What to watch for: Canadian Grand Prix (NBC, Live Extra from 1pm ET)

© Getty Images

After kick-starting his season with victory in Monaco two weeks ago, Lewis Hamilton enters Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix hopeful of further cutting the gap to Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the Formula 1 drivers’ championship.

Hamilton’s record at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal is unmatched by his peers, having claimed four wins in the past, including his first back in 2007 with McLaren.

On Saturday, Hamilton charged to his fifth pole position in Montreal after edging out Rosberg by just 0.062 seconds in the final stage of qualifying.

Ever the perfectionist, Hamilton said after Q3 that his lap for pole wasn’t all that great, acting as an ominous warning to his rivals ahead of Sunday’s race – there is more pace to come.

Here are a few things to watch for in today’s Canadian Grand Prix, live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 1pm ET.

2016 Canadian Grand Prix – What to watch for

Can anyone stop Lewis?

Lewis Hamilton’s record in Montreal is the envy of the F1 field. Only Michael Schumacher has won more races than the Briton in Canada, making the task of beating him from pole position all the more difficult on Sunday.

Nico Rosberg will certainly hope to keep his teammate honest from P2 on the grid, but he must avoid rolling over for Hamilton as he did in Monaco two weeks ago. He cannot let that setback snowball into a title-deciding momentum swing, the like of which we saw in 2014 (Hungary).

Leaving Canada with the deficit to Rosberg standing at more than 20 points will go down as a failure for Hamilton. If the foundations for his fourth championship were laid in Monaco, it’s time for him to build on them in Montreal.

Ferrari stirs from its slumber

After showing so much promise in pre-season and being tipped to challenge Mercedes for both championships in 2016, Ferrari’s start to the year has been rather underwhelming.

Many updates have arrived and been hyped up only to fall short, making the arrival of a new turbo and some other minor changes in Canada a case of ‘wait and see’.

However, with Sebastian Vettel qualifying within two-tenths of a second of Hamilton at the front, it appears Ferrari have finally made the step that has been promised for much of the season.

With Red Bull now in a position to also fight for second in the constructors’ championship, Ferrari will want to make the most of its pace and the cooler temperatures in Canada and take home a good haul of points.

Come rain or shine

Monaco turned out to be a thriller largely thanks to the wet conditions under which the race started before the track dried – and we could be set for something similar in Montreal on Sunday.

Conditions this morning have been chilly, which will have an impact on drivers keeping their tires up to temperature if the rain does stave off.

A one stop race could even follow despite the presence of the ultra-soft tire, which has failed to live up to expectations so far.

Rain will be in the area throughout the race and could have an impact. Should the heavens open, expect Hamilton to come into his own along with the Red Bulls, particularly Daniel Ricciardo who was hugely impressive in Monaco before the pit blunder.

Haas hopes to impress, targets double points

The Canadian Grand Prix acts as the first opportunity for many American F1 fans to see the new Haas team racing in the flesh ahead of the United States Grand Prix in Austin this October.

Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez were both knocked out in Q2, yet the team is confident that it is in a position to get both cars up into the points for the first time.

“I think after the free practice sessions we knew that this is around where we would be positioned,” team principal Guenther Steiner said.

“We are very close to the teams in front of us, which is very encouraging. We’re making progress and feeling very stable.

“We’ve achieved what we wanted to achieve this weekend and we’re in a good position for tomorrow to get some points for both of the drivers.

“The weather is a little temperamental, but it will be the same for everyone. We’re going to take every opportunity we can and we’ll see what happens.”

More victims for the Wall of Champions?

It’s been a busy weekend for one of F1’s most notorious corners. The final chicane at Montreal often makes or breaks a lap – or, if you get it really wrong, a car.

Carlos Sainz Jr. became the latest driver to fall foul of the Wall of Champions during qualifying on Saturday when he tapped it with the rear of his Toro Rosso, sending the front spinning into it.

Jolyon Palmer, Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel also had close scrapes, the latter saying that he now had no need to touch it in the race on Sunday.

Cold temperatures, cold tires and a hint of desperation – that’s all it takes to add your name to the list of names to have shunted at the final corner in Montreal.

Pirelli strategy prediction

Track temperature will determine what the optimal strategy is for the 70-lap race. If it’s cold, we’re looking at a one-stopper: starting on super-soft and then moving to soft on lap 26 is theoretically the fastest way. If starting on ultra-soft (which all the top 10 will do), the strategy is extremely similar, with the change to soft coming one lap earlier, on lap 25.

