It’s great to be back in North America. That is what the Formula 1 circus thinks about being back in Canada for a Grand Prix that was off the calendar last year. Also good news is the fact that Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro is back amongst the front runners with the car seeming much more comfortable at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit, what with its low downforce configuration, heavy braking and the need for good traction out of the slow corners. It’s definitely better than in Turkey two weeks ago. Fernando certainly knew he had been in a fight come the end of qualifying which he came out of with a fourth place, while Felipe, who didn’t manage to get a perfect lap, was passed by a handful of drivers in the dying moments of the session and will therefore start from the third row in seventh place.
Tomorrow’s 70 laps look like being extremely tough and strenuous, for a variety of reasons. First of all, there’s the track layout itself, which is unforgiving of the slightest mistake, as the walls here are very close to the track, which means the Safety Car could have to make an appearance. Then there’s the matter of the tyres: the softer tyre compound that Bridgestone has brought here is suffering more wear than expected over a long run, basically because of the characteristics of the resurfaced track. This meant that teams adopted different strategies when tackling Q3, given that a driver has to start the race with the same tyres used in qualifying. At the top end of the grid, the Red Bulls and Kubica in the Renault will start on the harder tyre, while our drivers and Hamilton are on the softs. Who has made the right choice?
The Canadian Grand Prix weekend coincides with the start of the football World Cup. So, work in the paddock permitting, everyone has kept an eye on what is going on in South Africa. You can imagine the mood in the Ferrari camp, given that it’s an Italian team with a Brazilian and a Spanish driver, thus representing three of the strongest footballing nations in the world.
One thing is certain however. Putting to one side the understandable divergence of soccer support, the entire team has only one thing on its mind for tomorrow: picking up a really good result.