October 3, 2022

The Canadian Grand Prix returns for the first time since 2019, and this time around things are markedly different as the field looks to beat Red Bull at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. Here’s the form guide for this weekend’s race in Montreal.

Competing for pole

Since we haven’t had a Canadian Grand Prix for two seasons, the forms book is lying dangerously on the windowsill, at the edge of the defenestration. Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton ruled this place from 2015-19, but now the new guard has taken over, in the form of Max Verstappen in his Red Bull and Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari. Moreover, Sergio Perez got into the mix after his Monaco win.

Leclerc looks like the man to beat on Saturday, with the Ferrari driver having claimed pole position in the last four Grands Prix, with Verstappen’s only qualifying victory coming at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. One could assume that Leclerc is therefore favorite to repeat this weekend.

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Leclerc is on a streak of four consecutive pole positions towards Canada

Getting five consecutive pole positions isn’t easy though, with Lewis Hamilton the latest driver to do so in a streak from the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix to the 2020 Russian Grand Prix. Last season Verstappen achieved the longest sequence of poles with four from France to Great Britain. So, expect Leclerc’s run to end soon… surely?

And if that race ends, either Verstappen, Perez or, in the long run, Carlos Sainz have the best chance of taking P1 on the grid.

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Pole positions in the last five races:

  • 2019 – Sebastien Vettel (Ferrari)
  • 2018 – Sebastien Vettel (Ferrari)
  • 2017 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  • 2016 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  • 2015 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

FAN VIEW: We have a three-horse race for pole at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, with Sergio Perez joining teammate Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the race for P1 on Saturday. Despite Leclerc’s four-straight pole streak, he is second in F1 Play voting, with Verstappen a clear favourite.


Verstappen is the man to beat on Sunday, but hasn’t taken pole position since Imola

In the mix for the win

Mercedes have won four of the last five Canadian Grands Prix, but will they do it again? Well, after the Silver Arrows’ struggles around Azerbaijan, it wouldn’t be wise to support them. They are underdogs – and it looks like it could once again be a fight between Red Bull and Ferrari.

Ferrari have dealt with their problems in recent races, with a double DNF compounding their woes in Azerbaijan as, once again, Leclerc wasted valuable points and a chance to fight for victory. As a result, Red Bull have won five races in a row, with Leclerc still on two wins this season.

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It might seem like Red Bull got lucky, given Ferrari’s recent reliability issues, but the fact is their RB18s have superior race pace and straight-line speed. The team was off pace on Saturday, but their comeback to form on Sunday means they have made the tradeoff between qualifying pace and race pace, and it is paying off.

So Red Bull are definitely favorites again, but surely Ferrari will ever fight back? With Canada coming just a week behind Azerbaijan, the Scuderia are unlikely to have resolved their reliability issues, but they may well have made progress in finding a solution.

A front-row start will always be crucial here; since 2014, the Canadian Grand Prix has not been won from outside the front row, when Daniel Ricciardo took his first win since sixth on the grid.

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Victories in the last five races:

  • 2019 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  • 2018 – Sebastien Vettel (Ferrari)
  • 2017 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  • 2016 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  • 2015 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

FAN VIEW: If Leclerc has dominated on Saturday in recent races, Verstappen is the king on Sunday. Four wins from his last five races mean the Dutchman is a heavy favorite in F1 Play’s first vote for victory in Canada. He has nearly double the number of votes Leclerc has, with Perez the only other notable candidate.


Ferrari showed the pace to win, but reliability hurt them in recent races

The underdogs of the podium

After George Russell jumped on that pair of Ferrari dropouts in Azerbaijan, it became even more apparent that Mercedes are the team most likely to land on the podium when the favorites falter. Considering Hamilton’s prowess here, maybe he deserves a surprise podium this weekend.

Sure, Ferrari and Red Bull should take the top three spots, but Canada have been known to make room for three teams on the stand; in 2018 we saw Verstappen (Red Bull), Vettel (Ferrari) and Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) on the podium and in 2016 Bottas – driving a Williams – joined Vettel and Hamilton.

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It is therefore not excluded that three teams can get on the podium this time. As well as Mercedes, expect McLaren – Lando Norris and Ricciardo eager to give the team their 400th F1 podium – and AlphaTauri to challenge, the latter given his pace lap that peaked in P5 for Pierre Gasly in Baku.

Fernando Alonso of Alpine also owes a good result. He has recently picked up the pace and shrugged off the misfortune that saw him fail to score from Saudi Arabia to Miami inclusive.

Podiums in the last five races:

  • Mercedes-7
  • Ferrari-4
  • Red Bull – 2
  • Williams- 2

FAN VIEW: Unsurprisingly, it’s the big six dominating F1 Play who vote for podium places on Sunday, with Carlos Sainz, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton the underdogs in that group. We are also interested in Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) and Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), who both performed well in Azerbaijan.


The last podium of the F1 Canadian Grand Prix

Point potential

Eight of the 10 teams on the grid have scored points in the past three races, with only Haas and Williams failing to score in that span – the former team on a four-performance pointless drought.

Haas, however, was close to scoring in Azerbaijan, before Kevin Magnussen suffered his second straight retirement. And Alex Albon made a solid change for Williams, finishing 12th.

The teams at the bottom of the order that look most likely to score in Canada, however, are McLaren, AlphaTauri and Alpine – all three having finished in the top 10 in Azerbaijan.

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Aston Martin is also starting a run of form as, after failing to score for the first three races, they took four top 10 finishes, including P6 thanks to Vettel last time out in Baku.

As Canada has not hosted a Grand Prix since 2019, four drivers will make their respective Canadian GP debuts this weekend: local hero Nicholas Latifi, Yuki Tsunoda, Zhou Guanyu and Mick Schumacher. Of those four, Zhou and Tsunoda look the most likely to score points, unlucky not to have done so in Azerbaijan.

Points in the last five races:

  • Mercedes-187
  • Ferrari-132
  • Red Bull – 76
  • Williams- 40
  • Racing Point/Force India – 31
  • Renault-28
  • Lotus-7
  • Toro Rosso – 3
  • Haas – 1
  • Sauber – 1

FAN VIEW: F1 Play players think Gasly and Vettel are pretty much nailed for points in Canada, along with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso. There is also good support for Gasly’s AlphaTauri teammate Yuki Tsunoda, while McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) are not without support.