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Montreal a true challenge

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Posted on June 16, 2023 Tags:

Can Hamilton eclipse Schumacher?

 And is McLaren on the right track?

IT’S HARD TO FATHOM that it’s been 18 months since seven-time Formula One world champ Lewis Hamilton last won a grand prix – way, way back in Saudi Arabia in 2021! Will Montreal be his saviour?

But if anyone can achieve this lofty aim it is the 38-year-old Brit whose record in Canada is extraordinary by any measure currently matching only the mighty Michael Schumacher, another legend, also on seven wins.

Yet Lewis’s victories at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve only make Montreal his third most successful venue on the F1 calendar – he has had more wins at the Silverstone and the Hungaroring circuits, both scheduled for coming weeks.

And word is that Lewis Hamilton is on the cusp of signing a new deal with his long-time partners Mercedes, which would give back boss Toto Wolff his customary smile.

That cheesy grin returned after Spain as Lewis took second and mate George Russell third, giving the proud German marque their strongest finish for the season, overtaking both Aston Martin and Ferrari in the process.

It was Mercedes strongest race of 2023 F1 season.

But Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won handsomely in Barcelona and Toto’s arch-rival Christian Horner is determined that is not going to happen. Remember, Red Bull has won every one of the seven races so far this season and a win in Montreal would give Christian’s mob an historic 100 F1 victories.

Montreal packed with incidents and surprises

“Canada is a unique circuit,” Christian said this week. “It’s always great racing here. I think that it’s a different challenge. It’s a lot of low-speed stuff, a couple of high-speed chicanes. Checo’s run well here before, as has Max.”

While Red Bull landed in Canada on 99 wins and 100 is a magical milestone achieved by very few, weather in this part of the world always plays a major role. And this weekend looks no exception.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada


Conditions can change quickly, not just from wet to dry, but also with marked fluctuations in temperature.

The asphalt temperature during last year’s qualifying was 17 degrees, while in the race it reached 40 degrees.

“The Canadian Grand Prix is traditionally one of the most spectacular on the calendar, packed with incidents and surprises thanks to a track that offers plenty of overtaking opportunities but doesn’t take any prisoners,” according to Pirelli tyre guru Mario Isola.

Montreal’s Gilles Villeneuve circuit, pictured below, is a 4.361-kilometre semi-permanent track built on the artificial Notre Dame island, a popular leisure facility in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, close to Montreal.  

Quebec F1 circuit

The first F1 grand prix held here was in 1978, when local hero Gilles Villeneuve emerged as the winner.

The track was renamed in 1982 in memory of the Canadian driver, just weeks after his tragic death.

The Montreal race runs for 70 laps, consisting of six left turns and eight right turns with three straights (including a very long one).

Average speed is relatively low, thanks to the frequent changes of direction caused by the close succession of corners, with continuous braking.


Softest Boots for Montreal

The softer compound is usually seen only in qualifying, as was the case last year for the Formula 1 Pirelli Grand Prix du Canada, when just the medium and hard compounds were used in the race.

The strategy preferred by most drivers was a two-stop strategy, but some opted for a one-stopper with a very long initial stint on hard; especially those starting close to the back.

Based on last year’s data, the average time taken for a pitstop is 18.5 seconds, despite more than 400 metres of pitlane. Drivers coming into the pits cut through the last chicane and skip the first corner, with the pit exit already in Turn 2.

As is often the case for this type of circuit, we’ve brought the three softest tyres in the range – C3, C4, and C5 – just like last year.

“We expect the C5 to be used mainly for qualifying, while the C4 and C3 are set to be favoured for the race.

“The asphalt is fairly smooth with this semi-permanent street circuit not extensively used, meaning that we’re likely to see a high degree of track evolution over the weekend.

“On a track with no high-speed corners, the key factors are traction coming out of slow turns, stability under braking, and agility when changing direction.”

MARIO ISOLA – Pirelli Motorsport Director

100 Years of Le Mans – 2023 24H

LE MANS, France — The V8 engine of the NASCAR Chevrolet Camaro has a distinct growl that cannot go unnoticed even among the most elite sports cars in the world at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

When the Hendrick Motorsports crew fired up the car inside Garage 56, NASCAR chairman Jim France broke into a huge grin and gave a thumbs up.

“The only guy who didn’t cover his ears,” laughed seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson.

The specially prepared Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 took to the Circuit de la Sarthe for the first time for a full field test day ahead of Wednesday’s official first practice.

The line-up features the impressive trio of Jenson Button, Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller, with Jenson having just previously contested a NASCAR Cup Series race at COTA.

It was NASCAR’s first presence at Le Mans since 1976 and also helped mark the sanctioning body’s 75th anniversary of existence this year.

Ferrari wins 2023 classic

The 24 Hours of Le Mans race, a true test of endurance, began in 1923. One hundred years later, the event continues to grow.

Still, it was a Le Mans stalwart which took home the checkered flag in 2023, with Ferrari taking the victory at Le Mans for their 10th victory. 

It’s the first time since the 1960s that Ferrari has taken home the overall victory, sitting in third place all time behind Porsche (19 wins) and Audi (13 wins). The driving team comprised of former F1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi, Alessandro Per Guidi and James Calado held off Toyota Gazoo Racing to take the victory. Ferrari lapped Le Mans 342 times for the victory.

That makes 2,893 miles of sweet victory for Ferrari, for a win that was nearly 50 years in the making, ending Toyota’s reign of five straight victories on the tracker.

2024 AGP not F1 season Opener

The Australian Grand Prix is expected to be confirmed as the third race of the 2024 F1 calendar, dashing hopes of a return as season opener, with Saudi Arabia touted as the new curtain raiser.

Sunday March 24 – the weekend before Easter – is earmarked for Melbourne’s Albert Park to stage the 27th AGP.

Since its return to the world premier motorsport calendar after a three-year COVID-19 break, the Australian race has been the season’s third both times.

Before the havoc of COVID, Melbourne opened the season on all but two occasions – in 2006 and 2010, when Bahrain had the honour.


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