MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: 2016 Canadian GP

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The Canadian Grand Prix has established itself as one of Formula 1’s most popular races over the years for both fans and members of the paddock alike.

Lewis Hamilton is a particular fan of the event, having won at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve four times during his F1 career.

The Briton arrives in Montreal hopeful of adding a fifth on Sunday and continuing from where he left off last time out in Monaco as he claimed his first win of the 2016 season.

The result not only ended a poor run of form, but it also almost halved the championship lead Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg had forged in the opening five races of the season.

However, with Rosberg up for a fight and the Red Bull duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen on the rise, Hamilton is unlikely to have it all his own way this weekend.

Here are our predictions for the weekend ahead. Let us know in the comments section how you see the Canadian Grand Prix playing out.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race Winner: Lewis Hamilton. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is arguably where we see Lewis Hamilton at his very best. His wet-dry masterclass in Monaco was a joy to behold, and with rain on the horizon in Montreal, he could excel in the conditions once again. I can’t look past him after such a big breakthrough last time out. The momentum has swung in the title race.

Surprise Finish: Romain Grosjean. Grosjean usually goes well in Canada, having finished second here back in 2012 with Lotus. Such a lofty result may be out of the question with Haas this weekend, but a return to the points will be the aim.

Most to Prove: Max Verstappen. Following his victory in Spain, Verstappen came back down to earth with a bump last time out in Monaco. The Dutchman crashed three times across the course of the weekend, putting an end to what looked set to be a productive weekend. Now armed with the upgraded Renault power unit, he’s got a point to prove in Canada.

Additional Storyline: Groundhogs. F1’s furry friends often make an appearance in Montreal. Let’s see if the drivers can avoid them on-track this weekend.

Predict the Podium

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race Winner: Lewis Hamilton. Perhaps lucky to win in Monaco – OK, very lucky – Hamilton should be able to win on outright form at a track where he has four past victories. Keeps the momentum going.

Surprise Finish: Valtteri Bottas. Given how underwhelming the Finn has been in comparison to his teammate and on the whole this year at Williams, is due a podium or top-four result.

Most to Prove: Daniel Ricciardo. How, you ask, does the guy who probably could have won each of the last two GPs had it not been for strategy screw-ups by his team have the most to prove? Ricciardo famously got his first GP win in Canada a couple years ago and this could be a weekend for him to do it on outright pace since the Red Bull is there, in a more straightforward fight compared to the weather affected at Monaco. He’ll want to prove the team has done him wrong the last two races and get on top of his own.

Additional Storyline: Whither Ferrari? At a track where straight line speed is king, does Ferrari have it what it takes to match the Mercs and Red Bulls or will they fall further behind?

Predict the Podium

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes

Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field

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Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.

Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.

Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.

By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.

With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.

This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.

Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome during the inaugural season of 1974 on a 250, which was the premiere class at the time. Houston was one of three races held that year along with events at Daytona International Speedway and the Los Angeles Coliseum. All three venues return in 2023 with the first SuperMotocross championship finale returning to the famed LA Coliseum in September.

Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.

Two privateers have started the season on a high note.

Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.

Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.

In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

450s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

250s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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