Formula 1 returns for a second time in North America as we gear up for the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix. A Lot has changed since the last time we were in Montreal, Pierre Gasly was still at Red Bull, Max Verstappen hadn’t secured a pole position yet, the controversial Rich Energy drinks company was sponsoring Haas and Alpha Tauri were still known as Torro Rosso. What hasn’t changed is the 2.7 mile circuit, as the fan favorite Gilles Villeuneve circuit makes a return after a two year absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The semi-permanent street circuit can produce some fantastic racing and unexpected results as we’ve seen from qualifying yesterday.
On paper, this race has Red Bull’s name written all over it, but a wet weather qualifying threw some interesting surprises our way. We expected to see a redemption from Leclerc in his Ferrari but a change of components including a new turbo and some other power unit changes penalized the Monegasque driver and will start from the back of the grid, joined by Yuki Tsunoda as the Japanese driver also has to take some penalties of his own, and since he was out-qualified by Charles. Sergio Perez will find himself starting a few places up the grid from Charles, as the Mexican crashed out at turn six during Q2 and ultimately took himself out of qualifying and will start thirteenth. Red Bull could have taken this as an opportunity to convert maximum points in terms of the constructors championship. Ferrari will be somewhat relieved as we’re expecting yet another Red Bull vs Ferrari battle at the back of the grid and I expect both cars to come through the field relatively quickly as they will be racing each other to try and achieve maximum points. Up front It’s once again, Red Bull vs Ferrari as the reigning world champion Max Verstappen drove superbly in qualifying, outpacing everyone else with the two Spaniards Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz chasing him from behind. Alonso who drove magnificently throughout the entire weekend proved that the old dog still got what it takes. A wealth of racing experience and impressive wet weather driving proved crucial as he took a front row start – the first since his last pole at the German GP in 2012 – and will chase Max down into turn 1 for the race later on today. His fellow Spaniard, Carlos Sainz piloted his Ferrari as close as possible to take third place in qualifying and now holds the weight Ferrari’s hopes of securing maximum points on his shoulders, as if the driver for Ferrari didn’t produce enough pressure!
George Russel took a Gamble in the final minutes of qualifying and put on some slick tyres to try and reclaim his nickname as ‘’Mr. Saturday’’. This proved futile as the track was still too wet for slicks and will start the Grand Prix from eighth on the grid. His teammate, Lewis, will be happy with his performance as he piloted the troublesome Mercedes to start fourth and put himself right up there to try and use every possible opportunity and gain positions with Max and Fernado, two drivers known for their aggressiveness, battling it up at the front. The two Haas drivers took advantage of the wet weather and impressed with both drivers making it into Q3 with Kevin Magnussen starting a respectable fifth and Mick Schumacher starting a well deserved sixth. The son of seven time world champion, Michael Schumacher was under pressure and scrutiny recently as his last few performances weren’t that great. Yesterday though, he showed everyone that the Schumacher name still means business in the wet. Will he be able to score his first points during the race today? A good strategy will certainly aid him and will reward Haas with some much needed world championship points. Chinese national and F1 rookie, G. Zhou also shined in the wet as he made it into Q3 for the first time in his F1 career and will start a respectable tenth, out qualifying his teammate Bottas.
Max is the outright favorite to win with Carlos Sainz behind him, Alonso sitting in third and given the outright pace we’ve seen from the Red Bull on the straights in the dry, it’s without a doubt that Max has the best chance of winning this race, though the heavens could open up and it does look like it might rain towards the final few laps of the race so whoever will react the quickest with their tyre strategy will end up on top. Keep your ears open for the team radios when watching the race and give some live betting a shot!
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