Venue: Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve
Following a miserable run of results, it is rated a case of now or never for Charles Leclerc in our Canadian Grand Prix predictions.
The Ferrari driver has failed to finish two of the last three races and more blundering over tactics saw him drop from first to fourth in Monaco.
The 24-year-old has gone five outings without a win, since victory in Australia put him 46 points ahead of Max Verstappen in the title race.
With the defending champion having prevailed in four of those subsequent events, the gap is now 34 the other way.
Nobody can doubt that Ferrari still have the pace to challenge Red Bull if they can cure their reliability issues, though.
Leclerc has claimed pole position for four consecutive events in Miami, Barcelona, Monaco and Baku.
Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve features plenty of stop-start turns and chicanes, which should favour Ferrari over the straight-line speed of Red Bull, who have not won here since 2014.
Ferrari finished second and third at this venue when it was last used in 2019 and Leclerc is determined to get back on track this weekend.
“It’s time to go home and reset before Canada,” he declared. “We have to get on top of things and come back stronger there.”
How the Azerbaijan Grand Prix finished
1 Verstappen (Red Bull), 2 Perez (Red Bull), 3 Russell (Mercedes), 4 Hamilton (Mercedes), 5 Gasly (Alphatauri), 6 Vettel (Aston Martin), 7 Alonso (Alpine), 8 Ricciardo (McLaren), 9 Norris (McLaren), 10 Ocon (Alpine), 11 Bottas (Alfa Romeo), 12 Albon (Williams), 13 Tsunoda (Alphatauri), 14 Schumacher (Haas), 15 Latifi (Williams), 16 Stroll (Aston Martin), DNF Magnussen (Haas), Guanyu (Alfa Romeo), Leclerc (Ferrari), Sainz (Ferrari)
Teammate Carlos Sainz also suffered an early exit in Baku due to a hydraulics problem, his third DNF of the season.
However, the Spaniard has made the podium in four of the five races he has completed and 2.75 for a top-three placing here will feature in plenty of Canadian Grand Prix betting tips.
Red Bull can travel to Montreal in a relaxed mood following five straight race wins and an ultimately-comfortable one-two in Azerbaijan.
Team principal Christian Horner commented: “It’s a fantastic result for us on a track that never fails to deliver the unexpected.
“We managed to capitalise on the events within the race, with both drivers driving fantastically.
“We asked them to race each other cleanly and fairly and that’s what they did. They’re doing a great job for the team.”
It has to be noted that Sergio Perez was given an instruction of “no fighting” when Verstappen was poised to overtake him.
George Russell has been a model of consistency for Mercedes this year, securing a third podium finish in Baku and taking his form figures to 4-5-3-4-5-3-5-3.
Lewis Hamilton has not beaten his teammate since the opening race and was complaining of back problems after coming home fourth last weekend.
Past Canadian Grand Prix winners
2019 Hamilton (Mercedes), Vettel, Leclerc
2018 Vettel (Ferrari), Bottas, Verstappen
2017 Hamilton (Mercedes), Bottas, Ricciardo
2016 Hamilton (Mercedes), Vettel, Bottas
2015 Hamilton (Mercedes), Rosberg, Bottas
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