After three consecutive races in Europe, the drivers, teams and equipment make the long journey to Montreal to contest the Canadian Grand Prix around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve tomorrow and Sunday.
Red Bull’s defending champion Sebastian Vettel leads the way in the Drivers’ World Championship with 143 points after winning five of the first six races so far.
McLaren’s 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton – the only other driver to win a grand prix this season, in China – is already 58 points behind in second place, with Vettel’s team-mate Mark Webber of Australia a further six points behind in third.
After back-to-back weekends of racing in Barcelona and Monaco, Formula 1 fans have had to wait two weeks for the next instalment of what has proven to be an exciting albeit repetitive season to date.
In recent years, the Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix have been fairly dour affairs but the introduction of new tire manufacturers Pirelli and their purpose-built fast-degrading tires managed to inject new life into both races.
Unfortunately for neutrals, they have both been won by Vettel who looks to be on course to become the first back-to-back world champion since Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006.
However, the result in Monaco could have been very different if McLaren hadn’t made a tactical error during Hamilton’s third qualifying session which saw him end up in ninth position on the grid despite being the fastest driver, and if the drivers hadn’t been able to switch to fresh tires after a red flag brought the race to a temporary halt.
Vettel had only made one stop and with six laps still remaining was being hunted down by Alonso and Jenson Button; without the fresh tires it is likely he would have been overtaken. He gambled and got lucky.
Hamilton heads to Canada with a point to prove after letting his frustrations get the better of him at the end of the previous race. When asked by interviewers why he thought he was constantly penalised by stewards he replied, “Maybe it’s because I’m black. That’s what Ali G says”.
The British superstar immediately apologised to the stewards for his comments.
In recent races, the 2008 champion has appeared to be the one driver truly capable of challenging Vettel for the title and will be hoping to secure a second win of the season to get his championship bid back on track.