After per week off, System 1 is again this week with the Canadian Grand Prix. Whereas there was concern early final week about whether or not the race would go ahead, attributable to widespread wildfires raging by means of Canada, F1 calmed fears late final week in regards to the Grand Prix going down.
Because the grid heads to Montreal, what are the key storylines to comply with this week? Let’s dive in.
Will the Mercedes upgrades stick?
One of many greatest storylines of the Spanish Grand Prix was the emergency of Mercedes. After months — and months — of debate over their zeropod design the crew unveiled their upgrades on the Monaco Grand Prix, with a sidepod design much like what we’re seeing this 12 months from groups like Alpine and Mercedes.
Whereas that didn’t translate to quick success in Monaco, Lewis Hamilton completed fourth and George Russell got here throughout the road behind him in fifth, the crew broke by means of in Barcelona, notching their first double podium of the season.
Are the Silver Arrows again, or was Barcelona a one-off occasion?
The crew’s Trackside Engineering Director, Andrew Shovlin, opened the door to Barcelona presumably being a one-off this week. Within the crew’s debriefing session, Shovlin downplayed their possibilities in Montreal.
“There are extra low-speed corners, various straight-line full throttle and we’d count on extra of a problem there,” he mentioned. “We’re not pondering that we’re stepping into nipping on the heels of Purple Bull. We’re stepping into there ready for a battle with Ferrari, Aston Martin and perhaps even Alpine.”
Will Shovlin’s prediction come true, or will Mercedes have one thing else up their sleeves in Canada?
Can Sergio Pérez bounce again?
Popping out of the Miami Grand Prix, Sergio Pérez was simply 14 factors behind his Purple Bull teammate Max Verstappen within the Drivers’ standings. And with the circuit heading to Monaco to check the Monte Carlo streets, there was each expectation that the “King of the Streets” would push even nearer to Verstappen on the prime of the desk.
Two troublesome races later, Pérez has now seen the hole to Verstappen bulge to 53 factors. Pérez sound out early in Q1 in Monaco and was pressured to start out in the back of the sector, and got here away with out a single level to indicate for his efforts. Then he didn’t advance to Q3 in Barcelona and began Eleventh, and whereas he managed to struggle by means of the sector and end fourth, he additionally noticed Russell — who began behind him in P12 — beat him to the road and take third.
It was the primary time all 12 months a automotive began behind a Purple Bull and beat them in a Grand Prix.
Now there are even rumblings about Pérez’s standing with the crew. Workforce Principal Christian Horner and Advisor Helmut Marko have each given the driving force the vote of confidence in latest days, however with Purple Bull in search of a second-straight Constructors’ title, they are going to be hoping Pérez regains his early-season kind quickly.
As a result of he has somebody nipping at his heels …
Or can Fernando Alonso shut the hole to second?
As famous above, when the circuit left Miami behind, Pérez was simply 14 factors behind Verstappen on the prime of the Drivers’ standings.
He was additionally 30 factors away from Fernando Alonso, with the Aston Martin driver in third place.
However because of Pérez’s latest struggles, Alonso has crept nearer to Pérez, and now sits simply 18 factors behind him within the standings. Whereas Alonso was not capable of safe his thirty third profession victory in his residence race, he got here throughout seventh, giving him factors in every race this season.
Alonso’s historical past in Montreal is considerably spotty. He completed ninth a season in the past, however his final podium within the Canadian Grand Prix got here again in 2013, when he completed second within the Drivers’ standings. But when Pérez continues to battle, that would open the door for Alonso to inch even nearer to the highest of the standings.
Nonetheless, following the end in Barcelona, he had a transparent message for the remainder of the sector:
Alonso additionally confirmed that Aston Martin could be bringing some upgrades to Montreal. Following the Spanish Grand Prix, the veteran driver had this to say:
“In Canada, we’ll convey extra issues, and in Silverstone too… It is going to all rely upon which crew is bringing updates. Even then, with a standard qualifying, we might have began alongside Hamilton and will have had some higher possibilities.
“I feel it’s only one race – after which in Canada, we crush them.”
