Circuit Gilles Villeneuve facts & stats
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has been the home of the Canadian Grand Prix since 1978. It’s located on Montreal’s Ile Notre Dame, a man-made island in the middle of the St Lawrence River that was built using rock excavated for the Montreal metro.
The track is a semi-permanent circuit. The area around the pits is reserved exclusively for racing, while the rest of the circuit is opened up to road traffic during the summer months. That makes the asphalt very smooth and, as was the case in Monaco last time out, Pirelli will supply their Soft and Supersoft tyre compounds to the teams.
The cars top 300km/h on four occasions around the lap, braking at the end of each straight for a tight corner. That makes car set-up a delicate balance between low downforce for maximum straightline speed, while maintaining enough aerodynamic grip to ensure braking stability.
Unlike last year, there will only be a single DRS zone in the race – located on the long straight before the final chicane. Throw in the addition of KERS Hybrid, however, and dicey, high-speed overtaking should once again be prevalent on Sunday afternoon.
Both Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers have won the Canadian Grand Prix, Jenson took an unforgettable last-to-first victory last year while Lewis dominated in both 2007 and ’10. The team is going for a hat-trick of wins next Sunday.
Race distance 70 laps (189.694 miles/305.270km)
Circuit length 2.709 miles/4.361km
Start time 14:00 (local)/18:00 GMT
2011 winner Jenson Button (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) 70 laps in 4hr04m39.537s (74.864km/h)
2011 pole Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing) 1m13.014s (215.021km/h)
Lap record Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari F2004) 1m13.622s (213.246km/h)
McLaren at the Canadian Grand Prix
Wins 12 (1968, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1999, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2011)
Poles 11 (1972, 1974, 1976, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1998, 2007, 2008, 2010)
Fastest Laps 11 (1971, 1981, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1997, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011)
Car 3: Jenson Button
Age 32 (January 19 1980)
2012 points 45 (7th)
Canada record 2011 Q7 R1; 2010 Q4 R2; 2008 Q20 R11; 2007 Q15 R-; 2006 Q8 R9; 2005 Q1 R-;
2004 Q2 R3; 2003 Q17 R-; 2002 Q13 R15; 2001 Q20 R-; 2000 Q18 R11
“Obviously, returning to Montreal will be an extremely proud and happy moment for me. My win there last year was one of those rare occasions when everything just came right – it’s still hard to believe that I was running in last place past half-distance and yet still managed to come through and take victory on the final lap. The memories of that win will always be with me.
“Montreal is always a race I look forward to anyway. The city has such a great vibe to it, the people are friendly and extremely welcoming and the fans are incredibly passionate. It’s the perfect place to go racing and you can feel the excitement building literally as soon as you step off the plane.
“This weekend, though, it’s going to be important to get a handle on the car in qualifying. At the last two races, Q2 hasn’t gone my way, so, no matter what pace you have in the race, you’re still compromised on Sunday afternoon, particularly as the pack is so tightly bunched at the moment. My aim for the weekend will be to have a stronger qualifying performance and to be able to build on that in the race.”
Car 4: Lewis Hamilton
Age 27 (January 7 1985)
2012 points 63 (4th)
Canada record 2011 Q5 R-; 2010 Q1 R1; 2008 Q1 R-; 2007 Q1 R1
“This is turning into a unique season – one where every race provides new challenges and different outcomes. Even though everything hasn’t gone right for us, I’m confident that myself and the team are doing everything we can to ensure we’re in the best possible position to challenge for victory each and every weekend.
“I know that the results we all want will soon come to us: I am doing everything I can to extract every tenth from the car, and I know that the guys at the track and the men and women back at MTC are doing everything they can to give me a car that’s worthy of winning. We are still very much in the hunt for this world championship and I’m looking forward to bringing that fight to Montreal, which is one of my favourite races of the season.
“The contrasts between Monaco and Montreal couldn’t be greater. Although they’re both races that take place in the middle of a city, the circuits are very different and each has its own unique personality.
“The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a fantastic track – it’s super-fast in places, which means it requires finesse and precision, but you can also end up racing wheel-to-wheel with people at 200mph too, which is an incredible sensation.
“However, you still want a car with decent low-speed traction – all those long drags are usually preceded by tight hairpins, so it’s important that you can get the power down efficiently if you’re to pull a good laptime together. With KERS Hybrid and DRS in the mix, it should be an exciting grand prix – although, interestingly, we’re reverting to a shorter, single-DRS zone after the double-zone last year.
“On paper, I think our car will be well-suited to the combination: we showed in Spain that we’re very good in high-speed corners, but we were also quick in the final sector, which is slower and more technical. Of course, it’s still difficult to accurately predict the outcome, so I’ll be focusing on another clean weekend where I can score more consistent world championship points.”
