Lewis Hamilton can be fancied to continue Mercedes’ dominant start to the 2019 Formula One season by winning this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix (Race: 2.10pm ET Sunday).
Mercedes made it seven wins out of seven with Hamilton’s triumph in Monaco two weeks ago, although their run of one-two finishes did come to an end as Valtteri Bottas ended up fourth. Sebastian Vettel took second for Ferrari, with Max Verstappen third for Red Bull.
That was, though, due to circumstance more than pace. Mercedes comfortably qualified first and second, with Bottas in second almost four tenths quicker than Verstappen in third. In the race, Bottas lost track position following a slightly delayed pitstop that resulted in contact with Verstappen and a puncture. At Monaco, track position is everything.
Canada is a much more open circuit with better opportunities to overtake. It usually produces a good race. Ferrari were very strong there last year, with Vettel taking the victory, but that won’t necessarily transfer to this year’s race.
Ferrari had a pretty dire weekend from an operational standpoint in Monaco. A series of incidents of both his and the team’s doing saw Charles Leclerc fail to make it out of the first qualifying session and then retire early into the race. Vettel, too, had crashed in Saturday practice and was very glad to come away from the event with a second-place finish.
In truth, it would be difficult to have faith in Ferrari definitely getting things right this weekend even if they did have the fastest car. As it is, team principal Mattia Binotto has admitted that there are no quick fixes to the struggles they have had in getting their tyres into the ideal operating window. Work is ongoing on solutions, but it is Mercedes who should still be considered the favourite to top the podium on Sunday.
Hamilton is the driver most likely to do so. The Circuit Gilles Villenueve is well-suited to his driving style, as illustrated by the fact that he has won the Canadian Grand Prix on six occasions, second only to Michael Schumacher on seven. He both qualified on pole position and took the race victory on three consecutive occasions between 2015 and 2017.
After a more difficult race in Montreal last year, Hamilton can be expected to return to form and claim a record-equalling victory on Sunday.
Pierre Gasly came home fifth, and secured his second fastest lap point of the year, for Red Bull in Monaco for his best finish of the season to date. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz produced a couple of well-executed early overtakes on his way to an impressive sixth, ahead of the two Toro Rossos of Daniil Kyvat and Alexander Albon. Daniel Ricciardo was ninth for Renault, while Romain Grosjean took the final points-paying position for Haas.
Racing Point have failed to score in either of the last two races, but they are confident that their package will be better suited to the layout in Canada. In their former guise of Force India, the team has got at least one of their cars into the points in each of the last six Canadian Grand Prix, including double-points finishes in 2013, 2016 and 2017.
Not only is this weekend’s race a home Grand Prix for driver Lance Stroll, but with the team now under majority Canadian ownership – albeit still registered as a British team – it is also a home race for the team. It is, though, their Mexican driver Sergio Perez who is most likely to get the car home in the points on Sunday.
Perez has out-qualified Stroll in each of the seven Grand Prix, and has finished ahead of his teammate in five of the six races in which they have both been classified. He also has a solid record in Canada, including an excellent podium for Sauber in 2012 and points finishes for Force India in 2016 and 2017, finishing fifth the second time. He had the pace to come home in the points last year, only for a clash with Sainz to set him back. Perez can be fancied to secure a top-10 finish this weekend.
After a couple of difficult races without points, Alfa Romeo should be more on the pace in Canada. They expect to see the full benefit of Ferrari’s new Spec 2 engine on the straights of the Montreal course and can be expected to compete towards the back end of the top 10.
Kimi Raikkonen has scored all of the team’s points so far this season, but Antonio Giovinazzi got very close to his team leader in qualifying in Monaco, even if a scrappy Sunday saw him again finish behind him on race day. His performances mean that the odds with the American offshore bookies on him securing the first points finish of his F1 career this weekend are longer than they perhaps should be, and he looks a solid outside play to finish in the top 10.
Our Preview’s F1 Canadian Grand Prix Picks & Predictions Verdict
- Back Lewis Hamilton to win the race @ best odds of +125 (5/4) with Intertops.
- Bet on Sergio Perez to finish in the points (ie: a top 10 finish) @ best odds of +210 (a little over 2/1) with Bovada.
- Back Antonio Giovinazzi to finish in the points (ie: a top 10 finish) @ +800 (8/1) with Bovada or Intertops.