Mercedes preparing for the demands of Montreal

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Mercedes might already be poised to win the 2014 constructors’ championship in Formula 1, but the team is refusing to lift its foot off the gas just yet, especially in the wake of Valtteri Bottas’ problem in Monaco.

The Williams driver suffered from an engine failure towards the end of the race, causing some concerns for the supplier, Mercedes. The works team co-chief, Paddy Lowe, explained how the it is now investigating just what caused this issue ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix next weekend.

“We now head to Canada, which is another unusual circuit but in the opposite vein to Monte Carlo,” Lowe explained. “It’s very much a power circuit and we’re looking forward to seeing how the Mercedes-Benz Hybrid package performs around this type of track layout.

“Endurance will also be an important factor given the high demands placed on the components, so this weekend will provide a comprehensive test of the Power Unit.

“There were some concerns after Monaco following a retirement for Valtteri Bottas but the team at Brixworth have been working extremely hard to understand that problem and ensure that it is contained across every engine. We are confident that this will be the case.”

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has traditionally excelled around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, winning the race on three occasions. As a result, Lowe expects the Briton to be up for a fight to win against teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg.

“In Montreal, we have a circuit at which Lewis has traditionally excelled and, with both him and Nico on top of their game, we’re expecting them to push each other all the way through the weekend once more,” he said. “As always this will of course depend on the team providing a good package and equally strong reliability.

“We will be bringing a number of updates to the car, both on the power unit and aerodynamic side, so it should be an interesting weekend.”

Mercedes may have dominated proceedings so far this season, but Canada could be its biggest win yet.

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.