MotorSportsTalk’s predictions: Canadian GP

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The Canadian Grand Prix usually throws up a surprise, with Jenson Button’s charge from last to first in 2011 remaining in the memory of many Formula One fans. Interestingly, wet weather is forecast for some of the sessions this weekend, making any predictions all the more difficult for the MotorSportsTalk team…

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race winner: Kimi Raikkonen. This is a hard race to pick as there hasn’t yet been a race on a primarily low-downforce setup track with this year’s Pirelli compounds. After a forgettable Monaco, this seems a good spot for the Iceman to bounce back.

Surprising finish: Paul di Resta. Force India’s been on a roll of late and maybe this is a weekend the team scores its first podium since 2009 at Spa. Di Resta’s driving well at the moment and seems primed to beat his teammate, Adrian Sutil, into the top three for the first time in his career.

Most to prove: Romain Grosjean. Erratic in Monaco, Grosjean needs a clean weekend to restore his confidence and keep Lotus in the game in the Constructor’s Championship. I doubt he’ll repeat his second place of a year ago, but a solid top-five would be a decent result.

 

Christopher Estrada (@estradawriting)

Race winner: Kimi Raikkonen. Montreal’s rough surface and numerous hard-braking corners go through tires at a considerable rate. That may give the edge to Raikkonen, who needs a strong result to bounce back after Monaco and keep up in the title race.

Surprising finish: Jenson Button. Don’t expect a 14th McLaren triumph in Canada, but results have been better for the team as of late (three Top-6 results in the last four races). Throw in Montreal’s notorious unpredictability and we could see Button turn in another positive sign of progress for the group.

Most to prove: Romain Grosjean. Can it be anybody else after he crashed three times during the weekend in Monte Carlo? He won’t be done any favors either by his 10-spot grid penalty this weekend for colliding with Daniel Ricciardo two weeks ago.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race winner: Sebastian Vettel. I’ll buck the trend. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is very hard on the tires, possibly ruling out Mercedes and giving Lotus the advantage. Last year though, tire management saw Perez and Grosjean make the podium, yet Hamilton won thanks to his raw pace. Same theory applies, only with Vettel driving.

Surprising finish: Sergio Perez. Checo’s performance in Monaco may have perturbed some, but he showed guts to make the moves he did. A repeat of his podium in 2012 may be a bit far off, yet somewhere in the top five or so would still be a good showing for McLaren.

Most to prove: Romain Grosjean. RoGro’s mistake in Monaco was silly, so he needs to prove to Lotus why they should keep a hold of him for the rest of the season. His performance in Canada last season was impressive, and, now more than ever, such a result is critical.

Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)

Race winner: Kimi Raikkonen. The tyre-nursing Lotuses were in great shape here last year. I think Raikkonen will bounce back from his Monaco disappointment with a win.

Surprising finish: Valtteri Bottas. Williams are edging their way forwards and I suspect Bottas rather than his accident-magnet team mate will be the first of them to crack the top ten this year.

Most to prove: Romain Grosjean. I picked him for this in Monaco as well and he duly gave his critics an armful of ammunition with a crash-strewn performance. We know he can do quick, but we need to know he can cut out the incidents.

Carb Day: Tony Kanaan is fastest in final practice for Sunday’s Indy 500

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Tony Kanaan wants to put legendary driver and team owner A.J. Foyt back into Victory Lane at the Indianapolis 500.

Kanaan took a big step toward achieving that goal in Friday’s final practice for Sunday’s 102nd running of the Greatest Spectacle In Racing.

Kanaan was fastest of the 33-driver field, with a best lap around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval at 227.791 mph, more than 2 mph faster than the second-fastest driver, Kanaan’s former teammate, Scott Dixon (225.684 mph).

Foyt won a record-tying four Indy 500’s as a driver. It’s been nearly 20 years since he also won as a team owner in 1999 with Kenny Brack behind the wheel.

Marco Andretti was third-fastest (225.200 mph), followed by Sebastien Bourdais (224.815), Charlie Kimball (224.712), 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato (224.083), Will Power (223.942), Danica Patrick (223.653), Spencer Pigot (223.584) and Ed Jones (223.556).

Other notable driver speeds included:

* Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th fastest (223.219 mph).

* Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden was 15th (223.186 mph).

* Helio Castroneves, hoping to earn a record-tying fourth 500 win, was 17th (222.913 mph).

* Graham Rahal was 21st (222.526).

* Former 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was 26th (221.916 mph), followed by rookie Robert Wickens (221.821 mph), carrying the mantle for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with James Hinchcliffe having failed to qualify for the race.

* The biggest surprise was 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who was 32nd fastest (221.374 mph).

We’ll have the full speed grid, as well as full driver quotes, shortly. Please check back soon.

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