Canadian Grand Prix 2016 Preview: Start Time, TV Info, Weather, Schedule, Odds

Oliver Harden@@OllieHardenFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2016

Canadian Grand Prix 2016 Preview: Start Time, TV Info, Weather, Schedule, Odds

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Just four weeks after the European leg of the season started in Spain, Formula One is heading to North America for a very quick detour.

    This weekend's Canadian Grand Prix will mark the beginning of a hectic period of six races in the space of eight weeks as the pinnacle of motorsport charges toward the midpoint of the 2016 campaign.

    The event, held at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the best part of four decades, is widely regarded as one of the highlights of a given season, with a scenic, simple track usually providing thrilling on-track action and surprise results.

    Read on for a full preview of the Canadian GP, featuring the championship standings, circuit guide, weather forecast and television times.

Current Standings

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    Lars Baron/Getty Images

    After registering his first victory of 2016 in the Monaco Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has overtaken Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen for second place in the drivers' championship and now just sits 24 points behind leader Nico Rosberg.

    Despite being pipped to the chequered flag in Monte Carlo, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo has jumped both Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel to third. 

    Here are the top 10 drivers heading into the Canadian GP:

    1.Nico Rosberg 106
    2.Lewis Hamilton82
    3.Daniel Ricciardo 66
    4. Kimi Raikkonen 61
    5.Sebastian Vettel 60
    6.Max Verstappen 38
    7.Felipe Massa 37
    8. Valtteri Bottas 29
    9.Sergio Perez23
    10. Daniil Kvyat 22

    Mercedes' fifth win in six races extended their advantage over Ferrari to 67 points in Monaco, with the Prancing Horse now just nine points ahead of a resurgent Red Bull.

    Further back, Force India's first double points finish of the season allowed them to leapfrog Haas and Toro Rosso into fifth position.

    Here is what the constructors' table looks like ahead of Canada:

    3.Red Bull112
    5.Force India37
    6. Toro Rosso 30

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

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    Named after Gilles Villeneuve, widely regarded as one of the finest drivers never to win the world championship, the tracked staged its first Formula One race in 1978 and has been an almost permanent fixture on the calendar ever since.

    A mixture of long straights and chicanes—providing a stringent test of both engines and brakes—it is among the most enjoyable venues in the sport and has a wonderful knack of producing close, exciting racing.

    According to the official F1 website, the 4.361-kilometre circuit sees the cars travel 305.27 kilometres over the course of the 70-lap race.

    Using the above onboard video of Felipe Massa—behind the wheel of a 2014 Williams FW36—as a reference, let's take a ride around the track.

    Turns 1 and 2

    After crossing the start-finish line to begin the lap, the drivers immediately negotiate a flat, right-hand kink before straightening the car for the braking zone of Turn 1, a third-gear left-hander and the first of several potential overtaking spots.

    The exit of T1 becomes the entry to 2 as the drivers shift down a gear while digging the front end into the slow, right-hand hairpin before easing back on to the throttle pedal—controlling any wheelspin in the process—to begin the gradual rise toward Turns 3 and 4.

    Turns 3, 4 and 5 

    The circuit almost evokes feelings of claustrophobia at this stage as those familiar concrete walls line the track, with the drivers positioning themselves as far to the left as possible before launching the car into the slightly blind right-hander of Turn 3, clattering the kerbs as the track dips down.

    A nudge to the left sees them navigate Turn 4, where it's important to control the car's momentum to avoid hitting the outside wall.

    Motoring in the shadows of the overhanging trees, the drivers then ignore a flat, left-hand kink before zooming through a much longer right-hand kink, Turn 5, in preparation for the next chicane.

    Turns 6 and 7

    Straightening the car under braking, the drivers normally bounce over the kerb of the slow left-hander of Turn 6 before flicking across the track to hug the inside of Turn 7, which opens up on the exit.

    A clean exit is crucial here, both to maximise speed along the medium-length straight that follows and to avoid losing the rear under acceleration and risk making contact with the wall on the outside.

    Turns 8 and 9

    That medium-length straight actually bends slightly to the right as the drivers use the shadow of a bridge as a braking reference for the slow right-hander of Turn 8.

    As with the previous chicanes, the drivers must take care when reapplying the power and skim the wall on the exit to build speed down another kinked straight.

    But as Carloz Sainz Jr. told Toro Roso's race preview, it would be unfair to regard Canada as a repetitive track.

    "It might look like a very simple circuit because you have the same kind of corners all the time, but each of these chicanes has different tricks and you need to take each one of them in a diverse way," he said.

    Turns 10, 11 and 12

    The hardest stopping zone on a circuit notorious for its punishment of brakes, the right-hand hairpin of Turn 10 sees the cars decelerate from around 300 kilometres per hour to about 60.

    Overtaking is certainly possible here, but in the era of DRS, drivers may prefer to bide their time before gaining extra straight-line speed on the longest stretch of the track, which is 1,190 metres long and sees the cars reach speeds of up to 333 km/h, per Williams' race preview.

    Before that straight officially begins, they must negotiate two more minor kinks known as Turns 11 and 12.

    Turns 13 and 14

    The final chicane of Turns 13 and 14 is the home of the most famous—revered, even—crash barrier in F1.

    The Wall of Champions earned its name after ending the afternoons of Michael Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve and Damon Hill in the 1999 race, with the likes of Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel also succumbing to the barrier in years gone by.

    Although such crashes are not as common as they once were, the amount of incidents at that part of the circuit is a reflection of the sheer commitment required to perfect the right-left sequence, clattering over the kerbs and shaving the paint off the outside wall on exit.

