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Canadian GP 2015

Mercedes Power a Different Class

The Canadian GP is a race that usually produces action and excitement from lights out to chequered flag. This was extinguished at this year's event thanks to the dominance of Mercedes’ power. Lewis Hamilton claimed his 4th victory of the season and with it, put the disappointment of Monaco behind him to pull out a 17 point lead over team mate Nico Rosberg in the championship. Rosberg finished second with Valtteri Bottas coming home 3rd.

The race was a dull affair with the only notable incidents being Sebastian Vettel charging through the field along with Felipe Massa, both of whom were out of position thanks to technical problems in qualifying. Both drivers put in some brilliant overtakes to battle through the field and come home 5th (Vettel) and 6th (Massa). Had both of them started in positions that reflected the machinery they were in, it could have made better viewing for the fans.

What the race did was highlight was what is wrong with the current state of F1. When 9 of the 10 points places are filled with Mercedes powered cars, it is clear that something needs to change and quickly. On the one hand, you cannot help but admire the work that Mercedes have put into the V6 turbo engine to make it the dominant force that is. People can argue that the characteristics of the Montréal circuit played into Mercedes' hands with the longer straights that put an emphasis on the power unit. Renault, Ferrari and Honda were never going to get near any Mercedes power during the whole weekend, no matter what they did. This is the problem though; there isn't really anything that they can do with the restrictions on engine development. Mercedes’ advantage is so vast, the current token system that is in place doesn't help anyone.

To try and level the playing field somewhat, teams should be able to develop their power units without restriction. This could in turn bring the pack a bit closer and give us some more exciting and closer racing. In Monaco, Red Bull were so much closer to the front, because it was a circuit that focuses more on the chassis, not the power unit. Montréal showed the gap in power between the Mercedes teams and the non-Mercedes teams, and it is worrying. Something has to be done, and done quickly before F1's dwindling audience reduces even further.


Williams Bounce Back From Poor Monaco Showing

A notable point throughout the race weekend was Williams' return to the head of the grid to challenge Ferrari and put some pressure on Mercedes. In Monaco, the team were absolutely nowhere and didn't score a single point. Fast forward two weeks, and the team are back at the head of the grid. Valtteri Bottas showed what a talent he is and continued his impressive record in Canada with another podium finish - his and the team's first of the season. Felipe Massa showed the car's pace after coming through the field to finish an impressive 6th.

The performance in Canada was in stark contrast to that of Monaco two weeks earlier, where the team looked very off colour. There is an argument that Williams’ poor performance in Monaco was down to the nature of the Monaco circuit, and showed the Williams chassis' flaws, something Rob Smedley has denied. The team has been accused of lacking in the development area, and this could have possibly been the reason for the performance issues in Monaco. The Canadian GP played into Williams hands with their Mercedes power, and it will be the same in Austria. Hopefully the team can push on from Canada and develop the car so they don't repeat their Monaco nightmare, and compete at the head of the grid.

McLaren Amateurs

The only thing that was surprising to me about Fernando Alonso's radio message in Canada, branding his team "amateurs", was how long it has taken the fiery Spaniard to vent his frustrations. McLaren have reignited their legendary partnership with Honda for 2015, but it has got off to a very slow start, with Jenson Button picking up the teams only points in Monaco. Canada brought McLaren back down to earth with a harsh bump, as the team's lack of power was clear for everyone to see. The team were not challenging anybody in the race, and saw cars drive straight past them down the back straight. This has all been taken in Alonso's and Button’s strides, with both drivers constantly saying how happy they are with the progress of the team race by race.

This cannot be taken away from the team, who have definitely improved race by race, but Canada really showed how far off they are from the points, let alone a podium challenge. So when Alonso was told to save fuel by his team, this seemed to push him too far. He vented his anger over the radio to the team saying that he just wants to race and wouldn't save fuel. You can see where he is coming from though, he is a natural born racer and not being able to do something that comes naturally to him must be infuriating. To add insult to injury for Alonso, both he and Button retired from the race thanks to reliability issues. Alonso was quick to play down his comments after the race, but it is clear that he is becoming frustrated with the team’s performance. Despite this, he still believes that he is in the right environment to deliver his elusive 3rd World Championship.

Report courtesy of Simon Gray

Read more on Simon's blog here

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