until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Mark Hughes: Why a shock Canadian GP result is so likely

by Mark Hughes
2 min read

This could be a right place at the right time sort of race, given the constantly changeable weather which is forecast. Friday running gave a great foretaste of that.

What we learned is not reflected in the times, so mixed were the conditions. There was a small window at the beginning of second practice where you could run a few laps on slicks in light drizzle. If you stayed out there on softs and got the tyre temperatures up and just kept running, you’d be fast.

That’s what the Aston Martins did, hence Fernando Alonso fastest in the headline times and Lance Stroll third, sandwiching George Russell’s Mercedes.

It did seem the Aston could generate tyre temperatures quickly – and that could be gold dust depending upon what the weather is doing at the critical moments of qualifying and race.

But there was no like-for-like comparison. Both Ferraris and both McLarens for example were running around on the unsuitable (for the conditions) medium tyre, seemingly on different fuel loads to each other.

Max Verstappen did only one serious push lap before coming in with the Red Bull on fire – with a suspected hybrid-related failure. But Sergio Perez did seem to be struggling in the other Red Bull.

Then there was a lull when the track was too wet for slicks, too dry for inters. By the time it was wet enough the track was around 14s slower. In that inters phase Alonso was again initially the fastest man on track. But not everyone was out there and conversely he was in the garage by the time Lando Norris was setting the pace towards the end.

So we cannot say who is where with any degree of confidence, just that the usual top four teams are in the mix  – and beyond them maybe the way the Aston Martin works the tyre could be a boon if the conditions are just right. 

Of more significance in our learning was the very smooth new track surface combined with the weather forecast has huge potential for shock outcomes.  

The surface dries super-fast on-line, making the contrast in grip online to offline especially tricky and which means it’s very easy for neither a slick nor an intermediate to be suitable! It also means drivers are very reluctant to move offline. 

This has all the makings of controversy and surprise.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks