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Will Canadian GP be a car killer?

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The Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi flies through the air during the start of the Monaco Grand Prix last month. Hopefully things will be smoother in Canada this Sunday although the first lap in Montreal is known for its drama. Picture: Getty Images.

This weekend Formula One flies away from Europe to race in Canada, where there will be two major things to watch out for.

The first is obvious. This will be the seventh round held in 2012, and with six different winners at the first six races, all eyes will be on the top podium step to see if a seventh will emerge as victorious. It’s entirely possible. Right now there are three ex-champions in McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher on the grid yet to win this year, and there are also a handful of other hopefuls capable of doing the deed.

The second thing to keep an eye on this weekend will be tyre degradation. Pirelli has supplied only its two most soft compounds, indicated by red (supersoft) and yellow (soft) lettering, straight from the Monaco GP two weeks ago. The 4.3km Gilles Villeneuve track, just like the previous in Monte Carlo, is also a temporary street circuit, but here the speeds will be much higher meaning provoked tyre wear.

NOT MUCH GRIP

The track’s surface is also known to be very coarse due to its infrequent use and over the course of the weekend will get faster and faster as more rubber is laid down onto it. However, grip levels in relation to other permanent racing facilities will remain very low, meaning the cars will be quite skittish and the soft tyres will likely disintegrate quickly if not looked after.

McLaren driver Jenson Button’s become known as a tyre preservation specialist thanks to his smooth style, and he won here last here – but the Briton has showed poor form in recent races. The Red Bull team with current champ Sebastian Vettel and Monaco winner Mark Webber has vowed to rectify an embarrassing loss in Canada last year, which saw Vettel running wide on a drying circuit in the closing stages, handing Button the win.

It will be interesting to watch the team’s pace though, as a special floor design that many credit as the winning component last time out, has been forcefully removed from the car following controversy post-Monaco.

Just as in 2011, the unpredictable nature of Montreal weather could have an affect on the race outcome if the skies open. Last year there was a lengthy delay due to downpours. The layout of the track itself could also contribute to the results, as it’s known to be a car killer.

The temporary kerbs in Canada are quite high, and drivers in the past have broken suspension pieces driving over them in attempt to gain time. The first lap is also known for its high attrition rate, as it funnels from a fast, long straight, into the tight “Senna” curves where crashes are common.

The current championship standings show Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso on top with 76 points, but with 25 on offer for a win, drivers all the way down to sixth place are mathematically capable of leading come Sunday night. -Star Motoring


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