Sebastian Vettel has done a lot of winning in the last few years, but the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is one track he is yet to conquer.
He started from pole position last year and was on course to win until halfway around the final lap. This year he will start from pole position again. Will he finally add Canada to his list of wins?
Red Bull have lost none of their pace
Red Bull’s pace was masked slightly on Friday. They were one of the teams who expected rain in second practice, and so ran the softer tyres in the first session when the track was not as quick. But Vettel’s race pace in the RB8 looked very good.
Certainly the team seem to be suffering no ill-effects from the two recent rule ‘clarifications’ from the sport’s governing body. These have effectively outlawed two areas of their car development, albeit minor ones.
Following their Monaco Grand Prix win, holes in the floor of the car in front of the rear wheels designed to improve the airflow were deemed not to comply with the regulations. Then this weekend the team were told to change the design of their wheel hubs.
The car that Vettel drove to pole position in qualifying did not have the benefit of either of these improvements, which just goes to show there’s plenty more clever stuff going on in the Red Bull RB8. At 1.72 to win, however, the rewards are slim if you put your money on Vettel.
Heat may hinder Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton was quickest in both practice sessions on Friday. Saturday brought much warmer weather – the track surface reached 40°C during qualifying – and Hamilton didn’t quite have the edge he enjoyed the day before. He believes the two things are related, so it will be a concern to McLaren that hotter conditions are expected for the race.
Hamilton has finished every race lower than he started this year with the exception of Spain, where he qualified on pole position but was sent to the back of the grid. With Fernando Alonso’s racy-looking Ferrari behind him on the grid in Canada, it could well be the same story again this weekend.
Good price on Alonso
It says a lot about Ferrari’s recent progress that Alonso seemed somewhat disappointed at qualifying third. A few races ago the team were struggling to get into the top ten.
The F2012 is clearly a much changed and improved car and its performance over a race stint makes Alonso stand out as a candidate for victory. “Third on the starting grid is a good position from which to attack in the race, especially as pole is not so important here as elsewhere,” he said after qualifying.
Priced at 6.00 to score his second win of 2012, Alonso looks like better value than Hamilton at 4.50.
Long odds on rapid Rosberg
Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso are my pick of the three best drivers in Formula 1 today. They’re lined up in that order on the grid, which should make for a fascinating race. You’d need a good reason to look beyond that trio for the race winner. All the other drivers’ odds are more than three times as long.
The likeliest of the lot seems to be Nico Rosberg, who starts fifth on the grid and is priced at 20.00. The Mercedes has looked quick here, but Rosberg’s qualifying prospects were spoiled by a technical glitch at the start of final practice.
Mercedes’ powerful Drag Reduction System should help him make progress in the race. His recent form is good too, having out-scored every one of his rivals over the last four races.
Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic