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Pre-Montreal analysis - rain to ruin revised tyre trials? 07 Jun 2013

Pirelli tyres.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Preparations, Montreal, Canada, Thursday, 6 June 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Preparations, Montreal, Canada, Thursday, 6 June 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Montreal, Canada, Friday, 8 June 2012 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 in the Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Preparations, Montreal, Canada, Thursday, 6 June 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1, pole sitter Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 25 May 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday, 26 May 2013 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Preparations, Montreal, Canada, Thursday, 6 June 2013 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F138.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013

The likelihood of rain all day on Friday could well upset a few plans here in Montreal. Not least Pirelli’s desire to try its revised tyres ahead of Silverstone. But it might also throw teams such as Mercedes and McLaren a lifeline against favourites Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus.

“Tyre wear will definitely be one of the key aspects of the weekend,” Monaco race winner Nico Rosberg said on Thursday. “We have the supersofts again here, degradation is going to be an issue and possibly that’s going to be the decider as to who wins the race, who has the best control over that.

“So would I prefer a dry race or a wet one? I don’t know. Possibly even wet, yeah, because our car is really quick in the wet. I’ve been feeling very comfortable in the wet this year, maybe even wet, yeah.”

The German admitted that the euphoria of Monaco has worn off already.

“Unfortunately yes! It goes quite quick in this sport. Already a couple of days afterwards, the focus went completely to Montreal. I mean, first of all understanding what we did right and wrong in Monaco and then preparing for Montreal and trying to get the most out of this weekend.

“It’s a very different circuit in terms of demands; high speed and low grip as opposed to low speed and high grip, so it should be interesting to see if the car works here as well. That’s why we need to be a little bit careful coming here. It could be a little bit of a different situation. Some other teams might be stronger or whatever. But in general we’re going to be there or thereabouts.

“Qualifying has been very good. Our car has been the quickest in qualifying for quite some time now. So, as far as speed, I think we just have a very, very fast car. So I’m confident I’ll be quite far up the grid again here. It’s a different situation a little bit here: it’s lower downforce so that could mix things up a little bit, different track and everything so we’ll have to wait and see - but qualifying should be good.”

Interestingly, he has never been out-qualified by a team mate in his six visits here, and neither has Lewis Hamilton in his five, so Saturday will be another little intra-team battle for each of them.

“I didn’t know that,” Rosberg smiled. “It’s a track I like, definitely. I enjoy it. I’m confident coming here and qualifying is going to be exciting and important also, but a little bit less important than Monaco maybe because you can overtake, and with tyre degradation there’s going to be a lot happening in the race. But anyway, as in all tracks, even with this statistic or no statistics, it’s always a big challenge to try and be ahead of Lewis in qualifying because he’s obviously very, very quick.”

This time last year Keke Rosberg’s son was only 17 points behind in the title chase, now it’s 60, but he admitted that he feels more confident.

“Last year, at the same point, I was quite confident for the rest of the season, because we were really in a good string of results. I think there were six races where I got the most points, but looking back, of course, it didn’t go well. Now, again, I’m confident, because the car is very fast at the moment and it’s just a matter of getting a better grip on the tyres and trying to understand them better and better and we’re in that process at the moment. It’s really not easy but I think hopefully we’re making some progress. We will see again this weekend. This weekend is going to be a big challenge for that but if we can get a grip on that then it’s going to be a good next couple of races so I’m maybe more confident now than I was then.”

Meanwhile, as Sebastian Vettel launched another attack on Pirelli, the wily Fernando Alonso could not resist another little piece of gamesmanship as he predicted that the world champion is due for the sort of bad luck that has blighted his own efforts at times this season.

"We have two points more than last year and we were leading the championship last year before Canada," he said. "So in a way, we are doing better than last year. What is a little bit out at the moment are the points that Sebastian has scored in these six races.

"Unlucky races will come to everyone and will come to him as well. It came to Kimi Raikkonen in Monaco with the accident and we are only five points behind him. It will come to Sebastian and we need to maximise."

The Spaniard illustrated his point about Vettel’s luck by mentioning the brush with Hamilton at the start of the Spanish Grand Prix that the Red Bull driver got away with.

"Our team has been very unlucky with the situations we have faced this year. We saw many people touch in the first corner, last time it was Barcelona where Hamilton and Vettel touched at Turn 1 and nothing happened. But I touched the back of Vettel's car in Malaysia and we were out of the race, which was very unlucky. We were a bit unlucky in Bahrain too."

He is well aware that between now and the August break he needs some consistently strong performances to bring the gap to Vettel, and to surpass Raikkonen.

"In Monaco, we didn't score so many points so we need four or five consecutive races on the podium or close to the podium to recover some of the points we have missed. This weekend, we must score good points."

David Tremayne

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