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Canada preview quotes - Toro Rosso, Williams, Mercedes & more

06 Jun 2016

The seventh round of the season takes the teams and drivers to Montreal for one of the most popular races on the calendar. Those involved look ahead to the action…

Toro Rosso

Daniil Kvyat

"The frustration from last week's race in Monaco is now forgotten and has made me even more determined to show what I'm capable of doing. Since I got back home all my focus has been on this weeks' Canadian Grand Prix. 

"I'd describe the Montreal track as one where you are always bouncing on the different kerbs – they are very high and there are quite a few of them! This is because there are many tricky chicanes during a lap of this circuit – for example, Turns 3 and 5, 6 and 7, 8 and 9 or 13 and 14 – the famous 'Wall of Champions!’. Another challenging part of the track is Turn 10, where you need to make sure you brake strongly. This is a slow hairpin and also a very good spot for overtaking. It's necessary to get a good exit here to then drive down the track's longest straight, where it's possible to benefit of a good slipstream when driving behind another car.

"I always enjoy driving here and I look forward to having a good weekend, making the most out of the package we have. Myself and the team remain positive about it and we will surely work hard together to achieve the best possible result!"

Carlos Sainz

"The start/finish straight in Canada is always very slippery. We also run with very low downforce, which means you're always going to struggle when braking and fight the steering wheel quite a lot. Turns 1 and 2 are one of the many chicanes that we have at this track, with the second corner being very, very slow. It's difficult to put the power down here – there's always some oversteer.

"At Turns 3 and 4 there's the first wall of the track, which you try and get as close as possible to. Doing this gives you lap time and the closer you get to the wall, the more confidence you show. At every chicane, especially at Turns 6 and 7, kerb riding and positioning the car well in order to get a good line is also key. Doing this means you are then also quick on the straights following these corners. Turns 8 and 9 form another chicane. It might look like a very simple circuit because you have the same kind of corners all the time, but each of these chicanes has different tricks and you need to take each one of them in a diverse way.

"Turn 10 is one of the tightest corners of the calendar, as well as one of the slowest. This is certainly an overtaking point! The exit from this hairpin is also very important, because you continue onto one of the fastest straights of the year – we reach nearly 340kph, which is not bad at all! "Finally, you get to what in my opinion is the best corner of the track, Turn 14, also known as the 'Wall of Champions'. It's a very tight chicane where you need to ride the kerbs again… And if you touch one of them in the wrong way, it sends you directly into the wall, so that's why it's so important to get this right! All in all, this is a fun circuit that on paper might seem an easy one, but driving it is always a challenge and it definitely produces good races – I want more points, we can do it… so let's go for it!!"


Felipe Massa

"The Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is a track where you need to have good speed because you have that long straight. I would say in the last two years we've done really well in Canada. I think we've had a competitive car so I really hope we can repeat that performance again this year.  It's a place I really enjoy going. It's a really nice town where everyone goes completely crazy for Formula One. I think this is due to the history of Canadian drivers, like Gilles Villeneuve and Jacques Villeneuve. I hope we can have a competitive race there and maybe even fight for the podium."

Valtteri Bottas

"Canada is one of my favourite races. The track is pretty fast and it's really enjoyable to drive. We finished on the podium there last year so I have some very good memories. Montreal is such a nice city and such a nice place. As a big ice hockey fan, it's a big ice hockey city as well. I'm really looking forward to going back there and seeing all the Canadian fans. Hopefully we can have a strong result."

Pat Symonds, chief technical officer

"Being a fast track with long straights, the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve certainly favours the characteristics of the Williams car, as shown by our strong performances last year, so this should mark a return to form for the team. The circuit itself has very low-average speed corners, with one quick corner at turn five being easily flat and therefore not counting for much these days. Good top speed, stable braking with the track being hard on brakes, good change of direction for the multiple chicanes and adequate traction are key things required here. It's also the second race in a row that we see the new ultrasoft tyre, but even with this we expect most cars to be on a one-stop strategy. We have a number of new aerodynamic and chassis parts to continue pushing our development of the FW38."


