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Canadian GP talking points

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 09-06-2016

Morpheus Bulletin

Morpheus Bulletin
© Provided by BSkyB

Montreal, Mercedes, momentum: The title race is aliveDespite watching his team-mate continue his remarkable winning streak in 2016 as he faced one of the most difficult periods of his Mercedes career, Lewis Hamilton is now just 24 points behind Nico Rosberg. The momentum is with the world champion - at last.

"You have to feel like normal service has been resumed," noted Sky F1's Damon Hill after Hamilton's first victory of the season in Monaco.

And, ominously for Rosberg, if the Brit was to pick a race to come next - the Canadian GP would be right up there.

Hamilton not only sealed his maiden F1 victory in Montreal in 2007, but followed it up with wins in 2010, 2012 and 2015. It's an old-school racing track, something Hamilton always loves, while the sharp changes in direction and acceleration suit Mercedes. Rosberg, on the other hand, has never triumphed at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Coupled with threats from other teams this is a true test of the German's character and mentality, which were questioned ahead of the season. He followed that up with four straight wins and now that the going gets tough, it's time to prove his doubters wrong again.

While Hamilton says the title race is "alive" and he is as strong as ever, Rosberg was bemoaning the "bad luck" he had in Monaco - a race in which he struggled to seventh place. 

When's the Canadian GP on Sky?

Rosberg's willingness to let Hamilton through in Monte Carlo proved the rivalry may not quite be as intense as 2014, yet, but other variables - such as another title contender - could change that. A W07 one-two looks more likely this weekend but it is clear Mercedes are taking a certain team very seriously indeed.

"The main thing we took away [from Monaco] was the very real threat from Red Bull," Toto Wolff said. "I've said this many times before - but we have no breathing space in this championship. Maintaining any advantage is a constant battle - and the pressure is only getting bigger. MM

Red Bull are back...but are they ready to fly in Canada?The wounds of Monaco 2016 may take a while longer to heal for Daniel Ricciardo, but Red Bull's uncharacteristic pit blunder in the principality shouldn't cloud just what the team have achieved in recent races.

Make no mistake, Red Bull are back - and they have Mercedes worried.

But that's not to say that after victory in Spain, and a pole and victory near-miss in Monaco, Red Bull start as favourites in Canada. In fact, far from it - the fast bursts of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve should suit the Mercedes package just as well as it did in each of the first two years of F1's current hybrid era. Hamilton won in 2015, and Mercedes were well clear in 2014 before crippling reliability problems gripped both cars.

Red Bull know that too, but finally have reason to believe that their Renault power units might at least help them remain the first of the challengers. Nearly two seconds off the qualifying pace here last year, 2016 should be much better than that.

"At Monte Carlo it gave us exactly what was promised, which was about 0.2s," team boss Christian Horner said. "That certainly helped to achieve pole position, so hats off to everyone in Viry, they are doing a great job at the moment. The TAG Heuer power unit is performing better and better."

On a more power-centric circuit like Montreal, that performance gain should be more in the region of 0.5 seconds.

Max Verstappen joins Ricciardo in running the upgraded Renault this weekend and, on another unforgiving circuit for driver and car, Red Bull may be ready to pounce on any slip-ups from Mercedes. But only, of course, if they avoid making any more fundamental ones themselves… JG

Upgrades for Ferrari?There seems to come a time in most teams' season when the penny drops and the results follow. For Red Bull it was Spain, for Force India it was Monaco.

In Ferrari's case, an upturn in both fortune and performance is crucial this weekend.

2016 was billed as a two-horse title race, there was finally to be a consistent challenger to Mercedes's dominance - but the Scuderia are not only lagging behind their Brackley rivals, they have now been pushed further down the pecking order by Red Bull.

It's not like race victories haven't been available, but there are certainly some mysterious goings on at Ferrari. They're quicker than last year, but are they not being brave enough with strategy? Have they pushed too hard for power and affected reliability? First and foremost, the mystifying qualifying pace - where they seem to get slower as the session goes on - needs to be addressed.

"The car is getting worse," Sebastian Vettel said over team radio at the conclusion of qualifying in Monaco.

The Monte Carlo streets were never going to favour Ferrari's package but Montreal's long straights just might. It seems the team have recognised that, reportedly bringing a power unit and suspension upgrade to Canada, as well as using new fuel from Shell.

Sergio Marchionne's demanding briefings to the media and rumours surrounding Maurizio Arrivabene's job won't go away until Ferrari secure that first win of the season.

The pressure is truly on the team, Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.

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