2018 Canadian Grand PrixView

By on Friday, June 1, 2018

Monaco became ever smaller as drivers and crew members jetted out of the principality, while Montreal quickly loomed larger as teams and drivers prepare for the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend.

Tight corners and unforgiving walls are a hallmark of both tracks, but Montreal is quite a bit quicker than Monaco, making those tight corners even harder to navigate and placing an additional premium on brake performance. While both tracks have a stop-and-go nature, the speeds achieved on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve stress the brakes on two fronts – harder usage and less time between corners for the brakes to cool. And one section of particular renown – the Wall of Champions on the track’s final chicane – has made many a world champion feel like a world chump.

It’s a challenging layout offset by Montreal’s charm, a juxtaposition highlighted by the wheel-to-wheel racing amid the remnants of Expo 67 and the 1976 Summer Olympics. 

Facts and stats

Known for its tricky hairpin corners and long straights, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is also known for its “Wall of Champions”. Located at the end of a very long, high-speed straight, the track’s final chicane (turns 13-14) has ensnared many drivers over the years, most notably in 1999 when three world champions – Michael Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve and Damon Hill – all crashed in this spot. “Wall of Champions” was born, with its nearly non-existent runoff area consisting of a small curb and a narrow strip of asphalt.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is one of four Formula One locations with ties to the Olympics, as its backstraight runs adjacent to the Olympic rowing basin used during the 1976 Summer Olympics. The Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya was the site of the start/finish line for the road team time trial cycling event when Barcelona hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics. Sochi, site of the Russian Grand Prix, hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics. And the Magdalena Mixhuca Sports City, in which the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is located, hosted numerous events during the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is located in Montreal’s Parc Jean-Drapeau, named after the Montreal mayor who twice served the city, from 1954 to 1957 and again from 1960 to 1986. Drapeau organized Expo 67, which was Canada’s main celebration during its centennial year. The circuit lies on Notre Dame Island, a man-made island in the St. Lawrence River that was built up for Expo 67. The neighboring Saint Helen’s Island was artificially enlarged to accommodate the fairgrounds and still holds a prominent remnant from Expo 67 – the Biosphere, which can be seen regularly during television coverage of the Canadian Grand Prix.

Circuit length: 4.3 km

Turns: 14

Direction: clockwise

Race laps: 70

First Grand Prix: 1978

Race lap record: Rubens Barrichello (1:13.622), set in 2004 with Ferrari

2017 Qualifying: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

2017 Race: 1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), 3. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)

Weather prediction: lows will range from 12-13 degrees Celsius to highs of 21-23 degrees Celsius.

Tyres: supersoft, ultrasoft, hypersoft

Timetable (GMT -4):

Friday 8 June

Practice One: 10:00 – 11:30

Practice Two: 14:00 – 15:30

Saturday 9 June

Practice Three: 11:00 – 12:00

Qualifying: 14:00

Sunday 10 June

Race: 14:10

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