Lewis Hamilton

“I still can’t quite believe I’ve got my 44th Formula One win. It’s taken so much hard work from so many people throughout my career to reach this point - way too many to name - and it’s a very special landmark for me and my family. I have to say how grateful I am to my mechanics for sticking at it and sticking with me after what’s not been an easy start this year. It felt great to be back on the top step after a tough run and hopefully it was a big confidence boost for them too, because they’ve been doing a great job all season. There’s a long way to go yet, though. We’ve seen from these opening six races that anything’s possible and these swings inevitably go both ways. We are the greatest team - but we have more pressure from our rivals than ever before, so it’s important we keep pulling together and refining any weak areas. I’ve proven that I’m just as strong as I’ve ever been and I will be for the rest of the year, so I’m looking forward to the next chapter. Montreal has always been a good track for me, so hopefully I’m able to shine like I did the first time I went there in that great city atmosphere.”

Nico Rosberg

“I expected and prepared myself for some difficult races after the awesome start to the season. This is where experience helps me. In the last Grand Prix I hopefully got all of my bad luck out of the way in one race, so onwards and upwards again from now! I’m looking forward to heading over to Boston for a sponsor event first and then on to Canada. It’s an awesome track and I'm sure our car will be great there too. It will be interesting to see where Red Bull are this time. We are hoping to get a little bit ahead of them again, so let’s see.”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“Monaco brought us mixed emotions. For Lewis, it was just what the doctor ordered. For Nico, a whole lot of bad luck in one race made it a tough afternoon. But the main thing we took away was the very real threat from Red Bull. It took a bold strategy, a big push from Lewis and an even bigger slice of luck with Daniel’s slow pit stop to get us that win. I’ve said this many times before - but we have no breathing space in this championship. Maintaining any advantage is a constant battle - and the pressure is only getting bigger. This unpredictable season has been great for the sport and shows that Formula One is alive and well. But, for us as a team, there is clearly work to do. There remains room for improvement in our reliability - but the push for more performance has become increasingly important too. We saw the 50th Formula One win for the Silver Arrows in Monte Carlo, which is a great achievement. But if we are to build the long-term success that puts Mercedes-Benz up there with the iconic names of this sport, we will need to push harder than ever.”

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

“We came away from Monaco pleased to have won there for a fourth consecutive year - but not entirely satisfied after a tough afternoon for Nico. We’ve put a lot of effort into understanding why that was and have some good insights to take forwards into future races. Montreal is an unusual circuit, with plenty of low-speed corners linked by a good number of straights. It’s a track that is therefore very demanding of both the power unit and the brakes. It’s also a tricky circuit in terms of tyres. We’ll see the second appearance of the ultrasoft compound this weekend - which should mean a notable drop in qualifying times relative to 2015. However, the track is far more aggressive on tyres than Monaco, so understanding how best to use the ultrasoft for the race will be one of the main challenges. We’re all looking forward to being back in Canada. It’s always a great event - one where the city really comes alive – and it’s good to see so many North American Formula One fans. Lewis has a fantastic record at this circuit, we saw arguably one of Nico’s greatest drives there in 2014 and the team secured a fantastic one-two in 2015, so we should be set for an exciting weekend.”


Fernando Alonso

“Canada is a great circuit - very demanding and requires absolute concentration at all times. It goes from very slow-speed corners to high-speed corners really quickly, which means a lot of pressure is put on the brakes and power units. It’s a pretty tough circuit on the cars generally, so reliability will be the first thing we need to focus on, to make sure there are no gremlins or technical issues that could jeopardise our performance.

“Monaco was a positive result for us; to get both cars home in the points and to keep the chasing pack behind us was very satisfying, but we know there’s still a lot of work to do. We’re definitely making progress, but until we’re fighting at the front, we still need to keep pushing and constantly developing. Montreal is a completely different challenge to Monaco, so I hope we can quickly adapt our package to this circuit and maintain our recent form, but it will certainly be a tricky and unpredictable weekend.

“I really like spending time in Canada and going back out to North America. Although it falls within the ‘European’ season, the atmosphere does feel quite European - the people are friendly, the food is great and it’s a melting pot of different cultures.

“There’s really strong competition emerging at the front of the grid, as teams are getting stronger and pushing their development. It’s a really tight pack in the midfield, and a different team seems to have the advantage at each circuit, so it’ll be a tough battle against our nearest rivals both in qualifying and the race. The teams need to work hard to set up the cars to meet the demands of the circuit, and a lot can happen during the course of the Grand Prix, so let’s see what we can do.”

