The Formula One stars head to North America for this weekend’s race. Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix (2 p.m. ET/ABC) put the drivers in one of the bigger markets on this side of the hemisphere.
Here are five storylines to watch.
Hamilton Eyeing Canada Record
Michael Schumacher has won a record setting seven times in Montreal. He may soon have some company up top. Lewis Hamilton has won six times on the circuit and a win on Sunday would tie him with Schumacher for most ever. He’s won the last three years there too.
He’s also aiming to tie Schumahcer in another statistical category this weekend, albeit a less well-known one too. A front-row start this weekend would be his 10th on this circuit, matching Schumacher’s 10 front-row starts in Suzuka, which is an F1 record for a single venue.
Alonso’s 300th Career Start
While it seems like Fernando Alonso’s days are limited in F1, this weekend will see the popular Spaniard make his 300th Grand Prix appearance in F1. His debut was in the 2001 Australian GP – the same race Kimi Raikkonen also made his first start too.
Qualifying Not As Important
The last few races, the finishing order was virtually decided in qualifying. Top starting spots were so crucial to race wins in Baku, Spain and Monaco. Well, this weekend’s race in Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, well it doesn’t so much. The pole position does not guarantee success in Canada. Of the last 16 races held here, less than half (7) have been won from pole (2006-07, 2010, 2013, 2015-17), with 4 being won from outside the top 5 (2004-05, 2011, 2014) in fact.
Expect a Close Finish
With how this season has gone, expect a thrilling final few laps on Sunday. Of the last 15 Canadian Grands Prix, 8 have been won by a margin of less than 3 seconds (ironically Ricciardo won by 4 seconds in 2014 despite the race finishing under a Safety Car). For the largest winning margin here, you have to go back to Rene Arnoux’s victory in 1983, when he beat Eddie Cheever by 42.029-seconds.
Cautions Likely To Shape Outcome Of Sunday’s Race
Of the last 20 races in Montreal, 12 of which have been interrupted by Safety Car periods. In 1999 and again in 2007 both years had 4 separate SC appearances (a total of 19 laps in the 2007 race) – though that’s nothing compared to 2011, when 32 of the 70 laps ran behind the SC, and included a 2-hour red-flag period.
Pit sequences and this will shape the outcome Sunday.