Formula 1 takes a quick break from Europe this weekend, hopping across the Atlantic for the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.
Last time out in Monaco, Mercedes’ run of 1-2 finishes was finally broken but Lewis Hamilton ensured their 100% win rate continued with a brilliant win holding off Max Verstappen.
And now the five-time champion heads to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve where he has had great success in the past with six wins, just one shy of Michael Schumacher’s record of seven.
Ferrari is expected to be more of a threat, however, and Sebastian Vettel was the winner at this race last year, so we have an interesting weekend in store.
That said, here’s our preview ahead of the 2019 edition of the Canadian Grand Prix.
About the race
First held at Mosport Park in 1961, Canada became a part of the world championship in 1967 with Mont-Tremblant briefly alternating as the host in 1970 and 1972.
When Montreal hosted the Olympics in 1976, however, the venue that later became the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was created on the same island which held the rowing events and would be the new home from 1978.
Only twice since has the race not been on the calendar and this year sees a new chapter for the Grand Prix after the pit facilities received a major facelift over the past 12 months.
Many iconic names have won on the Ile de Notre Dame, including Gilles Villeneuve himself in 1978, with the track renamed in his honour after his death in 1982.
Alan Jones, Nelson Piquet Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell have all enjoyed success but Montreal is also very well known for springing a big surprise.
Jean Alesi scored his only F1 win 1995 in the No.27 Ferrari, the same number and team with whom Villeneuve became synonymous.
Robert Kubica capitalized on a crazy race in 2008 to take his only win and Daniel Ricciardo also scored his maiden success in Canada in 2014.
Then there’s Jenson Button’s win in mixed conditions in 2011, a race still considered one of the greatest in recent history.
Because of the location, the circuit is largely wall-lined but with many long straights split up by chicanes and the hairpin.
As a result, most incidents do result in Safety Cars and that is when the chaos really begins.
The final chicane is one of the most famous corners on the calendar with the infamous ‘Wall of Champions’ on the outside, so-called because of the number of champions who have crashed into it over the years.
Now let’s get serious with our picks for your fantasy teams this weekend.
Top Pick: Lewis Hamilton ($31.3m)
The combination of long straights and tight corners means a cat and mouse battle is expected between Mercedes and Ferrari.
In the twisty first sector it will be the Silver Arrows who have the edge while the rest of the lap will better suit the Prancing Horse.
However, the key to this weekend may also be tyres and this is what could just swing in Lewis Hamilton’s favour to overcome a strong challenge and claim a seventh Montreal win.
Mid-range pick: Carlos Sainz ($8.3m)
Looking at the midfield, there is a number of factors why better teams might struggle and weaker teams might perform better but the one constant is McLaren.
With confidence and experience also valuable on the circuit, it is why Sainz is the driver that could well emerge as ‘best of the rest’ on Sunday.
Value pick: Daniil Kvyat ($5.8m)
Similarly, Toro Rosso is another team that should thrive in Montreal and after using his experience to the max in Monaco, Kvyat may well have the edge over his rookie teammate this weekend.
Charles Leclerc ($23.2m)
Should Ferrari be competitive, then it may well be Leclerc again who leads the charge much like as in Bahrain.
The Monegasque appears to have a better feel with this year’s car and after his disappointing home race, plenty of motivation too.
Sergio Perez ($11m)
The dark horse in the midfield is Racing Point due to their strength lower downforce circuits of which Canada can be considered.
Local lad Lance Stroll also has been relatively good at his home track but it is teammate Sergio Perez who may have a better chance of challenging for points in the top 10.
That concludes our look ahead to the Canadian Grand Prix – now head to the Lobby to get your fantasy lineups ready and challenge for big cash prizes this weekend.