The Mercedes AMG boys can say they’ve made peace after their rivalry escalated in Monaco – for now, anyway – but the intensity undoubtedly still burns between both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to stay ahead of the other one as we head into the first of two North American Grands Prix this season.
For Hamilton, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal couldn’t be a better place to come to after Monaco as he seeks to re-assume the throne from Rosberg, who recaptured the lead in the 2014 World Championship with his Monaco victory.
Hamilton took his first career victory at Montreal in the at-times chaotic 2007 Canadian Grand Prix, and added two further ones for McLaren in 2010 and 2012. He finished third here last year for Mercedes.
Rosberg’s record at Canada, by contrast, has not achieved anywhere near the same heights.
He failed to score in Canada in his three starts here for Williams and has come fifth once (2013) and sixth twice (2010 and 2012) since joining the Mercedes factory squad.
So a podium for the German here, and you’d have to expect it’s coming given the Mercedes’ outright pace advantage this year, would be his first at this circuit.
“Montreal is one of my favorite venues,” Rosberg said in the team’s advance release. “It’s a beautiful but also crazy city where there is always a lot happening: particularly in the evenings… it’s a great place to celebrate a good result, shall we say! That’s what I’ll be aiming for again this weekend.”
We’ll see if his results match his expectations. A podium would be nice, but he’ll have to go through his teammate – per usual – if he wants to stay atop the heap at the end of the weekend.
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.