It has been an overwhelmingly complicated week, with every opinion, and then some, being voiced over the controversy of Mercedes’ secret test. In the aftermath of last night’s news, Mercedes has come out saying they would like a chance to explain themselves. One wonders why they waited to say this until after they were called to the International Tribunal, rather than with the initial accusations. One also wonders how good Mercedes’ lawyers are at finding loopholes, as the implications of their potential guilt are immense.
But for now, we must set politics aside (as if) and focus as much as we can on another classic race set to begin this weekend.
Who will be the team to beat? As usual, its hard to say at this point. Mercedes certainly have reason to be confident after a dominant display in Monaco. The characteristics of the Canadian Grand Prix circuit, while slightly similar, offer up a wide array of challenges, particularly for the brakes and rear tires. Lewis Hamilton in particular should be desperate to get back on top of his teammate after losing out for the third time in a row in qualifying. If the his historic trend continues, if he finishes the race, he should be the winner. If he doesn’t though, it will be his first retirement of the season. Fingers will be crossed for the former. The big question remains, have Mercedes solved their tire issues enough to be a consistent contender, or will they come crashing down from the high of Monaco to the lows of Spain?
Red Bull have something to prove as well. They are adamant that they would have won in Monaco had they not had to run at the restricted pace of the Mercedes. That being said, they don’t have the advantage they like to think they have. Yes, if the tires allowed everyone to run flat out for the whole race, they would probably blow everyone away. One only needs to look at the way Sebastian Vettel can bang in fast lap in the dying stages of Grands Prix to understand. But, as we all know so well, that is not the way F1 works these days. Sebastian and teammate, Mark, will have their work cut out for them this weekend at a track the team, and either driver, has never won at before,
Ferrari and Lotus, in my opinion, could be the cars to beat this weekend. They were both in the shadows of Mercedes and Red Bull in Monaco, but remember who the top teams were at the more conventional Spanish Grand Prix? Ferrari and Lotus. Conditions should be different this weekend compared to those in Spain, with rain forecasted for Friday and Saturday, but the fact remains: if Ferrari and Lotus are to consolidate their places in the Constructors’ Championship fight, now is the perfect time to start.
Mclaren and Force India both threw up some surprises in Monaco, mainly in the form of pace. The latter is bullishly approaching this weekend saying that the possibility of a podium finish is not entirely out of the realm of reason. That would be quite the result for the team’s 100th Grand Prix. For Mclaren, its about small steps. The team refuses to give up on their disappointing 2013 chassis and believe that they can eventually turn it into a winner. Sergio Perez will be hoping to replicate his performance at this track from last season, but is unlikely to do so. He should start higher than 15th, but moving up is going to be hard. Frankly, if the car is not podium worthy by the British Grand Prix, Germany at the very latest, then their championship hopes are completely lost.
Further down the field, the battle is very close. Fighting for the low end of the points is almost as exciting as the fight for the win. Sometimes even more thrilling, as Monaco proved. Toro Rosso, Sauber and Williams are a clear step behind Force India and Mclaren, and can only hope that the attrition rate in the race is high in their favor if they hope for a big result. Canada is known for its unpredictability, though, so not all hope is lost.
For now, like I said earlier, it is time to put politics aside as race. It’s the only thing that will keep this crazy political train on its tracks.
Have any predictions? Tell me who you think will be victorious in Canada this weekend.