Who's staying up for the race in Canada this weekend? We know we are--in spite of the ungodly broadcast hours--but we don't know for sure who's coming out on top. We can only keep making these predictions.
1. At least one member of the swipe club will cause trouble, and there will be a safety-car period. The official start of the race in Philippine time is 2am on Monday (June 10). Those who have to be out of the house by 6am will be hoping there won't be an extended red-flag period due to rain, but some safety-car appearances to mix things up will do quite nicely. There are always accidents aplenty at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, with its quick-flick chicanes and the infamous Wall of Champions. We bet either Romain Grosjean (Lotus) or Pastor Maldonado (Williams) or Sergio Perez (McLaren) will continue to ruffle feathers with another on-track incident.
2. Favorites to finish above their starting positions: Jenson Button and Adrian Sutil. Not much progress going on with McLaren as of race number seven; Button even had to sit out the rest of the second free practice because of gearbox trouble. The Brit, however, always springs a surprise when the weather is erratic, which is what's being predicted for Sunday's (in Canada, at least) race. He took the win under those conditions at this venue in 2011. Adrian Sutil, on the other hand, will be looking for another points finish after coming home fifth in Monaco. That was only his second top-10 result out of six GPs so far this year; on other occasions, he'd run into some bad luck.
3. Mercedes on pole, Alonso for the win. Where have you read this before? Oh, that's right--exactly on this space, a couple of weeks ago. But as they say, if at first you don't succeed...
On paper, Ferrari and Red Bull are seemingly ahead of the others in the race simulations, while Lotus is finding it hard to "switch on" the tires to the optimum temperature. Speaking of tires, it might have come to your attention that Mercedes is in hot water for conducting a 1,000km "secret" tire test with Pirelli after the Spanish GP, using the current car and drivers. Aside from looking like it's still behind the other top teams when it comes to tire wear despite the additional track time, Merc will likewise have to face the FIA's International Tribunal since its tire test is said to breach F1's sporting regulations.
4. A former champion will finish second, and another will finish third. Button's former teammate Lewis Hamilton also has a good track record in Canada--three wins out of five entries, including his maiden one in 2007. Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso have one victory apiece, so they know their way around here, too. No top prize for Sebastian Vettel--he was half a lap away from it in 2011--but he has also finished on the podium.
5. Kimi will continue his points-finish streak, but Alonso will take second place from him in the overall standings. Twenty-three consecutive points finishes so far for Kimi--quite a Finnish, huh? Fine, that was lame. Anyway, he's two points finishes shy of equaling Michael Schumacher's record. Keep a close eye on whether or not he can pull it off, starting with free practice three tonight at 10pm, Philippine time, and qualifying on Sunday (June 9) at 1am, Philippine time.
|CAN||Free Practice One||Free Practice Two|
|Pos||Driver (Team)||Time, +Gap (Tire)||Driver (Team)||Time, +Gap (Tire)|
|1||P. di Resta (Force India)||1:21.020 (M)||F. Alonso (Ferrari)||1:14.818 (SS)|
|2||J. Button (McLaren)||1:21.108, +0.088 (M)||L. Hamilton (Mercedes)||1:14.830, +0.012 (SS)|
|3||R. Grosjean (Lotus)||1:21.258, +0.238 (M)||R. Grosjean (Lotus)||1:15.083, +0.265 (M)|
|4||F. Alonso (Ferrari)||1:21.308, +0.288(M)||M. Webber (Red Bull)||1:15.212, +0.394 (SS)|
|5||K. Raikkonen (Lotus)||1:21.608, +0.588(M)||N. Rosberg (Mercedes)||1:15.249, +0.431 (SS)|
|6||D. Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)||1:22.068, +1.048 (M)||F. Massa (Ferrari)||1:15.254, +0.436 (SS)|
|7||N. Rosberg (Mercedes)||1:22.402, +1.382 (M)||S. Vettel (Red Bull)||1:15.280, +0.462 (SS)|
|8||S. Perez (McLaren)||1:22.587, +1.567 (M)||A. Sutil (Force India)||1:15.396, +0.578 (SS)|
|9||S. Vettel (Red Bull)||1:23.047, +2.027 (I)||J. Button (McLaren)||1:15.422, +0.604 (M)|
|10||M. Webber (Red Bull)||1:23.131, +2.111 (M)||D. Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)||1:15.566, +0.748 (SS)|
|11||F. Massa (Ferrari)||1:23.341, +2.321 (M)||K. Raikkonen (Lotus)||1:15.599, +0.781 (SS)|
|12||V. Bottas (Williams)||1:23.352, +2.332 (M)||S. Perez (McLaren)||1:15.661, +0.843 (SS)|
|13||J. Vergne (Toro Rosso)||1:23.386, +2.366 (M)||P. di Resta (Force India)||1:15.855, +1.037 (SS)|
|14||A. Sutil (Force India)||1:23.417, +2.397 (M)||P. Maldonado (Williams)||1:16.319, +1.501 (SS)|
|15||E. Gutierrez (Sauber)||1:23.957, +2.937 (I)||J. Vergne (Toro Rosso)||1:16.351, +1.533 (SS)|
|16||L. Hamilton (Mercedes)||1:25.054, +4.034 (I)||V. Bottas (Williams)||1:16.374, +1.556 (M)|
|17||N. Hulkenberg (Sauber)||1:25.354, +4.334 (I)||E. Gutierrez (Sauber)||1:16.475, +1.657 (M)|
|18||G. van der Garde (Caterham)||1:25.753, +4.733 (I)||N. Hulkenberg (Sauber)||1:16.929, +2.111 (M)|
|19||M. Chilton (Marussia)||1:25.821, +4.801 (I)||J. Bianchi (Marussia)||1:17.070, +2.252 (SS)|
|20||A. Rossi (Caterham)||1:27.143, +6.123 (I)||C. Pic (Caterham)||1:17.236, +2.418 (M)|
|21||P. Maldonado (Williams)||1:27.522, +6.502 (I)||M. Chilton (Marussia)||1:17.888, +3.070 (SS)|
|22||J. Bianchi (Marussi)||1:29.306, +8.286 (I)||G. van der Garde (Caterham)||1:18.392, +3.574 (SS)|
Legend: I—intermediate compound; M—medium compound; SS—supersoft compound.