Jenson Button

“Although this is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar, and very power-hungry, one of the strengths of our chassis is stability under heavy braking, so we shouldn’t be fearful of going to a circuit like this and finding ourselves on the back foot. Our development rate is steep and there’s huge work going on behind the scenes to constantly improve the performance of our whole package, so I’m excited to see how we perform in Canada, given how different the circuit’s characteristics are compared to Monaco.

“It’s no secret that I absolutely love this circuit, and it’s the scene of one of my best race wins, in 2011 - definitely up there among my favourites. It’s a real racer’s circuit: tough on cars, tough on drivers, and usually produces stunning racing, whatever the weather. Leaving the final corner unscathed after passing the ‘Wall of Champions’ always feels like an achievement - let’s hope we can achieve that 70 times on Sunday!

“Canada is definitely considered a classic on the F1 calendar. It’s a fantastic city and I love going there every year. The whole city offers an incredible welcome and the buzz is like no other place - the atmosphere is definitely unique to Montreal. It’s always a mightily unpredictable race - the weather conditions, the high walls, the narrow track, the slippery surfaces - it really sorts the men from the boys.

“Although Monaco is an adopted home for me, the race weekend there is always a massive whirlwind, so heading to Canada will be a completely different feeling, and I’m looking forward to the relaxed atmosphere there. We had good reliability in Monaco, and both Fernando and I managed to keep it on the black stuff in some pretty crazy conditions, so I’m hoping the weather will throw up a few surprises and we can get stuck in on track.”

Eric Boullier, racing director

“Monaco for us was a bag of mixed fortunes. A double-points finish was an encouraging boost for the team and a reward in some way for all the hard work going on behind the scenes in Woking, Milton Keynes and Sakura - but it’s no secret that until we are back at the front, we cannot be satisfied. We had anticipated a stronger performance on the twisty, slower-speed, tricky streets of Monaco, but nevertheless we’ve learned a lot about our car and cannot be too unhappy given the incredibly difficult conditions on race day, which our two world champions coped with so well.

“And now we turn our attention to Montreal, scene of 13 victories for McLaren, and some very memorable races. Like Monaco, it’s a gem of an event and holds a justifiable reputation for creating great racing on its formidable asphalt. That’s where the similarities end, as its demands present a unique set of challenges for our engineers, mechanics and ultimately, drivers.

“On paper, this power-hungry, demanding circuit is not among those that would play to the strengths of our car, but such is our rate of development that we are aiming to continue the momentum we’ve built over the last couple of races, and firmly push for more valuable points. It won’t be easy, and reliability will be key, first and foremost, but our objective is to put on the best show we can for the incredibly enthusiastic Quebecois fans, and put our package to the test at the historic Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.”

Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer

“The Canadian Grand Prix is always exciting, with its great atmosphere, enthusiastic fans and unpredictable racing. Honda Canada has been a big supporter of this event for a very long time, so we always feel at home there.

“The lush greens and the blue waters around the circuit are beautiful, yet the track there is unforgiving, with its power-oriented nature, stop and start corners, abrasive surface and long straights.

“It’s a very different animal to Monaco, so it will be a challenging weekend for the team, but we will keep our heads down and focus on what we can do to bring out the best in our package.”

Force India

Sergio Perez

“Montreal is one of my favourite circuits: I was on the podium there in 2012; I had one of my best races in 2014 and I feel positive ahead of this year’s race. It’s an old school track and, while the layout is much faster than Monaco, it shares some of its characteristics: it’s a circuit that rewards bravery and punishes mistakes, a place where the driver can make a difference.

“In the past there have been some unpredictable races in Canada and you always have to keep an eye on the weather. I think we can be quick there and the changes we’ve made to the car recently have made a big difference. I have a good feeling with the car; it’s giving me confidence to really push and that’s very important for a track like Montreal.”

Nico Hulkenberg

“The week in Montreal is always one of the best of the year. You can see how much Canada loves Formula One because the whole city embraces the race and the locals give us a very warm welcome. There’s a huge buzz around town and a lot of events that create a special atmosphere.

