Cool weather gives Mercedes’ rivals cause for optimism

2016 Canadian Grand Prix pre-race analysis

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Although the prospect of rain remains for tomorrow afternoon at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, only a small amount is expected.

One local forecaster rates the chance of rainfall around the time of the race at 80%, but expects just 2-4mm to fall.

However continuing low temperatures at the track gives Mercedes’ rivals cause for optimism. “Tomorrow’s going to be cool, if not wet, so with those conditions it could be anyone’s race,” says Daniel Ricciardo.

“Hopefully it’s a five- or six-way fight – that could be a lot of fun. I think being on the right tyre at the right time is crucial.”

Even pole sitter Lewis Hamilton found Pirelli’s ultra-soft tyres surprisingly conservative, perhaps due to the mandatory minimum tyre pressures imposed by F1’s official tyre supplier.

“The ultra-soft is not particularly soft for whatever reason,” he said, “they’re just such hard compounds”. Hamilton said it took “so long to get the temperature into them” in qualifying, “you need two laps to really bed the heat into the tread”.

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Alonso reached Q3 for the third race running
The performance of the tyres in the cooler conditions which have developed since yesterday has led Pirelli to predict the race will be a one-stopper. However the introduction of a softer fifth compound was exactly what Pirelli said was necessary to prevent a repeat of last year’s one-stop race.

Nonetheless the closeness of the field to Mercedes will raise hopes of a more competitive race. Hamilton sounded a warning note over the threat from Ferrari after qualifying, and a glance at the speed trap shows why. With Ferrari’s new turbo, only the Williams were quicker than Vettel’s car through the speed trap, and he had the second-highest top speed at all three intermediate timing points.

There was encouragement for McLaren as Fernando Alonso reached Q3 for the third race running on three very different circuit configurations. However this came with an ‘assist’ from his team mate.

“On my final Q2 lap I didn’t get a tow down the back straight and Fernando did – he got a tow from me” said Button. Even with that tow Alonso was at the foot of the speed trap.

Qualifying times in full

Driver Car Q1

Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’14.121 1’13.076 (-1.045) 1’12.812 (-0.264)
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’13.714 1’13.094 (-0.620) 1’12.874 (-0.220)
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’13.925 1’13.857 (-0.068) 1’12.990 (-0.867)
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1’14.030 1’13.540 (-0.490) 1’13.166 (-0.374)
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1’14.601 1’13.793 (-0.808) 1’13.414 (-0.379)
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’14.477 1’13.849 (-0.628) 1’13.579 (-0.270)
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1’14.389 1’13.791 (-0.598) 1’13.670 (-0.121)
8 Felipe Massa Williams 1’14.815 1’13.864 (-0.951) 1’13.769 (-0.095)
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1’14.663 1’14.166 (-0.497) 1’13.952 (-0.214)
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1’15.026 1’14.260 (-0.766) 1’14.338 (+0.078)
11 Sergio Perez Force India 1’14.814 1’14.317 (-0.497)
12 Jenson Button McLaren 1’14.755 1’14.437 (-0.318)
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1’14.829 1’14.457 (-0.372)
14 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1’15.148 1’14.571 (-0.577)
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 1’15.444 1’14.803 (-0.641)
16 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso 1’14.714 1’21.956 (+7.242)
17 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1’15.459
18 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1’15.599
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1’15.635
20 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1’16.663
21 Rio Haryanto Manor 1’17.052
22 Kevin Magnussen Renault

Sector times

Driver Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3
Lewis Hamilton 20.154 (1) 23.529 (2) 29.054 (1)
Nico Rosberg 20.340 (4) 23.466 (1) 29.068 (2)
Sebastian Vettel 20.273 (2) 23.612 (4) 29.105 (3)
Daniel Ricciardo 20.287 (3) 23.631 (5) 29.248 (5)
Max Verstappen 20.348 (5) 23.647 (6) 29.306 (6)
Kimi Raikkonen 20.433 (7) 23.608 (3) 29.479 (8)
Valtteri Bottas 20.577 (8) 23.825 (8) 29.189 (4)
Felipe Massa 20.430 (6) 23.774 (7) 29.511 (10)
Nico Hulkenberg 20.628 (10) 23.894 (9) 29.424 (7)
Fernando Alonso 20.613 (9) 23.931 (11) 29.625 (12)
Sergio Perez 20.743 (13) 23.965 (12) 29.502 (9)
Jenson Button 20.672 (11) 23.915 (10) 29.709 (14)
Daniil Kvyat 20.766 (15) 24.008 (13) 29.611 (11)
Esteban Gutierrez 20.752 (14) 24.025 (15) 29.764 (17)
Romain Grosjean 20.829 (16) 24.193 (16) 29.758 (15)
Carlos Sainz Jnr 20.727 (12) 24.023 (14) 29.659 (13)
Jolyon Palmer 21.159 (18) 24.307 (17) 29.993 (18)
Pascal Wehrlein 21.353 (19) 24.378 (18) 29.762 (16)
Marcus Ericsson 21.151 (17) 24.440 (19) 30.007 (19)
Felipe Nasr 21.563 (21) 24.780 (21) 30.248 (20)
Rio Haryanto 21.530 (20) 24.708 (20) 30.531 (21)
Kevin Magnussen

