Lance Stroll, Williams, Bahrain International Circuit, 2017

2017 Canadian Grand Prix stats preview

2017 Canadian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

For the first time in 11 years, a Canadian driver will take part in their home grand prix this weekend.

And appropriately Lance Stroll is driving for Williams, the team which took his predecessor Jacques Villeneuve to the world championship 20 years ago.

Sebastian Vettel, BMW, Indianapolis, 2007
Is Stroll doing as well as Vettel ten years ago?
It’s been a difficult introduction to F1 for Stroll who is yet to score a point. But the reigning European Formula Three champion has shown some progress – after failing to finish the first three races he was classified in the next three, despite retiring with brake problems in Monaco.

His team have been quick to come to his defence. Last week Claire Williams described Stroll’s career to date as being comparable to Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen’s debut seasons.

That seems more than a little generous. In his team mate’s hands, Stroll’s car was good enough for sixth in Bahrain. His best finish so far is five places lower. Within his first six races Raikkonen managed three top ten finishes in his Sauber, including a fourth place.

Like Raikkonen, Vettel also scored on his debut, albeit in a one-off-start for BMW. He then moved to Toro Rosso where the pickings were slimmer, though he was running third in Japan until he collided with Mark Webber behind the Safety Car. He took a fourth at the following race in China.

For Stroll there would be no better place than home to score his first point. The last driver to do that was Daniel Ricciardo in the 2012 Australian Grand Prix.

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The form book

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, 2013
Bottas stunned in wet 2013 qualifying session
Lewis Hamilton has excellent form in Canada. This year’s race will be the tenth anniversary of his first grand prix win and since then he’s racked up five wins at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Two more will put him level with the all-time record holder Michael Schumacher, who won this race seven times. He holds the record for the most wins in any individual race with eight victories in the French Grand Prix.

The only other drivers on the grid who have won this race before have just a single victory to their names. Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Vettel and Fernando Alonso. Vettel has only won the race once despite starting from pole here three times.

Williams made their only visit to the podium at this circuit last year, courtesy of Valtteri Bottas. As in 2015, he finished third.

Bottas produced the first stand-out performance of his F1 career at this track four years ago, when in a wet qualifying session he put his uncompetitive FW35 third on the grid behind Vettel and Hamilton. This weekend will be his 100th appearance at a grand prix weekend, though he won’t notch up his 100th start until next year.

His team mate remains the only driver with more than one pole position so far this year. His next will put him level with Ayrton Senna on 65, just three behind Schumacher’s all-time record.

Lap times and overtaking

Source: Mercedes

The last significant modification to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was made in 2002. The lap time record was established in the V10 era, during the final season before teams were required to use a single engine for an entire race weekend.

Last year the V6 hybrid turbo cars were little more than half a second slower, despite also lacking the benefit for tyre war-era high-performance rubber.

Race ratings

Here’s how F1 Fanatic readers have rated the Canadian Grand Prix in recent years. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has the highest average rating of any track on the 2017 F1 calendar.

Join in Rate the Race when the chequered flag falls at the end of this year’s race. You will need a (free) F1 Fanatic account to participate:

2017 Canadian Grand Prix

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30 comments on “2017 Canadian Grand Prix stats preview”

  1. Not any way likely to happen, but I find it interesting that this is Lance Stroll’s final chance to break Max Verstappen’s record as the youngest ever Grand Prix winner.

    1. 19 retirements and he might have a shot…

      1. haha. sad but true!

  2. I think Claire Williams herself must know that her quote comparing Stroll to the debut’s of Raikkonen and Vettel is rubbish.

    Both Raikkonen and Vettel made their debut’s against a well-rated, young Nick Heidfeld and scored points despite a very competitive midfield and less points-paying positions. Stroll is competing in a very good car against an ageing Felipe Massa, who we all know was not an all-time great even in his prime.

    I expect new drivers to be slightly off the pace of their peers, but not as big a gap as there is between the two Williams drivers. As David Coulthard once said, “Formula One is not a finishing school.”

    That said, I think this weekend is a good opportunity for him to score points and I actually think he will.

    1. I factor in the following…he had extremely little car time in an actual 2017 car before starting his first full season. Others whose rookie season is being compared had more car time in cars relevant to what they would be racing, before their first full season. So they didn’t have to learn their cars at the same time as learning to be an F1er. The cars have just been made much more challenging as per the drivers requests and F1’s desires as they were not challenged and were bored as were the fans. Max entered when cars were running delta lap times limited by the tires. LS is struggling to get and maintain heat in the tires, and no less than LH has had similar experience this season.

      I say let’s give Lance the season that he is under contract to run before we have him drummed out of F1 for not coming in and cake walking a series that needed to be harder and has just been made so. Unless of course we want it so easy that all 18 year olds can come into a non-win-capable car and impress immediately.

      1. I want 18 year old’s to be in the junior categories, honing their skills and then Formula One teams can pluck those who are ready for the big time. There will always be exceptions and I admit that I was totally wrong about Max Verstappen, but I don’t want to see the pinnacle of motorsport swamped by rich 18 year old’s. Lance Stroll is not ready.

        I completely agree with the comment about lack of testing… but I refuse to take it as an excuse because Williams (or rather his father) should have given him a season in Formula Two, two or three young driver tests etc. before he got the privilege of being a Grand Prix driver.

        1. @ben-n That’s fair comment, but spoken a bit from the luxury of hindsight, no?

          First of all, the jury is still out on LS. He hasn’t even had a full season, not even half a season. And sure, if it turns out that he continues to struggle and fall under expectations for the season, then perhaps we can say, from the luxury of hindsight, that he wasn’t ready. But technically he did have enough qualifications for an F1 ride, at least, in the F1 we knew before this year.

