The next round of the 2019 Formula One season is upon us. Sunday’s 56th annual Canadian Grand Prix (1:30 p.m. ET/ABC) will be the first in North America this season. So, who will land on top in front of the Canadian fans on Sunday?
Here are the top storylines.
Mercedes’ Race To Lose?
It’s no secret, the 2019 championship is likely to go through Mercedes again. Right now, both Lewis Hamilton and his teammate Valtteri Bottas are the ones to beat. Combined, they’ve won all six races run in 2019 and if you go back to last year, they’ve won eight straight.
Plus, Mercedes in general has won six of the last nine years at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with Hamilton taking three checkered flags first in the last four years of this race.
So, can they do it again on Sunday?
Odds say, yes.
Hamilton Is Feast Or Famine In Canada
Sticking with the Mercedes theme, Hamilton has a top two finish in literally every race in 2019. That’s four wins and two runner-ups if you’re keeping count. Also, if you go back to last year, he has eight straight top two results with six of them being victories. Furthermore, he has 16 top two finishes in his last 18 F1 starts overall. In Montreal in general, the Brit has six career wins, one shy of tying Michael Schumacher all-time. But, that and a third place finish in 2013 are his only podiums in Canada. Last year, he finished fifth. He also has three DNF’s too.
It’s either a win or nothing at all for Hamilton.
Bottas Best Betting Option
I know what I said about Hamilton and his dominance above, but I also talked about him struggling in Canada some too. His teammate though hasn’t necessarily struggled before in Canada. Bottas, has gotten better in each start on the 2.709-mile course.
Bottas, went from 14th to seventh to third, to third again, to a runner-up in each of the last two seasons. He also has a top two finish in all but one race run in 2019 including two wins and three poles.
If Hamilton is the “famine” instead of the “feast” this weekend, Bottas should be there to capitalize.
Will Ferrari’s Have Speed?
Everyone is suggesting that the Ferrari’s may have the most speed this weekend. The track suits their cars well. But, does that matter? Ferrari has shown the most speed at a few weekends this year and they only pissed that pace away in the end.
Sebastian Vettel enters with a top five in all six starts in 2019 including a runner-up finally in Monaco. He won this race last year and has four podiums in his last six Canada starts.
Charles LeClerc earned his first DNF with Ferrari in Monaco but that was a debacle that they had in his home race. LeClerc has four fifth place finishes and a third in 2019 too. He finished 10th in this race last year with Sauber.
Overall, no one has won as many times on this track than Ferrari. From 1997 through 2004, they won six times in an eight year span. But, last year’s victory is their lone in the last 14 years too.
Red Bull vs. Ferrari
Red Bull is right there on the cusp of challenging Ferrari for the battle of second in the constructors. Right now, Ferrari leads the Honda’s from Red Bull by just 29 points. While Ferrari may have the speed this weekend, do they have the reliability?
Max Verstappen has finished in the top four in literally every race in 2019. In fact, he has four fourth place runs and two third place finishes. He was third in this race last year.
Pierre Gasly was 11th in this race last year and is finally improving on the season. He was sixth in Spain and fifth in Monaco. Both best results at the time for 2019. Is a fourth or even a third place finish coming this weekend?
If so, Verstappen is a lock for a top four, which only helps their push towards Ferrari. With how well Mercedes is running, they’re heading towards a possible 1-2 result again. If Red Bull can get both cars in the top four, that means there’s no room for at least one Ferrari too.
Best Of The Rest
Who are the midpack teams to watch this week? Renault should be, but they’ve struggled on the season. Nico Hulkenberg has five consecutive top eight finishes in Montreal but he’s failed to finish in the top 13 all year with the exception of the season opener in Australia. His teammate Daniel Ricciardo won on this track in 2014 and has a top seven finish in each of his last three years in Canada. But, he’s struggled in 2019 too. Ricciardo, has two top 10 finishes and two DNF’s this year.
What about McLaren? Carlos Sainz Jr. is the one to watch. He has two top 10 finishes in his last three Montreal starts to go along with three top eight finishes in the last three races on the season.