Formula 1 returns to the streets of Montreal this weekend for the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix.
The track has been absent from the calendar since 2019 due to the global pandemic but remains popular among fans and has provided some classic moments throughout the years.
The 2022 Canadian Grand Prix comes at a pivotal time in the world championship with Max Verstappen holding a commanding lead at the top of the standings following an eventful weekend in Baku.
RealSport101 is on hand to provide a comprehensive preview ahead of Round 9 of the 2022 Formula 1 championship.
Last Time Out: Azerbaijan Grand Prix
As has so often been the case, Baku provided the stage for an eventful afternoon of Formula 1 action.
Championship leader Verstappen took the chequered flag to claim victory and extend his lead at the top of the standings, but it was title rival Charles Leclerc who grabbed the headlines. The Monegasque driver suffered an engine blow-out from the lead on Lap 20 as Ferrari suffered a devastating double-DNF.
Leclerc had taken his sixth pole position of the season on Saturday but lost the lead to the fast-starting Sergio Perez into turn 1 before taking back control with an early pit-stop gamble under VSC conditions. Carlos Sainz was running in P4 after the opening laps but a hydraulic issue forced the Spaniard to retire before teammate Leclerc suffered a similar fate.
The newly-dubbed 'Mr. Consistency' George Russell rounded off the podium after a strong but uneventful drive while Lewis Hamilton battled through the pain barrier to take P4. Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel both recorded season-best results in P5 and P6.
Track Focus: Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve
The Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, named after the legendary Canadian racer, is unlike most street circuits on the calendar with grass runoff areas at multiple points on the track.
Sector 1 contains a short run down to the Turn 1 left-hander which gives way to a sweeping 180-degree right-hander at Turn 2. Sector 2 contains the challenging Turn 8-9 complex with the walls quickly closing in on the run down to the tight Turn 10 hairpin.
Sector 3 is what gives the Canadian Grand Prix its reputation as one of the most exciting tracks on the F1 calendar. Drivers will be hoping to get their moves done early out of the Turn 10 hairpin as the long straight gives way to the Turn 13-14 chicane. Dubbed the 'Wall of Champions', Turn 14 has ended the races of some of F1's greatest drivers with Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve all crashing here in 1999.
Classic Race: 2011 Canadian Grand Prix
The 2011 Canadian Grand Prix is rightly considered one of the greatest races in modern F1 history. Heavy downpours caused chaos on the streets of Montreal as Jenson Button claimed one of the most remarkable F1 victories.
Championship leader Sebastian Vettel had secured pole position on Saturday with Ferrari claiming their best qualifying result of the season, taking P2 and P3 with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber in P4.
The race started with a rolling start after four laps under the safety car due to the heavy rain and immediately the chaos ensued as Lewis Hamilton understeered into Mark Webber heading into Turn 1, sending both drivers tumbling down the order.
Hamilton was in the wars again on Lap 8 following a collision with teammate Button on the pit straight, forcing his retirement after suffering damage to the rear left.
With the rain intensifying and cars aquaplaning into the hairpin, the safety car was brought out on Lap 19 and after six laps behind it, the race was red-flagged. A two-hour wait ensued as the conditions continued to worsen before the race was finally resumed.
Vettel had retained the race lead prior to the red flag, but a huge variation on strategy meant that the rest of the order was heavily shaken up with Kamui Kobayashi taking second place, followed by Massa, Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov.
Seven more laps under the safety car followed with Button sitting down in P10. The restart saw half of the field dip into the pits for intermediate tires but there was more trouble for Button, who collided with Alonso at the exit of Turn 3, triggering a safety car and forcing him in again.
When racing resumed, Button was running down in 21st place but had climbed to P14 before the end of Lap 44. The McLaren driver continued his charge through the field, capitalising on incidents from Massa, Kobayashi and Sutil to close in on the leading pack.
Vettel continued to lead with Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber battling for P2 but Lap 64 saw the order change yet again. Webber cut the chicane at Turn 14, allowing Button to move into P3 before the British driver cruised past seven-time world champion Schumacher to move into second with just over three laps to go.
Button continued to hunt down the leader but with just half a lap to go, Vettel looked to have things under control. All that was still to change though as the race leader ran wide at Turn 6, allowing Button to sneak through into the lead. The McLaren man took the chequered flag to seal one of F1's greatest victories in a marathon of a race that lasted over four hours.
The Championship Lowdown
Max Verstappen moved 21 points clear at the top of the Driver Standings following his impressive Baku City Circuit drive. Perez's consistency has seen the Mexican emerge as a real title challenger.
He travels to Montreal having leapfrogged Leclerc to take P2 in the standings. AlphaTauri's Gasly has moved into the top ten after taking ten points from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Red Bull's lead in the Constructor Standings looks more unassailable than ever following Ferrari's double-DNF. The Austrian team are now 80 points clear at the top of the standings with Mercedes closing up to within 38 points of Ferrari in P2.
Alpine recorded another double-points finish last weekend, moving them ahead of Alfa Romeo and into P5. Sebastian Vettel's heroic Baku efforts have seen Aston Martin move onto 15 points, level with Haas who once again failed to score points.
Storylines and Predictions
All eyes will be focused on the red of the Scuderia this weekend as Mattia Binotto hopes to avenge a disastrous Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The Canadian Grand Prix could represent a make-or-break weekend in Leclerc's season and with reports suggesting that Ferrari are planning on using the Turbocharger from his first engine of the season to avoid a grid penalty, reliability will be the word on everyone's tongues come Sunday.
Mercedes will be quietly dreaming of a late championship charge when their major upgrades go on the car at Silverstone in a couple of rounds' time. George Russell is still just 51 points off the Driver Standings lead thanks to his immense consistency and the young Briton will be competitive again here.
Lewis Hamilton has the joint-most Canadian Grand Prix victories in Formula 1 history and will be hoping to go well this weekend, just a week on from the 15th anniversary of his first-ever F1 race win at this very circuit.
Alpine's pace is expected to be strong again this weekend. The pink and blue car was a rocket ship in a straight line at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and with long straights plentiful at this track, Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon could be contenders at the head of the midfield.
Valtteri Bottas has questioned the pace of his Alfa Romeo after a frustrating afternoon in Baku last Sunday. The Finnish driver was miles off the pace of teammate Zhou Guanyu throughout the weekend and has admitted that he still doesn't understand why his Alfa Romeo dropped so much performance.
RealSport101's Canadian Grand Prix predictions
Pole Position: Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
Podium: P1: Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), P2: Max Verstappen (Red Bull), P3: Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
The schedule for this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix is listed below:
FP1: Friday, June 17th (7pm BST)
FP2: Friday, June 17th (10pm BST)
FP3: Saturday, June 18th (6pm BST)
Qualifying: Saturday, June 18th (9pm BST)
Race: Sunday, June 19th (7pm BST)
There will be no official support races this weekend with the Formula 2 and Formula 3 championships set to return at Silverstone.