Formula 1 is back in Canada for the second consecutive year as the Canadian Grand Prix gets underway in Montreal this week.
To keep you in the loop, here are five things you need to know ahead of this year’s event:
Max Verstappen is the latest example of what happens when you combine a great driver with the best car on the grid.
Verstappen is the two-time reigning Formula 1 world champion and leads this season with 170 points, 53 points ahead of second-placed Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez, making him the firm favorite coming into the weekend.
The 25-year-old Dutchman has finished on the podium in all seven races so far this year, winning five, including the last three.
Perez, meanwhile, is under pressure to improve his performance in Montreal. Despite racing the same car as Verstappen, he finished fourth and 16th in the last two Grands Prix.
Lance Stroll is the only Canadian on the grid this year following Nicholas Latifi’s departure from Williams. But even though the number of Canadian drivers had been split in half, the chances of a Canadian making it to the podium had doubled.
Stroll and Latifi finished 15th and 20th respectively in the drivers’ standings last season. Stroll is eighth this year and will be driving an Aston Martin car that has proven it can reach the podium, just not yet with the Canadian behind the wheel.
Born in Montreal, Stroll arrives at his home Grand Prix and is still looking for his first podium. However, teammate and two-time world champion Fernando Alonso is third in the drivers’ standings and has finished in the top three five times, putting pressure on Stroll.
The 24-year-old will look to build on his sixth-place finish at the Spanish Grand Prix, where he beat Alonso for the first time this season.
MERCEDES ON THE RISE?
Mercedes has a long way to go before returning to the car that won eight constructors’ titles in a row from 2014 to 2021, but the team may have some things figured out in Spain.
Buoyed by new upgrades to the car, both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell took the podium to propel Mercedes to second place for the first time this season.
Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, went winless for the first time in a season last year and has yet to take a win this year.
He will look to reverse that trend in Montreal, where he won his first-ever Formula 1 race in 2007 and is tied with Michael Schumacher for most Canadian GP wins with seven.
FERRARI IN PROBLEMS?
After finishing second in the constructors’ standings last season, Ferrari is fourth this year.
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. finished 11th and 5th respectively in Spain and will have to do their best to fight for second place.
Sainz gave Verstappen a run for his money in Montreal last year, but finished second.
ABOUT THE CANADIAN GP
It is the 52nd Grand Prix of Canada and the 42nd edition in Montreal, famous for some classic races at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and the “Wall of Champions” at Turn 14, which have made it to even the very best drivers.
The cost of attending the event is not cheap. According to a study by SlotsOnlineCanada.com, the Canadian Grand Prix is the most expensive Grand Prix in Formula 1, costing the average fan $3,146 for the entire weekend.
The Montreal event is one of those races where rain can be a factor, which can be a problem for fans and drivers alike. The weather forecast indicates a chance of showers throughout the weekend.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 15, 2023.