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Lewis Hamilton’s bad back and Mick Schumacher’s need for a point – things to look out for in Canada

Can someone stop the runaway Red Bull train?

That is the big question en route to Montreal at the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend.

That and how bad Lewis Hamilton is back after a grueling race in Baku, Azerbaijan, last time.

Red Bull has won the last five races and looks set to walk away with the constructors' title

Red Bull has won the last five races and looks set to walk away with the constructors’ title

Many of the teams quickly find where they fall in the pack with their current cars and time is running out for certain drivers to make their mark.

With paddock speculation and championship points disappearing faster than a Ferrari engine in Baku, Montreal is another hugely important weekend on the calendar.

sports post picked seven things to watch out for before the Canadian Grand Prix…

Condition of Lewis’s back

This really feels like the million dollar (Canadian dollar) question on the way to Montreal.

It was a beautiful sight to see Hamilton fall ill and need help getting out of his car with his back reportedly in agony after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The British driver is dealing with more physical problems than ever before, with back pain caused by porpoises – a new phenomenon in which cars bounce off their suspensions at high speed – and he describes the race as the ‘most painful’ he has ever experienced.

Mercedes has taken the lead in taking the blame, with chief strategist James Vowles insisting they must ensure their drivers don’t continue to suffer while racing, believing it to be a mistake they cannot afford to make. to repeat.

“On this occasion we have taken the package and our drivers too far,” said Vowles, after confirming Hamilton will race in Montreal this weekend.

“We’re putting them in great discomfort and we just can’t do that again.”

All eyes are on Lewis Hamilton and his back condition after the race in Azerbaijan

All eyes are on Lewis Hamilton and his back condition after the race in Azerbaijan

Hamilton has the support of fellow driver Daniel Ricciardo, who has insisted the Briton is definitely not exaggerating the back pain he is feeling.

That is still not enough to convince Red Bull boss Christian Horner that this is all real pain, rather than an attempt to get the FIA ​​to change the regulations to fight porpoises.

Horner accused Hamilton of following orders from Mercedes as much as possible to do “b***h” about it.

On the eye test alone, it looks incredibly awkward with Hamilton bouncing around in his cockpit.

If that continues, it’s impossible not to see a scenario where he has to miss a race – and F1 just hopes it doesn’t come to that.

Hamilton (left) was in physical pain as he did his media duties after the Baku . race

Hamilton (left) was in physical pain as he did his media duties after the Baku . race

Ferrari engines get a different one Real inspection

Along with Ferrari, the powerplants of the Maranello-based team rest in the cars of both Haas and Alfa Romeo.

And so when Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo) and Kevin Magnussen (Haas) retired from both Ferrari drivers in Baku, an investigation was needed.

Carlos Sainz suffered a hydraulic problem but the others all appeared to have engine problems, especially Leclerc and Magnussen when smoke engulfed their cars.

Zhou’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished 11th outside the points and he continued to complain about his lack of ‘pure pace’, leading to questions about what exactly happened to this Ferrari powerplant?

With an engine blockage in F1, there are only a limited number of power components available and a lack of reliability will prove incredibly costly as the season progresses.

Ongoing problems will lead to grid penalties and the slippery slope of sanctions.

If Ferrari doesn’t get a grip on things in Montreal, this season could quickly turn into disaster.

Guanyu Zhou was one of four drivers to retire in Baku in a Ferrari-engined car

Guanyu Zhou was one of four drivers to retire in Baku in a Ferrari-engined car

Leclerc MUST keep in touch

When Charles Leclerc lifted his winner’s trophy on the podium of the Australian Grand Prix on race day three, he had won two of the first three races.

The plates looked good. Very good. Ferrari, as many felt in the pre-season, was not only a challenge, but also set the standard.

Only Red Bull has grown wiser about the Italian giant’s roads and both Ferrari and Leclerc have failed to find the answers to some thorny questions.

Leclerc heads to Canada after a Ferrari double retirement in Baku and with his title hopes, even at this stage, fading fast.

He is 34 points behind championship leader Verstappen and should Red Bull take six wins in a row in Montreal, Leclerc’s title aspirations will be on the brink.

“It’s the third disappointment in a row and it’s not easy,” said Leclerc Motorsport.com after his retirement in Azerbaijan.

“But yeah, overall I’m confident I’ll be as strong mentally as I was five races ago when I was leading the championship at the next race and the motivation is still there.”

