Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, Montreal
Laid out on the perimeter roads of the artificial island of Notre Dame, the 4.361 km Montreal track, usually delivers exciting racing. To go quickly here, drivers need to brush the walls and once in a while, someone takes it too far. That has led to the barrier on the outside of the final turn being nicknamed the “wall of champions,” as it claimed many champions who got it wrong. The Safety Car nearly always has to put in an appearance here, because of a virtual lack of run off areas. Brakes get a really hard time at this track. Good traction is vital, while the very long straight that runs from the hairpin to the final chicane before the line, highlights engine performance. Scuderia Ferrari has won 11 times in Canada, ten of those in Montreal. The first of those was unforgettable, going to local hero Gilles Villeneuve. This was also the venue for Jean Alesi’s one and only win, on his 31st birthday in 1995. Schumacher was first past the flag six times.
The way one tackles this corner determines top speed down the following straight, so it’s a key point to attack, but also to defend, given that those behind can use the DRS. Good traction is the important element here.
The final chicane
The least that can happen if you get it wrong here is that you are slow onto the straight, but the worst case scenario sees you end up in the famous Champions’ Wall, bringing out the Safety Car, which is a regular visitor here.