With the way in which he has been driving this season, there’s each motive to consider that Alonso will again up these phrases with outcomes.
Can Ferrari determine it out?
Congratulations are to ensure that Ferrari, because the crew secured an enormous victory over the weekend of their return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was the primary win for Ferrari in 58 years, and it got here after a 50-year absence from the occasion, as Ferrari final competed in Le Mans again in 1973.
Now Ferrari followers are hoping a few of that success rubs off on the Scuderia.
Carlos Sainz Jr. completed fifth in Barcelona, whereas teammate Charles Leclerc struggled along with his SF-23 all weekend and managed simply an Eleventh-place end. That, coupled with the double podium from Mercedes, has the crew in search of solutions.
“We’re there in qualifying, and we’re not there within the race,” mentioned Workforce Principal Frederic Vasseur following the Spanish Grand Prix. “We’re nonetheless inconsistent on the identical automotive between compounds and typically between the identical compounds.”
“Now we have 1,000 folks [working] on this now and it is vitally obscure and to repair it as a result of it’s not all the time the identical downside,” he added. “It’s true that in qualifying, you’re in free air and within the race you aren’t. I feel Charles struggled quite a bit within the first stint as he was quite a bit nearer to the automotive in entrance of him. The principle difficulty for us just isn’t the potential on the lap on [high-speed] corners, the primary difficulty is the inconsistency.”
Ferrari must determine this out, and quick.
Can Max Verstappen win his fourth-straight?
Okay it’s most likely time to speak about Max.
Together with his victory in Barcelona, Verstappen secured his fifth win of the season, and his third-straight victory. Verstappen has completed both first or second in each single Grand Prix this season, sits atop the Drivers’ standings, and has helped Purple Bull construct a commanding lead within the Constructors’ standings.
He additionally returns to Montreal the defending champion, having gained the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix in thrilling style, managing to carry off Sainz over the ultimate 16 laps to safe the victory.
Whereas Verstappen is effectively wanting the document for consecutive victories — that having been set by Sebastian Vettel again in 2013 with nine-straight wins — he might inch nearer to his personal mark of five-straight wins, which he set a season in the past with wins in France, Hungary, Belgium, Netherlands, after which Italy.
And given how effectively he’s driving proper now, that is perhaps a secure guess.
Which rookie lastly will get a degree, De Vries or Sargent?
Having talked in regards to the prime of the desk, let’s flip our eyes to the underside. Solely two drivers have but to safe a single level this season, rookies Nyck de Vries and Logan Sargeant.
For de Vries, the final two races have proven indicators of progress. After the Miami Grand Prix, the place de Vries struggled in qualifying and positioned 18th, he was given the “yellow card” by Purple Bull advisor Helmut Marko. Whereas that led to breathless hypothesis a few potential substitute at AlphaTauri — together with from yours really — de Vries has responded with stronger performances the previous two races, which led to subsequent reward from Marko himself.
“This was by far his finest weekend for AlphaTauri,” Marko instructed Motorsport.com following the Monaco Grand Prix, the place de Vries superior to Q2 and completed twelfth. “Nyck was a lot nearer to Yuki than earlier than. That is what I wish to see from him.”
Then there’s Sargeant. The Williams rookie noticed his finest end of his F1 profession come within the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, the place he got here throughout the road in P12. For these hoping that was an indication that he could be aggressive this season, outcomes since then have spoiled these hopes. After three-straight P16 finishes in Saudi Arabia, Australia and Azerbaijan, Sargeant completed twentieth in Miami — his residence Grand Prix — 18th in Monaco, and twentieth once more in Barcelona.
Regardless of the last-place end within the Spanish Grand Prix, per week which included a crash in follow on Friday, Sargeant left Barcelona pondering he was near getting issues sorted out.
“I feel it was a very good build-up on Friday,” he mentioned following the Spanish Grand Prix. “I feel the one mistake was very, very expensive.
“I feel [it] was the closest I’ve been, though it didn’t present in qualifying. I simply assume that mistake in P3, having to hurry the automotive construct again collectively was very, very expensive. I feel with out that we might have been near extracting all the pieces.”
So which rookie breaks by means of for factors first, and does that come this week?