen5.003.00254/6
Felipe Massa9.837.005106/6
Valtteri Bottas7.678.004126/6
Daniel Ricciardo4.004.832116/6
Daniil Kvyat11.338.753154/6
Nico Hulkenberg10.0010.756154/6
Sergio Perez9.339.833166/6
Kevin Magnussen16.8312.407175/6
Jolyon Palmer17.3314.7511224/5
Max Verstappen9.836.251104/6
Carlos Sainz Jnr8.508.806125/6
Marcus Ericsson17.5013.5012164/6
Felipe Nasr19.0015.8014205/6
Fernando Alonso11.007.675123/5
Jenson Button12.5011.009145/6
Pascal Wehrlein19.8315.8313186/6
Rio Haryanto20.6717.5015214/6
Romain Grosjean14.3310.205195/6
Esteban Gutierrez15.8313.2511174/6
Stoffel Vandoorne12.0010.0010101/1

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2016 Canadian Grand Prix

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Author information

Chris Turner
Being pelted by rain on his first visit to an F1 race at the 1998 British Grand Prix wasn't enough to dim Chris's passion...

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10 comments on “2016 Canadian Grand Prix team-by-team preview”

  1. Ferrari to be 3rd best again

  2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    9th June 2016, 14:54

    I know Hamilton is an acclaimed Montreal master, but I would also say it has become one of Rosberg’s stronger circuits too. Last year, he was probably only cost victory by a poor first run in Q3, before the track would lose pace in the final run – he looked marginally faster in race pace the following day. In 2014 he was sublime. He outqualified Lewis on pure pace, before producing a technical masterclass of a race drive to nurse home in second place the ERS failure that hit both W05s that day.

    He owes much of that P2 to the brake issue Sergio Perez was suffering, but nonetheless produced perhaps his best drive of the 2014 season. I remember it as the weekend, and the qualifying session especially, where it started to dawn on me that Nico Rosberg had all the tools he needed take on his illustrious teammate. However Hamilton tends to keep a bag of magic dust about his person, so be prepared for me to be proven wrong…

    1. @william-brierty, prior to becoming each other’s team mates, both Hamilton and Rosberg had never been outqualified in Canada, so indeed it’s a good track for Rosberg too. About the 2014 race, in my memory Hamilton was faster most of the weekend, except for Q3 where he messed up his laps by locking his brakes. But in general my memory is not perfect.

      Anyway, I am most interested in what the Red Bulls can do this weekend. Let’s see if Ricciardo can create something special out of all that frustration that has built over the last two Grand Prix, and as a Dutchman I’m hoping for a solid, Wall-of-champion-free weekend for Verstappen.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        9th June 2016, 18:45

        @adrianmorse – Hamilton had indeed dominated the weekend up until Q3 in 2014, and he did indeed lock-up on his fastest lap. However I remember from a side-by-side comparison from the time, and Lewis didn’t lose the time with what was actually a pretty superficial lock-up, Rosberg just carried more speed into the final chicane.

        I know the Renault powertrain has made progress this year, but Ricciardo finished thirteenth here last year having had a strong showing in Monaco with what was a less competitive car than the RB12. Also, at a similar-ish track in Bahrain, Red Bull were not super quick earlier this year. In terms of Verstappen, apart from his emerging bogey circuit at Monaco, he has no track record in being particularly magnetic to the barriers, so I shouldn’t worry about Max and the wall-of-champions. It’s funny how different drivers build different relationships with the utterly unique challenge of Monaco. Vettel who, you would agree, is a mighty fine peddler, is no Monaco master, nor is Raikkonen, but a number of “supporting cast” drivers like Trulli, Webber and Kubica were consistently awesome.

    2. Although Rosberg does tend to qualify well, Hamilton generally seems to be faster in race. In 2014 Hamilton was hounding Rosberg in the race when they both had Hybrid related issues. In fact Rosberg cut corner to retain track position. If Hamilton had been ahead of Rosberg, his brakes probably would not have failed and I even think he would have won the race. But I do notice that Rosberg is as fast or even faster than Hamilton on a single wisely lap.

      1. Spell check…Not wisely but qualy lap.

      2. Hamilton was hounding only after after ROS slowed down to protect his car when both suffered an issue at the same time. HAM didn’t slow down to nurse the car of course, and of course then his car failed. Then Hamilton could say ‘ It wasn’t me it was the car’ again and all his fans could say ‘He was catching ROS until his car failed’ :-P

        Classic Lewis.

  3. Valtteri seems to like the track and the Williams should be pretty good there. It would be great if he were on the podium again this year.

  4. Red Bull have generally gone better than expected here, their victory in 2013 was against the run of form (for that point of the season) and of course, Ric took his first win here in 2014. I think they will probably give Mercs the closest run for their money. I also predict a top 5 for Force India, since I think Perez has another good chance of making a counter strategy work. If it rains then RBR should have it in the bag.

  5. For the race/grid “averages” I think it would be better to quote the mode or median, rather than the mean. A single poor qualifying, exclusion or other grid drop sways the mean quite a lot!

    Does changing form of average impact the table much?

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