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“I think everybody in Formula 1 enjoys the Canadian Grand Prix – the city plays a wonderful host to the event, and the circuit is fast, challenging and unforgiving. Throw in the commonly unpredictable Quebecois weather and you have the perfect combination for an excitable and unpredictable weekend.
“Of course, we were the major benefactors of that very unpredictability last year, and nobody at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes can think of Montreal without remembering Jenson’s magnificent victory there last year.
“But, let’s not forget that Lewis, too, has many happy memories of this circuit – he won his first grand prix there in 2007, has had pole position three times and dominated the event in 2010. Canada has been a happy hunting ground for the team in recent years and we’re fired up to make it a hat-trick next weekend.
“Finally, the Canadian Grand Prix will mark the 300th grand prix with our partners Mobil 1, Mercedes-Benz and Enkei. Mobil 1 kicked off their relationship with McLaren at the 1995 Brazilian Grand Prix – and, since then, we’ve never looked back. It’s been an incredibly productive partnership – on both a technical and personal level. During that time together, we’ve achieved quite a lot: three drivers’ championships, one constructors’ championship, 72 grand prix victories, 70 pole positions, 81 fastest laps and 2525 points.
“Let’s hope we can add to those figures in Montreal next weekend.”
McLaren has won the Canadian Grand Prix in each of the last four decades. Here’s how the team defined 12 days in the history of the race:
1. September 22 1968
Denny Hulme leads home Bruce McLaren to give McLaren an historic one-two finish at Mont Tremblant. Hulme inherits the lead when Ferrari driver Chris Amon, who leads for 72 of the 90 laps, retires with gearbox failure.
2. September 23 1973
Peter Revson’s second and final victory in Formula 1. He qualifies second at Mosport in his M23, but drops to seventh in the early laps. A lucky break with the Safety Car catapults him into the lead, ahead of Emerson Fittipaldi’s Lotus.
3. September 22 1974
Emerson Fittipaldi qualifies on pole position at Mosport, but Niki Lauda jumps ahead at the start. The Ferrari driver leads until he crashes out on lap 70 after driving over debris, handing the lead back to Emmo. As a result, the world championship fight goes down to the last race at Watkins Glen – where it’s settled in Emerson’s favour.
4. October 3 1976
James Hunt takes pole position at Mosport in dominant style, but Ronnie Peterson beats him into Turn One at the start. On lap nine, James pulls off a robust overtaking manoeuvre to take a lead he never loses. With championship rival Niki Lauda finishing only eighth, James closes the gap in the drivers’ standings to eight points.
5. June 12 1988
McLaren’s fifth win from the opening five races of ’88. Ayrton Senna takes pole position at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, but he’s beaten off the line by team-mate Alain Prost. Ayrton passes Alain for the lead on lap 19 and the pair proceeds to lap everyone up to Thierry Boutsen in third place.
6. June 10 1990
Ayrton Senna’s second victory in Montreal. He dominates from lights to flag, beating compatriot Nelson Piquet by 10s. Any chance of a McLaren one-two is ruined at the start when team-mate Gerhard Berger, starting second, jumps the start and is given a one-minute penalty.
7. June 14 1992
In a season dominated by Williams, Ayrton Senna takes an unexpected pole position and leads the race until he’s forced to retire with a gearbox problem. Gerhard Berger inherits the lead, coming home 12s ahead of Michael Schumacher.
8. June 13 1999
Michael Schumacher grabs pole from Mika Hakkinen by less than 0.1s and the pair race into the distance at the start. Mika pressures Michael into a mistake, which see the Ferrari star hit the “Wall of Champions” on the outside of the final turn. Mika takes the win from Giancarlo Fisichella’s Benetton.
9. June 12 2005
Juan Pablo Montoya leads the race until Jenson Button crashes into the Wall of Champions, bringing out the Safety Car. Montoya loses out in the subsequent pitstops, leaving team-mate Kimi Raikkonen to pick up the baton and take the fight to Michael Schumacher. Kimi beats Michael by 1.1s.
10. June 10 2007
The race is remembered for two things: Lewis Hamilton’s first victory in Formula One and Robert Kubica’s terrifying accident on the approach to the Hairpin. Lewis dominates the race from pole position; Robert emerges unscathed from the wreck of his car.
11. June 13 2010
McLaren’s second one-two in Canada, Lewis Hamilton leading home team-mate Jenson Button. They are separated by 2.2s at the flag, ahead of Fernando Alonso in third place.
