With all the talk of illegal tyre tests and sanctions by the FIA, it feels like holding a race in Canada is like revisiting a scene of a crime. After all, the action packed race of the 2010 event is where all this mess really started.
The abrasive nature of the tarmac and the fact it hadn’t seen an F1 race in 2009 led to the first multi-stop race of that season and the odd sight of Sebastian Buemi’s Toro Rosso leading a lap. That, and a McLaren 1-2 – remember them?
What would McLaren give to have that kind of form again? Their Monaco update was probably helpful, but then let’s not forget the tomfoolery that occurred towards the end of the race that promoted Jenson Button and added fuel to the “Sergio is too racy” debate. McLaren have had lots of recent success on this track – indeed, they’ve won the last 3 – but you just can’t see it happening. Unless it’s monsoon season in Montreal, of course.
The success of the Woking squad was down to one man – Lewis Hamilton. He won in 2007, 2010 and 2012, and crashed out of 2008 and 2011 (probably aiding Jenson Button’s epic victory by getting him on fresher intermediates at the time), so it’s really win-or-bust when it comes to Lewis racing in Canada. With Mercedes tending to fade into obscurity or hold faster cars up this season, taking either is probably a massive improvement for the Brit in 2013.
Forget the tyre debacle and upcoming FIA tribunal. Fact of the matter is that Mercedes have scored 4 straight poles and won the last Grand Prix. “You’re only as good as your last race” was a saying Murray Walker used to drum into the head of millions every other Sunday, and going on that logic Mercedes are the form team.
Red Bull have to put their bickering with Pirelli, the FIA, and anyone else who’ll listen aside to challenge. There are signs – they joined forced with Ferrari to complain about Mercedes illegal tyre test – but there’s still fractions between them, both internally and externally. Sebastian Vettel has never won in Montreal, and neither have the team. Is this where the jinx ends?
Kimi hasn’t competitive in Canada since Lewis forgot what the red light means in the pit lane and tried to mount his Ferrari. The tyre row, and whether Pirelli will alter the compounds for the remainder of 2013, is playing out of the hands of Lotus right now. They spent millions trying to look after their rubber in race situations, and are being unfairly punished. A win would soften the blow – and let’s not forget that Romain Grosjean nabbed 2nd place here 12 months ago. Could Romain string another great race together and, arguably, save his reputation?
And finally, we can’t forget about Fernando Alonso, even though the Spaniard spent a Sunday afternoon in Monaco trying desperately to make us. We can forgive him though because everyone has a bad day at work now and again. No-one has quite the streak of good one’s like Alonso though, and he’ll need one of them to get himself a large points haul to put him back into contention.
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Badger’s Magic Moment
Jenson Button passes Sebastian Vettel on the very last lap in 2011, and the moment is captured at that race’s Badger Bash – awesome!