“I really enjoy driving in Montreal. It’s a challenging track - you need to attack the kerbs and get really close to the walls. There is also a big emphasis on braking performance and traction out of the low-speed corners. The tyre choices are at the softer end of the range, so there will be some aggressive strategies, but these tyres worked well for us in Monaco. It’s hard to overtake there, but the final chicane is definitely the best opportunity.

“Monaco was a frustrating weekend for me. Despite scoring a very good sixth place, we missed a big opportunity to be even higher up. The car felt great all week and we really found the sweet spot. I think we can carry this performance into Canada and be just as competitive. It’s almost a street track and you need to really lean on the car to get the lap time.”

Vijay Mallya, team principal

“The Monaco performance means we come to Canada full of confidence. The 23 points we claimed in Monaco lifted us to fifth place in the championship. I’ve been saying all season that our luck needs to change and I hope that Monaco represents a turning point. We now have some momentum and I believe we can push on and keep racking up the points in the races to come. Montreal should play to our strengths and I’m feeling optimistic that we can get both cars well inside the top ten in qualifying and the race.”


Paul Hembery, motorsport director

“In Canada there’s the potential for some quite mixed weather conditions, as we also saw in Monaco, so this could make it a very complex race as has often been the case in the past. The compounds that we have nominated mean that there is plenty of scope for strategy, on a circuit where it’s definitely possible to overtake on the track as well. The ultrasoft made its mark when it first appeared in Monaco but Canada is a very different type of circuit with more demands on tyres. This could lead to a number of different tactics coming into play, as evidenced from the tyre choices made by each team prior to the race.”


Romain Grosjean

“[The Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is] a city circuit, but very different from Monaco. There are a few things we can bring forward, but not much.

“Hopefully, we don’t have to manage the brakes too much, which is normally a good thing for a driver. For the set-up, you want a stable car for the braking. You also want the confidence to be able to brake late and to not have any instability or locking up on the entry phase into a corner.

“I like the whole circuit. I’ve always loved it and really enjoy racing there. It’s always a great feeling.

“[My second-place finish in Montreal in 2012] was a great race. I started P7. I had a one-stop strategy while everyone else was on a two-stop strategy. Initially, I thought I would finish fifth or sixth as I was stuck behind the Mercedes of (Nico) Rosberg. I couldn’t overtake. Then, everyone pitted. The ones who didn’t were really struggling with grip, so I could overtake them. I didn’t quite have the pace to chase Lewis (Hamilton) and take the win.”

Esteban Gutierrez

“Montreal is a pretty low-downforce track. It’s very smooth and there are many, many long straights. It’s usually a challenge to make the tyres work, and I think that’s going to be the key point of the whole weekend.

“[In terms of braking] it’s very similar to Monza, with a lot of long straights and low downforce. It’s important to have a good car mechanically. Hopefully, our car is well adapted to the circuit.

“I like all the chicanes because you can use a lot of curbs, which it makes it very exciting. I’m really looking forward to getting there and driving the track. It’s always great to be back in Montreal.

“You come into the first corner with a lot of speed. Then you get into Turn 2, which goes around and has a very difficult exit with some bumps. You arrive into the first chicane, where you can use a lot of kerbs. Then you have a high-speed corner that is flat out, and you arrive into the next corner under braking, using a little bit of the track’s banking and the kerb before exiting onto the following straight. It’s a very long exit. After that, there’s a medium-length straight that brings you to a hard-braking zone. It’s a very challenging entry because you tend to put a lot of speed in, which makes the exit difficult. There’s a wall there too, so it can get pretty exciting. Then you come down to the hairpin, where it’s very big braking, very tricky on the entry. It’s a difficult corner, especially when you have low grip. It’s important to properly prepare the exit so you can take advantage of the longest straight on the track. That straight brings you to the last chicane, which has the Wall of Champions. It’s a very quick chicane and very interesting, because if you catch as much as you can on the kerbs, absorbing a lot with the steering wheel and trying to make the corner as straight as possible, you gain a lot of lap time.”

