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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Preview: Canadian Grand Prix

Formula One returns to the scene of Lewis Hamilton’s maiden win, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, for the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend.

What a difference a year makes for Lewis Hamilton, the Briton comes into Canada this year leading the championship by three points, after storming through the streets of rain-soaked Monaco to take a fortunate victory two weeks ago.

A sixth-lap clouting of the barrier looked as if it might keep Hamilton out of the points, but a combination of good driving, strategy and luck delivered the win.

It was a different situation a year ago, with Hamilton arriving in Canada fresh from complaining his then teammate, double world champion Fernando Alonso, was getting preferential treatment at McLaren.

Hamilton went on to sweep both North American races to set the stage for his 2007 title challenge.

One driver who will be looking to put Monaco behind him is Kimi Raikkonen, the Ferrari driver having had a terrible race which ended with the Finn driving into the back of Adrian Sutil and losing his lead in the championship.

The track is also the site of Robert Kubica’s horrific accident last year. The Pole will be aiming to put that experience behind him and deliver points this time around as BMW Sauber tries to keep in touch with McLaren and Ferrari in the constructor’s championship.

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve always provides a good show. It is a tight track which serves as public roadway when not used for racing, and is situated in a park-like setting on an island.

Many a driver’s race has come to a bitter end with a visit to the Wall of Champions (Bienvenueau Québec!).

The race could prove to be another wet one, as thunderstorms are in the forecast in Montreal this weekend.

Practice kicks off tomorrow. Until then, satiate yourself with the transcript from Thursday's press conference.
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