    "Leaving the final corner unscathed after passing the ‘Wall of Champions’ always feels like an achievement," Button told McLaren's race preview.

    Those who realise that achievement are left with a simple run along the main straight, with drivers often staying to the right-hand side of the circuit in qualifying in order to create the shortest possible route to the line.

    Pit lane

    The entrance to the pit lane is located at the end of the straight leading to the final chicane, with the exit feeding the cars into the outside of Turn 2.

    Under safety-car conditions, it is not uncommon for the red light to appear at the end of the pit lane to prevent cars from rejoining the circuit in the middle of a corner.

    Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella were disqualified for ignoring the red light in the 2007 race, a year before Lewis Hamilton's infamous collision with Kimi Raikkonen.

Canadian GP Tyres and DRS Zones

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    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    After appearing for the first time in Monaco, the purple-striped ultrasoft tyres will be used again at the Canadian Grand Prix. They will be joined by the red-marked supersofts and the yellow-coloured softs.

    Most teams have stocked up on ultrasofts for Canada, with the Force India, Sauber, McLaren-Honda and Manor drivers taking the joint-fewest with six sets and Haas selecting as many as 10 each for Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez.

    Like Renault, Haas have made the bold strategic move to take no supersofts at all.

    Explaining the thinking behind the decision, team principal Guenther Steiner admitted Haas are unsure the gamble will pay off having made the choice as long ago as winter testing in February.

    He told the team's official website:

    We only tested the ultrasofts once before making the decision to use them in Canada, and that was in Barcelona. We will see in Canada if we made the right decision. We know more about the ultrasofts now after having used them in Monaco. We just need to do our best to make them work as best as possible.

    According to Pirelli's race preview, the Canadian GP "will present a number of different challenges to Monaco, with notably higher speeds and higher loads that generate more temperature and put increased energy through the tyres" on a low-grip track.

    Per the same source, motorsport director Paul Hembery predicted "a number of different tactics coming into play" in a race with "plenty of scope for strategy." However, Williams technical boss Pat Symonds has warned to "expect most cars to be on a one-stop strategy," per the team's race preview.

    DRS Zones

    After just one DRS zone was used in Monaco, two will be available in Canada.

    The single detection point is located on the exit of Turn 9, with the activation points on the long back stretch and the main straight.

Canadian GP Weather Forecast

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    Charles Coates/Getty Images

    Rain is not uncommon at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, though you would have to go back to 2011—the year of Jenson Button's greatest triumph—to find the last wet Canadian Grand Prix.

    At the time of writing, the BBC forecast expects Friday practice to take place in cloudy conditions, with a high of 17 degrees Celsius.

    The cloud will remain on qualifying day, when the temperature will improve by four degrees, with showers on Sunday morning clearing before the race takes place under light cloud and in cooler conditions of around 15 degrees.

    A north-westerly breeze of 14 miles per hour may also have an effect at a circuit where stability under braking is key.


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    As Romain Grosjean discovered in 2015, drivers must gamble in order to be quick in Canada.
    As Romain Grosjean discovered in 2015, drivers must gamble in order to be quick in Canada.Peter J Fox/Getty Images

    With four pole positions and four victories in his eight previous visits to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton is the favourite to win the Canadian Grand Prix.

    After Daniel Ricciardo registered his maiden pole and pushed Hamilton all the way to the chequered flag in Monaco, the Australian has been installed as the third-favourite behind the Mercedes drivers despite Red Bull's historical weaknesses at power-sensitive circuits.

    The best odds available for the top-10 favourites are:

    Lewis Hamilton6-5
    Nico Rosberg 9-4
    Daniel Ricciardo 7-1
    Sebastian Vettel 11-1
    Max Verstappen 12-1
    Kimi Raikkonen 33-1
    Valtteri Bottas 125-1
    Felipe Massa 150-1
    Sergio Perez150-1
    Nico Hulkenberg 200-1

    Selected Others

    With Williams tending to perform at their best at high-speed, low-downforce tracks, and with Felipe Massa the only driver to score points in each of the opening six races, who would bet against team and driver registering their first podium of the season in Canada?

    You can get odds of 16-1 that the Brazilian will finish in the top three on Sunday.

    The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve should also allow Manor to feel the perks of their switch to the standard-setting Mercedes power units for 2016. You can get 12-1 odds that lead driver Pascal Wehrlein will score the team's first points in two years.

    All odds are taken from Oddschecker and are correct at the time of writing.

Session and TV Times

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    Dan Istitene/Getty Images

    Here are the local times for all three practice sessions, qualifying and the race:

    Practice 1Friday10 a.m.
    Practice 2Friday2 p.m.
    Practice 3Saturday10 a.m.
    QualifyingSaturday1 p.m.
    RaceSunday2 p.m.

    TV Times

    In the United Kingdom, Sky Sports F1 has live coverage of each session. The programming start times are (in BST):

    SessionDay Time
    Practice 1Friday2.45 p.m.
    Practice 2Friday6:45 p.m.
    Practice 3Saturday2:45 p.m.
    QualifyingSaturday5 p.m.
    RaceSunday5:30 p.m.

    Meanwhile, Channel 4 will broadcast free-to-air highlights of qualifying and the race.

    In the Unites States, NBC will show all sessions live on a number of platforms, including NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra. The programming start times are (in ET):

    Practice 1Friday10 a.m. (Live Extra)
    Practice 2Friday2 p.m. (NBCSN)
    Practice 3Saturday10 a.m. (Live Extra)
    QualifyingSaturday1 p.m. (NBCSN)
    RaceRace1 p.m. (NBC)

    Enjoy the race!


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