By Paul Fitzgerald - Lewis Hamilton seeks fourth win in Montreal
Montreal, PQ, Canada - As the Mercedes inter-team rivalry intensifies, the Formula 1 World Championship heads across the Atlantic for this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix (June 5 to 8, 2014).
Britain's Lewis Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg are still friends after the controversial qualifying incident in Monaco, says Kyle Gaspari, the founder and owner of Executive Sports Co based out of Burlington, ON and Toronto, ON. According to Gaspari, who’s company has been selling scores of tickets to local race fans as well as international groups, this weekend’s big event will be a great showdown between the Mercedes duo.
Rosberg went on to claim victory on the streets of Monte Carlo and snatch the lead in the drivers' standings back from the Briton.
Hamilton, though, will want to hit back immediately, starting with victory on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve - a track where he has won three times in six attempts, according to Gaspari.
Reasons to watch the Canadian GP
Hamilton and Rosberg will renew their battle for pole, the first corner and the race win following an intense Monaco Grand Prix victory.
Mercedes target their seventh successive win, while reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel will simply hope for a Red Bull car that does not break down.
McLaren will hope to end a run of 25 races, stretching back to the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, without a win.
Fernando Alonso targets his first race win in 20 grands prix and minnows Marussia look to build on their first-ever F1 points scored in Monaco.
What makes the Canadian GP different?
“Monaco's tight and twisty streets will be a distant memory as the Gilles Villeneuve offers a change of pace with its long straights, where cars hit 300kph, followed by tight corners,” says Gaspari.
As a result, the race is hard on the brakes, but the layout lends itself to overtaking - and lots of it, one of the main reasons Gaspari’s company Executive Sports Co. has been sold out of their ticket and hospitality packages since early May.
“The high-speed nature of the 4.361km track will play into the hands of the Mercedes-powered cars who have a significant power advantage over their rivals,” says Gaspari.
The venue, located on the Ile Notre Dame man-made island set against the backdrop of Montreal, is perhaps most famous for the Wall of Champions.
The concrete wall, located the final chicane, is so called because a number of world champions, including Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher, have crashed into it.
Montreal really embraces Formula 1, with 100,000 fans attending each year to throw their support behind the drivers and create a party-like atmosphere.
A Canadian GP Flashback
Gaspari states, “Lewis Hamilton will have fond memories of the Canadian Grand Prix - it was the race where he first stood on top of a Formula 1 podium at only the sixth attempt.”
Arriving in Montreal in 2007, Hamilton was in good form having secured five successive podiums in as many races during his debut season.
“The Briton, then 22, made a textbook getaway from pole position and went on to survive four safety car interventions to clinch victory ahead of BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and Williams' Alexander Wurz,” says Gaspari.
His then McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso finished down in seventh, while Robert Kubica survived a huge 180mph crash, in which his BMW rolled over just before the hairpin.
Kubica touched Jarno Trulli's Toyota as they approached the hairpin and ricocheted off track. The car launched into the air, flew into the barriers and flipped before coming to a stop on its side.
The Pole, who went on to win the race the following year, was taken to the hospital and missed the next race in the United States as a precaution following light concussion and a sprained ankle. The man who replaced him for that race was a young Sebastian Vettel making his debut.
Victory gave Hamilton an eight-point lead in the drivers' championship. A similar success this year - which would be his fourth in Canada - will see him reclaim the top stop in the 2014 world championship.