The Formula One paddock heads across the Atlantic for this week’s Canadian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton will arrive in Montreal with a commanding 17-point championship lead following his win last time out in Monaco.
Here, we take a look at five key talking points ahead of Sunday’s race.
Lewis Hamilton Targets Another Win
Hamilton has been in New York since the weekend gearing up for the first of two races in North America this year.
The world champion is already looking in cruise control to claim his sixth world title after establishing a 17-point cushion over Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton’s closest rival for the last two seasons, is already 55 points behind.
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Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has been a happy stomping ground for Hamilton in the past – the Briton winning his first race there back in 2007, before taking the chequered flag a further five times.
Indeed, he will match Michael Schumacher’s record of seven wins in Canada with another triumph on Sunday. And, armed with a new Mercedes engine, the Englishman will be the overwhelming favourite to do just that.
Vettel’s losing streak will surpass 300 days if he fails to win on Sunday – the German last tasting victory at the Belgian Grand Prix in August.
This has been a desperately underwhelming season for the Scuderia, who headed to the first race in Melbourne full of optimism following a strong winter of pre-season testing.
The Ferrari is speedy in a straight line, which could yet play dividends at Montreal’s power-heavy track, but the car is out of sorts through the low-to-medium speed corners.
Team principal Mattia Binotto also warned in his pre-race notes that Ferrari do not have any upgrades on the horizon.
Vettel looks a man devoid of confidence, too. This week, the four-time champion insisted he has no plans to retire, but the year will prove to be a long one if his, and Ferrari’s, winless streak continues.
Norris Up For Montreal
British teenager Lando Norris was not swept away by Monaco’s glitz and glamour, saying he would not trade in Guildford for the millionaire’s playground. And the 19-year-old has now said he is more excited by making his Montreal debut than he was in Monte Carlo a fortnight ago.
“I’m pretty excited actually, more excited than Monaco,” said Norris ahead of his maiden Circuit Gilles Villeneuve outing. “I’ve never been to Canada and Montreal is a track that I’ve always liked driving on the simulator. You can overtake and have a bit more fun there.”
Pressure on Kubica
Robert Kubica has the rather unwanted record of six straight qualifying and race defeats to his Williams teammate George Russell. This is the Pole’s first season back in the sport since 2010 following the horror rally crash which almost cost him his life.
Kubica will step aside for Williams’ young Canadian driver Nicolas Latifi, 23, for the opening practice session on Friday, and, while there are no suggestions that Latifi is in line to replace Kubica, it will do little to help him stop the rot against his rookie British teammate.
The Montreal race is a favourite on the calendar and race chiefs will this week show off their sparkling revamped paddock.
The new pit building and garages cost close to £35million and have been assembled in just 10 months, bringing up to speed a facility barely touched for the best part of three decades.
The capacity above the garages will increase from 1,800 to 5,000 people, while the media will be based in a permanent facility rather than a tent more suited to a wedding reception.News Now - Sport News