2016 Canadian Grand Prix – Starting Grid

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
5. Max Verstappen Red Bull
6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
7. Valtteri Bottas Williams
8. Felipe Massa Williams
9. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
10. Fernando Alonso McLaren
11. Sergio Perez Force India
12. Jenson Button McLaren
13. Esteban Gutierrez Haas
14. Romain Grosjean Haas
15. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso
16. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
17. Jolyon Palmer Renault
18. Pascal Wehrlein Manor
19. Felipe Nasr Sauber
20. Rio Haryanto Manor
21. Marcus Ericsson Sauber
22. Kevin Magnussen Renault

The Canadian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 1pm ET on Sunday.

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston


Eli Tomac led all 23 laps of the Monster Energy Supercross race at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas and the results show he now has three wins in the season and is one shy of tying Ricky Carmichael’s 48 for third on the all-time list. With this win, he takes a seven point lead in the standings with 12 rounds remaining.

For Tomac at Houston, it was literally a tale of two races. Both his heat and the main started the same with Tomac grabbing the holeshot, but he was passed quickly by Chase Sexton in the heat. Tomac faded quickly after getting passed and was trailing by almost eight seconds at the checkered flag, which caused him to retreat to the hauler and reassess his lines. Without making any adjustments to the bike, Tomac entered the Main with a new attitude, and simply rode better.

Supercross Results Houston
Chase Sexton played it safe in the sand, but he was aggressive in every other turn. – Feld Motor Sports

Sexton had so great a lead in his heat that one could not even use the cliche that he left Tomac in his dust. By the time the rider with the No. 1 plate crossed the same real estate as the No. 23, the dust was well settled. Sexton had a modest start on the initial gate drop and ended Lap 1 in fourth. He worked his way past Aaron Plessinger on Lap 3 and got around Jason Anderson three laps later. Sexton was able to catch Tomac and pressure him, but he picked a safe, i.e. slow line through the sand section and could never get alongside his rival.

RESULTS: Click here for 450 Results; Click here for full 250 East Main Results

After starting the season with back-to-back seventh-place finishes, Anderson now has a pair of podiums. He won his heat and was easily one of the top three riders in the field, ultimately finishing behind the riders who finished 1-2 in the other preliminary. Anderson was subdued on the podium – happy he was there, but disappointed he has not yet found a way around the riders he is chasing in the points.

In the early stages of the race, Plessinger appeared to have a bike capable of winning. He pressured Tomac on the first two laps and was setting up the pass just as a red flag waved for an injury to Dylan Ferrandis that brought out a red flag. He lost second to Anderson on the restart and eventually slipped to fourth to score his first top-five of the season.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

Cooper Webb rounded out the top five. Along with Sexton, he is now one of just two riders with a sweep of that mark in 2023, but with Tomac’s three wins, he is beginning to slip in the points. Webb sits third in the standings, 12 points behind the leader.

Ken Roczen entered the race as the third rider with a sweep of the top five and progressively better results in the first three races of 2023. Had the pattern held, he would have finished at least second, but he struggled for most of the night, finishing fifth in his heat and eighth in the Main. There may have been extenuating circumstances, however. Ferrandis’ injury was suffered when he landed on the back of Roczen’s bike and potentially damaged the No. 94 Suzuki.

Click here for 450 Main results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points | Lap Chart

The 250 East division made their 2023 debut in Houston, but the name atop the board was familiar. Hunter Lawrence joined his brother Jett Lawrence as the early points’ leader in their respective divisions, but it didn’t come without a little anxiety.

Riding behind Supercross newbie Tom Vialle on the second lap, Lawrence was forced to take evasive action when the leader pitched his bike sideways to scrub speed over a jump. Lawrence veered left and landed off course, but he cleared the Tuff Blox and kept his bike straight. Lawrence made the pass for the lead on Lap 18 and never relinquished it.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

In his first attempt on a 250, Max Anstie ascended to the podium. – Feld Motor Sports

England’s Max Anstie made the move from 450s to 250s this year after scoring a best result of 11th on the big bike at Anaheim 2 last year. It didn’t take anytime at all to find the front for Anstie, who finished second in both his heat and main.

It has been a while since Jordon Smith stood on the podium: February 23, 2019 to be exact when he finished that well in Detroit. A series of injuries kept him off the bike for much of 2020 and 2021, but he’s proving to be a factor when he’s healthy.

Click here for 250 Main results | 250 East Rider Points | Combined Rider Points | Lap Chart

There was a lot of hype surrounding the debut of Haiden Deegan in the 250 class and he proved it was merited. He finished fourth in his heat and main. He was as far down as ninth at one point in the feature before slowly picking off riders on his way to the front.

Jeremy Martin finished fifth and now has a streak of three consecutive top-fives to his credit stretching back to last year. Unfortunately, his pair of strong runs in 2022 were interrupted by injury.

Making impressive debuts in the 250 division, Vialle recovered from a fall to finish seventh, Chance Hymas finished eighth, and Talon Hawkins just missed the top 10 with an 11th.

2023 Results

Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Eli Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s