12. June 12 2011
The longest race in F1 history, and one of the most eventful. Jenson Button wins in 4hrs4mins, after the race is suspended for two hours due to heavy rain. Jenson makes 34 on-track passes and eventually seals victory with a last lap pass Sebastian Vettel. “This has to be one of my greatest victories,” he said.
|Pit straight length:||400m|
|Race length:||70 laps/305km|
|Number of corners:||14|
|Longest section at full throttle:||14s/900m|
|Full throttle:||66% of lap|
|Gearchanges per lap:||60|
|Average ambient temperature:||19°C|
|Average track temperature:||25°C|
|Weather:||Mostly sunny, cool|
|Circuit type:||Semi-permanent street circuit|
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Sunday June 10
“A master of his craft at the peak of his form”
300th grand prix together for McLaren, Mobil 1, Mercedes-Benz and Enkei
177th victory for McLaren
73rd victory for McLaren, Mobil 1, Mercedes-Benz and Enkei
29th victory for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
18th victory for Lewis Hamilton
Fastest lap 1m17.020s (+1.268s, 6th)
Pitstops Two: laps 17 and 50 [Opt-Pri-Opt]
Points 88 (1st)
“It’s a phenomenal sensation to come back to Canada and put on a performance like we did today. This win feels as good as my first Formula 1 victory back in 2007. In fact I’d say it’s one of the best races I’ve had for a very long time.
“I feel fantastic, to be honest. Just brilliant. I could hardly believe it when I was driving across the line. That emotion inside, it’s like an explosion. It’s really just incredible. It’s what I love best about motor racing.
“I always knew today’s race was going to be incredibly tough. So, in the first stint, I was really pleased that I could keep up with Seb [Vettel], and at that point I already felt sure I’d be involved the fight for victory. Our strategy was always for a two-stopper: we knew it was going to be the fastest way to get to the finish. I looked after my tyres really well today, and I used them knowing we were going to two-stop.
“I had 100 per cent control and understanding of what was happening in the race – it was one of our best races for that. I told my race engineer, Andy [Latham], to keep the information flowing, and he was fantastic today. I always knew where I was losing or gaining time, which really helped.
“Every win is different. Every victory is new, special and fresh. And to see the team all wearing their Vodafone ‘rocket red’ victory T-shirts, knowing the guys back at the factory are doing the same, makes everything feel even more special.
“Finally, the support from the fans has been amazing – this victory is dedicated to them. I’m so grateful to be here today.”
Fastest lap 1m17.843s (+2.091s, 16th)
Pitstops Two: laps 15, 33 and 52 [Pri-Opt-Opt-Pri]
Points 45 (8th)
“First of all, big congratulations to Lewis and to the whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team – they found a lot of speed today and Lewis did a great job.
“For me, though, I didn’t find the speed today, and I couldn’t seem to look after the tyres.
“Generally, the past few Grand Prix weekends haven’t been great for me. But every time you make changes to the car, you’re hopeful that it’s going to go well and give you an improvement, so hopefully we’ll be able to solve it sooner rather than later.”
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“A hat-trick of Canadian Grand Prix wins for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes [2010, 2011, 2012]! Five wins out of the past seven Canadian Grands Prix for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes [2005, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012]! The 13th Canadian Grand Prix win in our history – more than any other team! A third Canadian Grand Prix win for Lewis [2007, 2010, 2012]! And Lewis is now leading the Drivers’ World Championship! And all of that in the historic 300th Grand Prix of the McLaren-Mobil1-Mercedes-Enkei partnership!
“So, yes, today was a very good day. Lewis drove brilliantly. He shadowed Seb for the first dozen-or-so laps, then closed right up on him as the first pitstop window approached. When Seb took on fresh rubber on lap 16, Lewis really got the hammer down, made his stop on lap 17, and rejoined the race just ahead of Seb. Then, when Fernando [Alonso] made his pitstop, and re-emerged just ahead of Lewis, he [Lewis] showed his innate racer’s instinct by passing him [Fernando] in short order and then steadily pulling away. It was a majestic performance by a master of his craft at the peak of his form.
“For Jenson, by contrast, today was another day on which we, his team, failed to provide him with the tools with which to do the brilliant job we all know he’s capable of, and which he did so superbly here last year. He lost track time on Friday through no fault of his own, was unable to qualify as well as he would have done had he not lost that track time, and may have been further troubled today by a suspension set-up, different from Lewis’s, that left him with excessive rear tyre wear. We’ll have to check that out.
“Lastly, I want to pay tribute to Akebono, whose brake callipers coped brilliantly on the circuit that by some margin poses the biggest braking challenge of the Formula 1 year.”