Guenther Steiner, team principal

“Pirelli is bringing the same tyres - the ultrasoft, supersoft and soft. We’re only using the ultrasoft and soft. It’s a challenge to find the perfect working ranges for these tyres. We’ve never had the ultrasoft in Canada. It just debuted in the last race at Monaco. We need to see how that tyre works, specifically, in Canada.

“We only tested the ultrasofts once before making the decision to use them in Canada, and that was in Barcelona. We will see in Canada if we made the right decision. We know more about the ultrasofts now after having used them in Monaco. We just need to do our best to make them work as best as possible.

“[To make the most of the brakes in Montreal] the biggest thing is the confidence of the driver in the brakes. More confidence means more speed. They need to be confident that the brakes always operate the same, at the same point, at the same time. That is the most important thing. The team can monitor the wear with telemetry, so if we get in danger we can actually tell the driver over the radio that they’re having a problem.”


Kevin Magnussen

“[Montreal is] a cool circuit with a semi-street track vibe to it. It’s quite challenging in its nature with some rapid chicanes and big braking zones. Overall it’s a quite enjoyable circuit to drive and it usually offers a good race.

“It’s a more power sensitive track than Monaco so the latest power unit should have more effect there. Hopefully we have more time to get the set-up dialled-in and make use of the upgrades for the car. If we have a good weekend certainly we want to be fighting for points.”

Jolyon Palmer

“I was [in Montreal] last year and I realised what a really cool city it is. It’s also one which genuinely embraces Formula 1 coming to town so can’t wait to return. The track itself looks great with good overtaking opportunities. There has been good racing there in the past so it’s exciting to be headed for my first race there.

“I will get the B spec power unit for the first time. It looked like it made a good difference in Monaco and Canada is a more power-hungry circuit so if it was a positive step in Monaco it should certainly help our cause in Montreal.

 “The new engine mapping certainly looks to have been beneficial and you need good traction in out of the lower speed corners in Canada. It’s got more power too so everything is good in that regard!

“We should be a good chunk more competitive. We’ll do everything we can to maximise the car around the track and we’ll be pushing all the way as usual!”

Fred Vasseur, Racing Director

“What can we expect in Montreal? Hopefully a better weekend than we had in Monaco! We approach each race on its own merits so everyone has reset after Monaco and we’ll be looking for the best results possible. Both drivers will have the B specification power plant and we’ll have some new parts to try on the cars too.”

Nick Chester, technical director

“Canada is another challenging track. It has a street course feel and it’s another place where we see a lot of track evolution as it’s not used for many race activities other than the Grand Prix. The circuit surface is low grip and it can be difficult to get the tyres into their working range there. Montréal has also presented us with quite a mix of weather conditions over the years, so there is plenty to keep us on our toes.

“[The B specification power unit is] a good step forward and we have it in both cars in Montréal. In Monaco we were able to benefit primarily from the improved driveability whereas Montréal is more a power track thanks to its straights following slow corners. This means we should really see the power unit stretch its legs.

“What’s needed from the car in Montréal? It’s mainly about braking and traction. There’s a lot of heavy braking so you need to be on top of cooling for the brakes to ensure they don’t overheat and need a setup which has good stability under braking to give the driver confidence. There are some reasonable kerbs at the chicanes so ride over those is also important. You also need strong traction out of the slow corners and good grunt to propel the car down the straights.”

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo

“I love Canada, I love Montreal, the city’s great and I really enjoy the circuit. I like the people a lot, it’s a very friendly city – it’s easily one of my top five races. It’s a place where you can really muscle the car around the chicanes which is fun. I love the race – my first win in Canada will always be special so I’m keen to get back there. Unfortunately last year was probably my worst race of the year but I hope it will be a lot better this year.

“The city is a lot like Melbourne in a way; there are plenty of things to do, there’s a lot of culture, it’s very European, and the people are super friendly. I also love the local cuisine. The Poutine is so good! I had it on the Sunday night after the race last year. Lobster Poutine actually, which was gourmet and it was so damn good.

Max Verstappen

“The track is quite special as it has a lot of long straights and then slow corners with low grip so we have to find the right balance with our setup. I like the braking area heading into the last hairpin where there are a lot of people watching who always cheer us on. You’re very close to the walls so there is a special feeling to drive there.

“Hopefully with the new engine update it should be a positive race for us. We’ll try and aim for a podium.”