Lewis Hamilton will be the heavy favourite at one of his favourite events on the Formula One calendar this weekend, the Canadian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton will be the heavy favourite at one of his most successful events on the Formula One calendar this weekend, the Canadian Grand Prix.
Mercedes' reigning world champion has won four times at Montreal in his career, a tally bettered only by Michael Schumacher, including last year's race.
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve's barrelling straights should also put the Mercedes in a class of its own after Red Bull brought the fight in Barcelona and Monaco.
A pit-stop mix-up denied Daniel Ricciardo in a rain-affected Monte Carlo as Red Bull's failure to provide him with tyres opened the door for Hamilton - who cruised to victory after being let past by his team-mate - championship leader Nico Rosberg.
REVENGE ON RICCIARDO'S MIND
Ricciardo was also badly let down by strategy in Barcelona, before being stranded in the Monaco pits cost him another win.
The Australian's first F1 win came in Montreal in 2014 after Rosberg and Hamilton ran into technical difficulties, and he is not ruling out hitting back with a similar showing.
He said: "I think realistically Mercedes are still going to be, as expected, the ones to beat. I expect that we can be the next best, or I hope we can be the next best. You never know, but I do believe we'll be the next ones in line behind Mercedes and how far we're behind Mercedes I'm not sure but hopefully close enough to again put some pressure on them and grab a win."
Ferrari will hope to challenge Ricciardo's assertions, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen set to benefit from considerable turbo upgrades in Canada.
"This is a step forward," the Finn said. "How much, time will tell. It's a new part and we would never put any new parts on the car if we didn't think it improves. I don't expect any miracles suddenly but it's the right direction."
Raikkonen spun at the hairpin in last year's race, having also done the same in free practice 12 months previously. With pressure reportedly building on the 2007 world champion, he will want to keep his car facing forwards this week.
HIGH-FLYING HAMILTON FEELING GOOD
Hamilton has spent most of the week filling his Instagram feed with tales of time spent with Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber.
With attention turning back to business, however, the Silver Arrows star is confident he can eat further into Rosberg's 24-point lead in the championship.
"I think I have proved that I am as strong as ever again and I will be for the rest of the year. There's a long way to go in the championship and we've seen from the first six races that anything is possible."
Straight lines, and lots of them.
Drivers won't be using their left foot too often, but a number of heavy braking zones can pose a headache for teams.
Williams' Felipe Massa commented in Thursday's news conference: "Brakes need to work well so it's easy to get… we saw in the past many teams struggling with overheating problems in the braking. We need to be careful, try to use everything in the proper way to have no problems."
Brakes are not going to be teams' only concern come raceday. A cloudy forecast will likely see track temperatures plummet on Sunday, though rain is unlikely to give us similar incidents to those seen in Monaco - as well as the six-hour epic here in 2011.
Renault and Haas raised eyebrows with their selections, avoiding supersofts altogether. Haas' 10 sets of ultrasofts each for Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean hints at a radical strategy that will be one to watch.
The frontrunners are otherwise as expected, though Williams will hope a return to a quick track can give them points - Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa look set for split strategies with slightly altered orders.