Mika Häkkinen Preview - 2024 Canadian Grand Prix

Hot Topic

This week’s news that Checo Perez has re-signed for Red Bull Racing until 2026 has surprised some fans and commentators but there is no reason for the team to change a driver line-up which delivered a 1-2 in the 2023 World Championship for Drivers.  It’s important that drivers push each other in a team, but it’s also important that you have harmony.

This season Checo has suffered a couple of tough weekends in San Marino and Monaco, but before that he achieved three 2nd placed finishes and another podium in China. That’s exactly why he makes an ideal team mate for Max Verstappen and brings balance to Red Bull.  

It is really important that drivers do not come into conflict with each other because that can completely destroy a team.  I had many quick team mate during my career but, it’s very simple, if you are the quicker driver then you will benefit.  This means having a better grid position and an optimal race strategy, but it also leads you to become the focus of the team’s development.  

This is why, over time, a team can start to look like it is favouring one driver over the other.  In reality all that’s happening is that the quicker driver is generating the performance and data which is driving the team’s development.  

The collision between the Alpine team mates Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly in Monaco was a brutal example of what can go wrong. We usually support drivers who go for a gap but in Monaco, where overtaking is extremely difficult, Esteban’s decision to go for the pass at Portier corner led to a collision which red-flagged the race, ended his weekend and could easily have done the same for Pierre. Unlike Red Bull, Alpine has decided not to continue with the same driver line-up for 2025, leaving Esteban to find a drive somewhere else.  Both he and Pierre are quick, but two into one does not work in F1.


Take Note

Montreal is a fantastic circuit, an old-style track which has three high speed sections and heavy braking zones followed by sequences slow-to-medium speed corners. It’s a track which demands that you have a car that is well balanced, with big changes of direction through turns 3 & 4, 6 & 7, 8 & 9 and finally 13 & 14 - the chicane at the end of the lap.

I won at this circuit in 1999, during the race in which Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve each hit the wall at the exit of the chicane, giving it the name ‘Wall of Champions’. Personally I have always tried to avoid walls, and at circuits like Monaco and Montreal, where there is sometimes no run-off area, it’s good to leave a small margin!

The Gilles Villeneuve Circuit sits on a man-made island in the middle of the St Lawrence river and weather quite often affects this race. We can all remember the incredible 2011 Canadian Grand Prix which was interrupted by torrential rain, lasted over 4 hours and was won on the last lap by Jenson Button’s McLaren!

This weekend it looks like there is a good chance of rain during practice on Friday and Saturday, and a 30% chance of it affecting the race on Sunday.  As the track has been completely resurfaced, wet practice sessions could mean a difficult start to the weekend for everyone and the potential for some surprises.


Mika’s Tip

I expect to see a return to winning form for Max Verstappen this weekend. The circuit will not compromise the performance of his RB20 in the way that Monaco did. Watch out for the Ferrari challenge, however, as Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have a quick Ferrari, both of them have won races this year and the team is only 24 points behind Red Bull in the World Championship!



Written by: Mika Hakkinen, publishing origin: Unibet
We would like to thank the team at Unibet for sharing this post with us.
To read more from Mika and Unibet visit their website - www.unibet.co.uk/blog/author/mika-hakkinen

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