A lap of Montreal with Hondas Alex Wurz 05 Jun 2008
Hondas reserve driver Alexander Wurz talks us through a lap of the Montreal's famous Circuit Gilles Villeneuve ahead of this weekends action
Montreal is a nice Grand Prix. It feels quite similar to Australia in that everyone likes going there and there is a great city nearby that offers good restaurants and a vibrant atmosphere. I made my F1 debut at this race in 1997, so I associate it with the moment when it all came together for me and I like going back to Canada as a result.
Coming straight after Monaco, the cars feel strange to drive in low-downforce trim. They are always sliding around and you have to get your head around the fact that you rarely find a good balance. Tyre graining is also a big issue.
You arrive at Turn One in sixth gear and it's one of those corners that invites you to brake too late. You want to use the left-hand kerb as much as possible and if you brake too late, the car becomes unstable and the kerb feels much worse than it actually is. This corner leads straight into a first-gear right-hander, which is very slippery early on in the weekend but improves as more rubber goes down.
Turns Three and Four make up another chicane and as the track improves you can jump the chicanes and be very aggressive. You run very close to the right-hand barrier at the exit, before positioning the car on the left in preparation for the flat-out right-hander.
The next chicane is quite bumpy under braking, but you can still brake very late and use the kerb on the left. You have to be careful not to unsettle the car because you need to be flat through the right-hander, which is followed by a long straight. Then you go under a bridge and you're into another chicane, which has only one turn-in point. It's very easy to miss the entry point here and every year we see drivers getting it wrong and going straight on.
Next comes the hairpin. It is second or third gear, depending on your gear ratios, and it's very important to have good traction at the exit because the longest straight on the lap follows. You're flat-out for 15 seconds, before stamping on the brakes for the final chicane. You try to brake later and later into here, but you have to be careful because things can go wrong very quickly. A small mistake and you'll be in the 'wall of champions' before you know it.
The two best overtaking points on the lap are into the hairpin and the last chicane, but it's not so easy due to the marbles off-line, especially late in the race.