          This all makes me think of JV and his comments when Max came in. He didn’t have anything against Max himself, just the danger as to how F1 looks when such youngsters with so little experience can come in and so easily tackle it. It makes F1 look too easy and not enthralling. No mystique to it like there used to be. F1 has now begun to address that, so it should be no surprise that LS is in a way a test sample for the new F1. He may have started the trend back toward new drivers slightly older and with slightly more experience than him. But at least the next youngster will be testing in an actual relevant car when he does enter, and will likely be on better tires that aren’t conservative due to the lack of testing on a proper 2017 car. Tires that even catch LH in a Merc out.

    2. Deserved a championship in 2008 and out performed Raikkonen that season and into 2009.

      1. the whole Stroll ‘phenomena’ is a sign of our times. he’s like the lana del rey of f1.

      2. Deserved a championship. That’s not how the game works. Shoulda and coulda. Half the the drivers deserve championships’. In the real world it is the points at the end not a fluffy bunny good feeling. Lost the championship by a few points, then the driver should have overtaken one more car in the previous races instead of just sitting in the train. Champions are the guys that go for it on this race. The losers hope next race works better.

    3. so true. watch old footage of karting, alonso, button, hamilton, verstappen, etc. those guys were awesome. then find stroll footage & see the difference. stroll struggled to succeed and with the best gear $ could buy.

  3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    6th June 2017, 12:42

    I think that this track should be one of Williams’ strongest. Their car could well be as strong or stronger than Red Bull here. So a top 6 finish for Massa should certainly be possible. I really hope that Stroll will manage somewhere in the top 8. That will be a reasonable result for him.

    1. I think at this point a top 8 would feel like a victory to him.

  4. Williams always goes very well in Canada, this will be Stroll’s best chance to date to score some points – and he really has to. If Massa puts a solid points finish on the board, which he probably will, and the best Stroll can do is 11th-12th, it’s really not going to go over well. He simply has to perform this weekend.

    1. And if he doesn’t, he’ll try again at the next race, and the next one, and then there’s next season for him to continue his journey.

    2. Agree. Williams should be strong here and Massa could be easily aiming for a top 6 finish.

      I think Stroll has to make sure he doesn’t embarrass himself this weekend. Points are a little too ambitious for him, but certainly not impossible. I think if he can avoid spinning or putting his car in the wall, that’s mission accomplished. If he can sneak in a point or two, that’s as good as winning a race for him.

      I don’t think there’s been lower expectations of a driver at his home race since Karthikeyan at the Indian GP.

  5. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    6th June 2017, 13:35

    I feel rather bad for Stroll. I mean having a seat in F1 is presumably something he’s been aiming for most of his life and having a seat with Williams, who by no means have a bad car, must be a dream come true. But it’s pretty clear he’s here way too early.

    I mean if Bottas was on average ahead of Massa but Massa is shading Stroll… that doesn’t tend to look good at all. The annoying thing is that he might become good, just because he’s struggling now doesn’t mean he will be forever. The problem is how long are Williams going to wait? I mean for argument’s sake if Bottas had stayed at Williams and they’d hired someone like Grosjean, Magnussen, Perez, Ocon or Wehrlein – judging on Massa’s performance with this car they’d be far higher up the championship table. As it stands they have probably the most underwhelming lineup on the grid.

    Also the comment he’s doing as good as Raikkonen or Vettel did at the start of their careers is absurd and clearly statistically wrong. Understandable they’d want to protect him though as further bashing isn’t going to help him but comparing him to some of the strongest drivers on the grid when he can’t get a comfortably competent points scoring car into the points regularly isn’t going to help either. At the moment I can’t help but think Williams are squandering a decent car.

    1. @rocketpanda – check the forum, I did exactly that analysis this morning and was quite surprised by the results!

  6. I wonder how likely it is that Williams have something in their contract, such as a performance clause that says they expect Lance to have, say 20 points by the end of the season. For every point under it costs him (or his father to be more precise) £x which they would’ve have earned had the points been scored.

    Also lots of people saying here that this should be his best chance for a points finish. In terms of the track suiting the car, yes. In terms of the track suiting Lance… Not so sure. A lot of those walls are close to the track (yes Wall of Champions has been modified this year) and with higher corner entry speeds and shorter braking distances, this could be one that bites Lance.

    1. I would say probably not likely at all.

      1. his only chance is if he starts driving in the middle of the track (like j. alguersuari used to, and p. martini before him) and then there are several retirements.

  7. What was the change in 2002? I’m usually good with these things but can’t for the life of me think of this one!

    1. 2003 reg change – One flying lap now allowed for grid position with the 107% rule no longer applied, cars may not be refueled between final qualifying and the race start. The fuel being critical here for lap time and qualifying on race fuel.

    2. Quote from Changing tracks: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve:

      … the pit lane exit was moved to its present location at the exit of the Senna hairpin.
      … when the race organisers tried to extend the run-off at the second hairpin … the organisers shortened the track slightly by moving the hairpin back…

      1. Thanks guys.

        I’m disappointed in myself for never realising the second hairpin was shortened. I’ve just watched some pre-02 onboards and the difference is huge.

  8. I think this is the weekend where Lance is going to disappoint a lot of people and finally score a point or two.

    1. Yeh, 7th place

  9. “It’s been five years since a driver scored their first point in their home grand prix. Will it be Lance Stroll’s turn this Sunday in Canada?”
    I’m going with ‘No’

    1. me too. he’s on par with j. alguersuari at best. maybe later in the year or even next season.

      if he does, i’ll be first to congratulate him and buy something from michael kors for my wife

  10. I am really looking forward to see how Hamilton and Bottas measure up in equal equipment at a track that they both excel at.

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