The Monegask needs to put down a marker – let’s hope his bike holds up.

Charles Leclerc won two of the first three races, but has been off the grid since Australia

Charles Leclerc won two of the first three races, but has been off the grid since Australia

Can Perez fight Verstappen?

‘Do not fight!’ the radio call came from Sergio Perez as Verstappen whistled past him in Baku.

Verstappen took to the clean air against a slower Perez and the Dutchman extended his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship.

But with Perez second in the race, the real question is whether Red Bull will put team orders into play to ensure they don’t fight amongst themselves and open a door for a currently struggling Ferrari.

Verstappen has won five of the first eight races and clearly has the superior talent at the moment.

But Perez, who won the Monaco Grand Prix, has only missed the top two once in the last six races, making him a constant thorn in the side of his teammate.

Not since Mercedes pitted Nico Rosberg and Hamilton for supremacy in 2016 has a team navigated two title-worthy candidates.

Let’s hope they get to fight and race to race, may the best win!

It gets fascinating as Red Bull lets Max Verstappen (right) and Sergio Perez compete for the title

It gets fascinating as Red Bull lets Max Verstappen (right) and Sergio Perez compete for the title

Mick needs results – and fast

Sooner or later Mick Schumacher has to score a point.

The law of the averages suggests his barren run cannot go on forever, and yet we go to Canada to ask if he has been barred from a long-term future in F1.

Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, a mentor to Schumacher, believes that praise is never so great for the youngster as criticism. But honestly, Seb, there’s little to celebrate when it comes to the 23-year-old Haas driver.

“Criticism is also justified in this regard, but you can’t always just bash him,” Vettel told German outlet BILD.

“You should also tell me if something went well.”

The problem Schumacher faces is that he is no longer a rookie in a car that had absolutely no hope of winning a single point.

No. Now he’s in a car that has racked up 15 points this season – all through Kevin Magnussen.

And so Schumacher, who does not yet have a contract in F1 for 2023, is at the center of attention. Does he have what it takes?

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner is confident in his young breeding stallion, but he also knows he can’t wait forever to see progress.

Steiner said last month: “You don’t have forever in Formula 1. There is a line of drivers who want to drive there.

“I’m sure he knows no one is waiting for him. He is working very hard on it, but it is very difficult. This formula is not an easy matter.’

Since arriving in F1 last season, Mick Schumacher has yet to take a single point for Haas.  to note

Since arriving in F1 last season, Mick Schumacher has yet to take a single point for Haas. to note

Vital homecoming could determine Latifi’s F1 future

We are at that stage of the season where some drivers are shifting a little more comfortably into the cockpit, with interim changes in the driver line-up.

If Schumacher is one to hold back his ideas, the same can be said to Williams F1’s Nicholas Latifi.

This should be the standout weekend for Latifi, a proud Canadian, and yet the build-up has been overshadowed by rumors of his future in the sport.

‘I definitely need to improve my performance,’ admitted Latifi Le Journal de Montreal this week. “I’d be lying if I told you my place on the team is safe.

“I am aware that the situation has to change. I admit I haven’t had a good feeling in the car since Jeddah.’

Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri, who won the F2 championship last season, saw his name circled and questions are now surrounding whether Latifi will finish the season in the Williams seat, let alone for next season.

Whether or not his lucrative backing by Sofina Foods — his father’s company — is enough to wipe out the talk of whether or not, Latifi has to perform and he’ll hope there really isn’t a place like home.

There is growing speculation around Nicholas Latifi and the Canadian needs a big homecoming

There is growing speculation around Nicholas Latifi and the Canadian needs a big homecoming

And finally, it’s good to be back!

Amid the trials and tribulations of events on track, it’s easy to forget that this will be our first return to Montreal in a post-pandemic world.

The last time these 20 teams went to Canada, Hamilton was on top and Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari. How times change.

It will be a holiday for racing fans in the city, with a full-house expected at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.

The track normally makes for an intriguing race, not least because of the overtaking opportunities towards Turn 1.

Due to the layout of the course, penalties can be brutal for those who keep their eye off the ball and so three letters – ‘DNF’ – can cling to some of the checkered flags on Sunday.

Regardless of who ends up where, Canada’s F1 homecoming has been a long time coming.

Canadian fans haven't had the chance to see a Formula 1 race in Montreal since 2019

Canadian fans haven’t had the chance to see a Formula 1 race in Montreal since 2019

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