Max Verstappen took pole position as he attempts to take a double-milestone victory in the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix, while Fernando Alonso and Mercedes line up behind to stop him.
A win would draw him level with the great Ayrton Senna on 41 grand prix victories, and would also mark Red Bull‘s 100th trip to the top step of a Formula 1 podium.
Meanwhile, Hamilton could take a record-breaking eighth victory at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and Alonso is looking to end a win drought of over a decade.
All are renowned as three of the greatest wet-weather drivers in the history of F1 while the grid behind is also a who’s-who of the best rainmasters on the current grid, product of a sodden qualifying.
George Russell, Nico Hulkenberg, Esteban Ocon, Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have all produced memorable performances in the wet while Oscar Piastri and Alex Albon also perform well in the rain, but will they get chance to show it?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it. The most optimistic mainstream forecast gives a 15% chance of rain, so after every completed session has produced rain so far in Montreal, that streak will almost certainly come to an end in the grand prix.
Other forecasts range from 10% to Canada‘s governmental site which describes the chance as ‘nil’. Unless the grand prix is delayed to 4am on Monday morning, at which time there’s a ‘low’ chance of rain.
Even before the rain arrived in FP2, drivers were struggling with gusty winds blowing across the track, helped by the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve‘s position sat on an island with around a kilometre of the St Lawrence River to the west of the track.
However, race time will only see winds of around 10kph coming from a northeasterly direction, so shouldn’t affect things too much.
Safety car forecast
Not something including in the Met Office’s services, we’ve already seen several red flags over the weekend and there’s been safety cars in 14 races at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve including in 2022.
The tight walls and very limited runoff room means crashes are common and when they happen, the wrecked car usually stays on track making the recovery difficult.
There could be a split strategy between Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso versus the Mercedes at the top of the grid, so if a safety car comes out between Laps 20-40 then it might make the race very interesting.