Speed trap

Pos Driver Car Engine Speed (kph/mph) Gap
1 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 336.7 (209.2)
2 Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes 336.6 (209.2) -0.1
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Ferrari 335.4 (208.4) -1.3
4 Pascal Wehrlein Manor Mercedes 334.9 (208.1) -1.8
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari 334.4 (207.8) -2.3
6 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 333.3 (207.1) -3.4
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes Mercedes 332.9 (206.9) -3.8
8 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso Ferrari 332.2 (206.4) -4.5
9 Max Verstappen Red Bull TAG Heuer 332.2 (206.4) -4.5
10 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 332.2 (206.4) -4.5
11 Esteban Gutierrez Haas Ferrari 332.0 (206.3) -4.7
12 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull TAG Heuer 331.6 (206.0) -5.1
13 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 331.2 (205.8) -5.5
14 Rio Haryanto Manor Mercedes 331.0 (205.7) -5.7
15 Jolyon Palmer Renault Renault 331.0 (205.7) -5.7
16 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 331.0 (205.7) -5.7
17 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Ferrari 330.9 (205.6) -5.8
18 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 330.9 (205.6) -5.8
19 Felipe Nasr Sauber Ferrari 327.6 (203.6) -9.1
20 Jenson Button McLaren Honda 327.0 (203.2) -9.7
21 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 325.3 (202.1) -11.4

Over to you

Will Hamilton continue to make inroads into his team mate’s championship lead tomorrow? Will Ferrari or Red Bull take the fight to Mercedes?

Share your views on the Canadian Grand Prix in the comments.

2016 Canadian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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26 comments on “Cool weather gives Mercedes’ rivals cause for optimism”

  1. Has Lewis gambled in setting his car up for wet weather tomorrow? This might be a bad move because if it does not rain, then he can be in a bit of trouble tomorrow.

    1. he might have.

    2. He has

  2. What ever happened to the infrared cameras? Especially now with all the tyre warm-up issues going on, why aren’t they showing it in the live-feed anymore?

    1. Good point @me4me. Perhaps FOM couldn’t find a way to monetise them.

    2. It would show nothing on the rock-hard and stone-cold tyres…


      1. lol @atticus-2

        But just think, being serious for a second, suppose the graphic showed the window for the tyre, and the actual temperatures, overlaid? Teams probably have something like that already. I imagine the FOM infrared showed surface temperatures whereas Pirelli and the teams use something a bit deeper, but if they developed the viewer experience on those lines…

        1. I’d fancy something like that, yes. @lockup

  3. Hamilton 1st in sector 3 but 18th in the speed trap, assuming it was the same lap.

    1. He seemed to lose time in S2 pretty consistently. I hope he is high on downforce, if tyre warming is going to be a struggle.

  4. Very surprised to see Ferrari above RB on s2, by a very small margin yet it is where as in past years the RB’s would shine here . The Ferrari’s looked significantly better today yet I still thought the RB’s had a better balance, guess I was wrong on that. Honda keep proving McLaren wrong, sure there’s still lots of work but as of 2016 Honda is not dragging McLaren down, McLaren need to sign someone RB really doesn’t want to lose not like prodromou which they let go.

    1. @peartree You mean getting their men back. IIRC Prodomou is in McLaren before he goes to RB

      1. @sonicslv, that is correct – Prodromou was originally recruited by McLaren straight from university, and he worked for them until Newey poached him from McLaren (it seems that Newey specifically recommended him to Red Bull and pushed for them to hire him).

        @peartree, with regards to Prodromou, rather than meekly “letting him go”, it was Prodromou who rejected Red Bull, having turned down their offer of a contract extension. Red Bull fought very hard to persuade Prodromou to stay on though – Horner himself stated at the time that “We are certainly in no rush to release him early and he will be with the team until the end of his existing agreement.”.

        They only chose to let him go because McLaren had launched legal action against them over Dan Fallows, and the price of dropping the court case was letting Prodromou go – it was a decision they made with considerable reluctance and only with the threat of legal action in the background.

        1. @sonicslv I know, I think it was clear that Fallows was the man they would not let go, hence my comment.
          Anon, I guess you feed on red bull…

    2. Red Bull were running visibly less rear wing than their competitors, I noticed in qualy… Hence the slight loss in downforce, i’d assume.

  5. Mike (@grippgoat)
    12th June 2016, 3:05

    If Nico drops out of DRS range of Hamilton, but Vettel stays within DRS range of Nico, the championship could get much more interesting. That’s assuming everyone gets a similar start. Then if what they are saying about Ferrari’s turbo making more difference during the race bears fruit, I could easily see Nico losing 2nd. If he has any trouble with tire performance, he could lose 3rd and 4th, too. It should be an interesting race.

    1. Yes, I could imagine Seb vs Nico getting physical @grippgoat.

      1. I can imagine Sen and Daniel getting physical and the expletives flying.

        (Only thing I don’t like about Seb is his swearing. These sportsmen are role models. )

        1. No they are not. They are just people. Education should come from home.

        2. And you don’t think footballers swear during games? Or other sports people?

          There’s a reason for radio delay and censorship. It’s completely normal to be fired up when you’re driving fast!

  6. If it’s dry we could be in for another classic Perez race. Starting from his favourite P11, he can run deep into the race on a harder compound, and attack in the end on fresh softer rubber. It’s funny that Alonso, who wanted to start P11, was just a bit too fast in P10.

    At the front, I’m hoping for a more interesting race than in 2015. Last year was the only boring Canadian Grand Prix that I can remember, but if it will be a one-stopper again today, it cannot be ruled out that the top will simply drive to the finish in grid order.

  7. Last year it was Kimi who finished third but it was Vettel who had the pace coming from (14th?) the back. If he has the same form in this car, and he makes a good start. He could win this, same for Ricciardo.

    1. Bottas was 3rd last year.

    2. Vettel is fast here no doubt. And anything can happen. How reliable is that Mercedes, will Lewis do a good start? Seb n Dan are looking pretty on second row and for sure start will be epic.

      Unless we get drizzle and safety car start.

      Also red Bull id great in cold conditions, maybe they can switch tires on faster for an early p1 push, who knoews…

Comments are closed.