Time is flying by as weathergods, timezones, sleep inducing indycar races and general slacking of your trusted backmarkers F1 duo make that we still haven’t made a Spainonaco cast so it’s starting to look like it’ll be a spainonacoreal podcast (that sounds like it might actually be a place in Mexico) , but that doesn’t mean we can’t give you our traditional predictions for the upcoming Canadian Grand Prix. The student revolt notwithstanding, it promises to be yet another corker on this special track which has treated us to some great racing over the past year.
The weather is always an unknown going into the Montreal weekend and this year it will be no different, but let’s hope we do not get the monsoon like conditions of 2011 which brought a horribly long red flag period but also saw Jenson nab the win with a brilliant drive from the back to the front…..and to the back again to go to the front once more. Talking of Jenson, the tyre guru seems to have lost his mojo in the past races, and it’s teammate Lewis Hamilton who is showing he has a better understaning of the 2012 Pirellis. Canada of course is quite notorious for tyre usage, as it gave birth to the Pirelli approach to racing tyres with the strange 2010 race in which the Bridgestones were just not holding up, the combination of soft and supersoft will surely ensure a lot of pitstops will be made during the race..unless it gets wet and then all hell breaks loose. As if we needed even more unpredictability from this year’s racing!
I do remember from last year that the Schum came tantalizingly close to that elusive come back podium, and I believe this day it will finally arrive. The Mercedes is steadily improving and the pole time in Monaco showed both Schumi and the car have what it takes when everything clicks. It is also surprising that the Merc – thought to have its main strongpoint in quali with the W-Duct benefiting from long straights – was in fact arguably the fastest car of the Monaco weekend, where high downforce, mechanical grip and good traction is key.
The Merc is surely bound to have some good performance to unlock this weekend, therefore I am predicting a 7th winner in as many races to emerge: Herr Schumi! He’s great around Canada, the car should be good in the dry and even if it rains it won’t be a problem as he’s masterful in the wet around that track, the Mercs W-Duct and high top speed will also prove a powerful weapon on the long back straight where his podium was so cruelly snatched away from him last year. Lastly, he surely got a confidence boost with the pole in Monaco – I’m sure even the 7 time world champ must have been having some doubts whether he really still had what it takes but he can put those to rest for a little while – nobody lucks into pole at Monaco…
In quali however Schumi will get bested by Hamilton since Lewis is superfast on one lap pace and quail gives the team less of a chance to cock it up for him (well, then there was Spain of course..). In third we’ll see Vettel making an appearance near the front of thr grid again after what have been some difficult quail sessions lately for the German.
Back to the race then: I know many of you will be pegging Hamilton for the win, after all he has been driving flawlessly but has been held back by poor team work and strategy calls, surely one day things will fall into place for him? Of course Canada is a bit of a special track for him as he can boast a few poles and wins around the circuit he’s clearly always performed well at (well, except last year lol). Still, I’m done hoping for Mclaren to get their shit together so I’m dropping him out of the top 3 and I don’t see Jenson getting on top of the tyre issues just yet. As the pattern of things are this season, no team seems to ever be able to have a good result with both cars so I’m predicting Rosberg to fall out of contention at some point in the race, perhaps another retard steward decision dropping him to the back of the field.
So who does that leave for the other 2 podium spots? My Monaco predictions fell into the water quite badly last time around gunning for the Sauber triumph and I’m not willing to give up on them yet but I feel it’s a bit of a stretch to put them right on the podium, maybe a 4th or 5th for Perez. Instead, I will peg the Kimster for p3 after a great battle with the Schum sees him run out of tyre in the end and get passed by our guy in p2. To complete the noughties WDC podium Alonso will be second because let’s face it, somehow the guy always gets on the podium so he’s pretty much a safe bet now that the Ferrari is becoming more competitive as well.
As for cucumber of the race there are three recurrent candidates emerging. My prediction for Maldonado was quite spot on last race ( literally the only thing I predicted correctly this whole season but okay, I’ll take it and gloat) and while I think he should have been DSQ’d for the ram on Perez in FP3, I do believe he will keep it cool in Montreal but drive to a fairly anonymous low points scoring position. I mean, nobody is that stupid to try and ram other cars twice..oh wait… So if it won’t be Pastor my pick would have to be between Felipe and Grosjean. Feeling a bit sorry for poor Felipe – after I kept insisting on twitter that a 6th place is NOT a good result if you pretend to be a top driver with Ferrari – I won’t pick him this race either. He’ll be behind Alonso again, thrilled to be ‘only’ 3 tenths and 5 positions behind in quail to drive onto another ‘great’ 6th or 7th place but anonymous enough to escape getting the cucumber. Grosjean then? The kid is becoming quite known for his lap 1 incidents, and with turn one in Canada notorious for its many first lap incidents I’m going to peg Grosjean to clout into someone again and ruin his chances in the race. The kid has got speed for sure, but he has got to learn to keep it clean if he truly wants to start making an impact.
Matt here. Looking ahead to Canada, we might be in for a very interesting quali-race scenario. Rain is expected on Saturday, and Sunday should be dry with warmer temperatures. Operating on this assumption, and given the abrasive nature of this track and Pirelli’s laughable temperature dependence this year, I expect completely different cars to stand out in the race and in quali. Qualifying will belong to Sauber. The team may have had all the bad luck in Monaco, but here I think the weather and the nature of the track plays to their strengths. I predict a Kamui pole, followed by Hamilton, followed by Alonso. Hamilton will find some way to get the car up there, and Alonso’s talent combined with Ferrari’s Malaysia performance leads me to believe he will be strong here. The rain will ruin Mercedes’ quali, as they won’t be able to use their DDRS/W-Duct/whatever.
The race will be another matter entirely. Alonso will hold pace, Kamui will fall a bit back, and Hamilton’s crew will find some way to ruin his race. Lotus will be very strong here, and by Lotus, I mean Kimi. Grosjean will hit a wall/another car/gopher and take himself out in spectacular facepalm-inducing fashion. Mercedes will be stronger in the race, but with the DRS zone limited to one straight this year, they won’t charge all the way through the field. I think first and second will belong to Kimi and Kamui respectively, with the Ferrari of Alonso falling off the pace dramatically towards the latter half of the race. As for third, I want to say a Mercedes driver, but am torn between the two. On one hand, I’d love to see Michael back on the podium, but his mechanics can’t seem to keep that car together. Out of his four DNF results, three were entirely out of his control, and I’d argue the Senna the Pay Driver was more at fault for their collision in Spain, but not so much that either should have received a penalty. Nico is coming back strong after only decent results in Bahrain and Spain, with a well earned second in Monaco, and I could see him besting Schumey. I’m going to go with advantage Michael, but only just. I think his rain driving will see him qualify better than Rosberg, and with there being only one DRS zone, he’ll stand a better chance of defending against any charging cars behind him.
Senna will win Cucumber of the Race for his inability to find the brake pedal going into turn one. While Grosjean will hit someone for sure, Senna will actually take himself and/or others out, triggering the race’s first safety car.
The round up
Cucumber of the race: Grosjean (which incidentally can be translated as ‘FatJoe’ in French.. just thought I’d throw that out there)
Show me yours below and I will show you the Horny Horner picture for the lucky guy or gal who gets their predictions right – and no that does not mean you have to purposely try to fail!
Cucumber of the race: Senna