Ros­berg is the man to beat

The Mercedes pair are the firm favourites in Mon­treal, but per­haps the Wall of Cham­pi­ons will be their fate

CityPress - - Sport - MICHELLE FOSTER sports@city­press.co.za Sauber-Fer­rari Manor-Mercedes SB MN

Power-hun­gry and hard-brak­ing. Th­ese are apt de­scrip­tions of the Cir­cuit Gilles Vil­leneuve, the venue for to­day’s Cana­dian Grand Prix. Daniel Ric­cia­rdo will line up on the Mon­treal grid des­per­ate for re­venge against Mercedes and even his own Red Bull Rac­ing team. Last time out in Monaco, Red Bull botched his fi­nal pit stop – which cost the Aussie his first race vic­tory of the sea­son.

Lewis Hamil­ton stormed through to take the che­quered flag – his first tri­umph of the cam­paign – and in do­ing so ig­nited the cham­pi­onship race.

The Mercedes driver’s Monaco win, only his sec­ond at the pres­ti­gious race, closed the gap to Nico Ros­berg to 24 points which, in sim­ple terms, is less than a race win.

The Cir­cuit Gilles Vil­leneuve is one of Hamil­ton’s strong­est cir­cuits, along with the Hun­garor­ing, as he has four P1s apiece. It is also the venue of his first vic­tory in 2007. Ros­berg’s best show­ing is back-to­back P2s in 2014 and 2015.

Although the Mercedes pair, with their pow­er­ful en­gines, are the firm favourites for the 1-2 in to­day’s 70lap Grand Prix, do not dis­count the fire of re­venge that is burn­ing hot in Ric­cia­rdo.

He heads into the race bol­stered by Re­nault’s lat­est en­gine up­grade, as well as the be­lief that he can win in Mon­treal, hav­ing done so in 2014.

Fer­rari, though, will be out to up­set the odds – Se­bas­tian Vet­tel and Kimi Räikkö­nen look to re­assert their claim as Mercedes’ main ri­vals.

But while Fer­rari may be tied with McLaren as the most suc­cess­ful team, with 13 wins, the Maranello out­fit has not climbed to the top step since Michael Schu­macher claimed an un­prece­dented sev­enth Cana­dian win back in 2004.

It is also a cir­cuit where Wil­liams tend to go well while Force In­dia will be look­ing to build on their Monaco podium with the aid of their Mercedes power unit.

McLaren are run­ning an up­graded turbo in Mon­treal which Fer­nando Alonso and Jen­son But­ton are hop­ing will yield a third dou­ble­points haul, while Haas will be chas­ing a top-10 show­ing in front of many of their fans.

But power and brakes will count for lit­tle if driv­ers can­not deal with the Wall of Cham­pi­ons, un­doubt­edly the most fa­mous fea­ture at the cir­cuit, where many a big name has crashed. – TEAMtalk Me­dia

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