Whisper it quietly, but there could well be a new contender in the Formula 1 title fight. Lewis Hamilton still leads Sebastian Vittel by 14 points, but Daniel Riccardo, who’s 9/1 to win the race with Bet365, was dominant from practice to the chequered flag in Monaco a fortnight ago and now sits just 38 points behind ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.
This was despite the loss of the MGU-K power unit, costing him 2.5 seconds a lap according to team boss Christian Horner, with Riccardo having enough in reserve to hold off Vettel.
It is quite possible that the Monaco circuit – where gird position means absolutely everything - suited the Red Bull more than Ferrari and especially Mercedes, but the many upgrades put onto the RB14 beforehand appeared have coincided with a marked improvement. The revised bargeboards, floor and sidepods helped a great deal with qualifying, where Red Bull have struggled with third session power that Mercedes and Ferrari have in the battle for grid positions.
Renault is introducing a 'B-spec' 2018 F1 engine upgrade this week that is said to be worth at least 20bhp, which could put them right in the thick of things at the front of the grid in the battle for track position.
Canada is a completely different track to Monaco, but it’s worth noting how well Red Bull performed at Spain when Max Verstappen (11/1 to win the Canadian GP with Paddy Power) was third and Riccardo fifth, and it’s possible that the car is more powerful now compared to that race.
It’s also a very positive sign that Riccardo won in China, a straight that mirrors Canada to some extent given it’s long, sweeping back and home straights. Riccardo and Verstappen aren’t too long in the odds for a victory, with the former making more appeal due to his better handling of the card in 2018, something which has contributed to two Grand Prix wins.
Ferrari once again just had the better of Mercedes over the weekend although the latter named team ought to be much happier returned to a big power circuit here where they can use the full force of their energies. That said, Sebastian Vettel has three pole positions and is perhaps unlucky to have more wins to boot, so choosing between the two is a tough choice which doesn’t offer a whole lot of value.
One of the best attacking circuits on the calendar, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a fine mix of twisting corners of all speeds. The opening corner is a danger point during the start of a Grand Prix as 24 cars funnel into an opening left hander that is at most two cars wide before turning back onto themselves into the straight.
The l'epingle hairpin at Turn 10 and the final chicane at Turns 12 and 13 at the end of the back straight are the best options for overtaking although the extremely long back straight and ‘Wall of Champions’ are also key spots for F1 betting fans to take note of.
One of the most popular races on the calendar, Canada has a long history in F1. The race has not always been held here – indeed in the 60’s it swapped venues between Mosport Park, in the English-speaking part of the country, and Mont-Tremblant, in French speaking Quebec.
The locals were so enthused with the success of local racer Gilles Villeneuve that plans were made for a local track. After problems relating to finances and time constraints, the plan was made for a circuit on the Island of Notre Dame – known in French as Île Notre-Dame – and the Island’s roads were connected to make a course.
The locals spent $2 million upgrading the circuit to F1 standards and in October 1978. Gilles Villeneuve took victory at the first Grand Prix here. If you fancy it, check out the options available for Sunday’s race at one of the top f1 betting sites.