Canadian GP: thoughts on the start

Canadian Grand Prix 2007 start, 470150

Lewis Hamilton sits on pole position for the second year in a row at Canada. Last year he made a poor start but held onto the lead as Fernando Alonso went off at the first corner.

It’s an unusual first corner at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and with Hamilton’s career-long rival Robert Kubica alongside him we could be in for a dramatic start.

Here’s the expected starting grid as it currently stands.

1. Lewis Hamilton
2. Robert Kubica
3. Kimi R??ikk??nen
4. Fernando Alonso
5. Nico Rosberg
6. Felipe Massa
7. Heikki Kovalainen
8. Nick Heidfeld
9. Rubens Barrichello
10. Mark Webber
11. Timo Glock
12. Kazuki Nakajima
13. David Coulthard
14. Jarno Trulli
15. Nelsinho Piquet
16. Adrian Sutil
17. Giancarlo Fisichella
18. Jenson Button
19. Sebastian Vettel*
20. Sebastien Bourdais**

*Expected to start from pit lane
**Gearbox change penalty

Jenson Button, who had a gearbox problem in qualifying, may yet pick up a penalty but as he’s already on the penultimate row it will make little material difference.

The real interest is up front where all kinds of action could take place. Hamilton’s pole position spot sits on the left of the track which kinks right before reaching the first proper turn – a quick right-hander – then a long, looping hairpin to the right.

As we saw last year the winding corners give the driver on pole position plenty of opportunity to defend even if he makes a poor start. Hamilton got away slowly last year but was still able to parry the attacks from Nick Heidfeld and Fernando Alonso.

As the racing line crosses the grid hatchings, and the surface is generally low-grip, it shouldn’t make too much of a difference to how well drivers on different sides of the grid get away.

Another thing to watch out for is drivers gettign squeezed out as the track bends from the left to the right at the start. Kimi Raikkonen was caught out by this last year. Having started fourth he found himself relegated to sixth by Felipe Massa and Mark Webber.

Massa along with Heikki Kovalainen find themselves in the unusualy lowly positions of sixth and seventh and will need to work their way past Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg at the start.

But ultimately conservatism may rule the day. With the track threatening to break up and the prospect of rain we could be in for an even more chaotic Canadian Grand Prix than usual. Losing a front wing at the start trying to make the difference between 14th and 15th is not the smart way to play this one.

Advert | Go Ad-free

8 comments on Canadian GP: thoughts on the start

  1. This will be a race of attrition. If the Toro Rossos can hold on and avoid doing something stupid, they could still be in for points. Ditto Force India. We don’t need a first-corner pile-up, but I can imagine one happening among those who fear that other parts of the track may not be usable for overtaking (Turn 10 is often used as a overtaking spot, but not many will risk it under these conditions).

  2. I’ve looked at two weather forcasts for Montreal, the BBC website and ‘wetter.com,’ and their interpretation on the weather is completely different.

    BBC are saying sunny intervals, and ‘wetter.com’ are saying 80% risk of heavy rain showers.

    Of course I always want to believe ‘wetter.com,’ so, bring on the Canada Carnage I say.

  3. Lady Snowcat said on 8th June 2008, 12:19

    How difficult is the dirty side of the track…

    No traction there and the even numbered guys are in trouble at the start…

    There are also not too many metres to the first corner here….

    Lewis to canter into the distance to make the most of a lower level of fuel than some of his opponents…

    If Kubes and Alonso are light they could make life difficult for the Kimster early on…

  4. Jonesracing82 said on 8th June 2008, 12:21

    i have read mixed forecasts as well
    i think if track doesnt hold up it’ll b carnage anyways
    normally in at Montreal anyways

  5. A Singh said on 8th June 2008, 13:02

    Hamilton is going to exit the first corner P1 and lead to the finish.

  6. Well, my predictions for Qualifying were completely wrong! But I am glad because it means we will have an interesting race again.
    Is there any word on why the Ferraris underperformed? Was it just the track conditions or do you think that they are fuel heavy?

  7. Nick said on 8th June 2008, 14:32

    the weathernetwork has a risk of thunderstorms starting at 2pm….

    anyways, Kimi should get past Kubica and the start and then pass Hamilton down the backstraight before building a huge gap for the win.

  8. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th June 2008, 15:50

    I could be wrong about the ‘clean’ and ‘ditry’ sides of the track at the start. Here’s a quote from yesterday’s press conference:

    Question: Kimi, are you happier in third place than in second because of the dirtier side of the track?

    Kimi Raikkonen: Last year it was quite a disaster to be on the right hand side. We got a very bad start from there and usually I think it’s been a similar story in the past, but hopefully it will help us tomorrow. You also need to make a good start yourself. I think overall I’m a bit happier to be on that side.