Anthony Davidson

Anthony Davidson

Expert Analyst


Despite still being professionally active in motor racing as a renowned driver, Anthony is already flourishing in his second working life as a F1 commentator and analyst.

It's a balancing act he has long been familiar with - Anthony's commentary debut in 2006 occurred four years after his first grand prix and two years before what proved to be his last race in the sport.

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Anthony Davidson's lap of Montreal

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is 4.3km long, has 14 corners, and a lap record held by Rubens Barrichello of 1:13.622. And now it's your turn to tackle a lap of the circuit with Sky Sports F1's Anthony Davidson as your guide...

By Anthony Davidson.   Last Updated: 21/06/12 4:25pm

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Technically, the first corner at Montreal is a right-hand kink along the main straight. Although it's so slight that it doesn't require any thought in the car, it does require a driver to hug the inside line in order to put the car on the outside of the track for Turn One.

But doing that can sometimes open up an overtaking opportunity into Turn One itself because the car behind will know that, so long as the car in front goes to the right-hand side to pick the best braking line for Turn One, he can get himself on the inside line for Turn One and in position for a pass if he misses the apex of the kink.

It's a risky place to overtake, however, and one that is only realistic if the car in front has made a mistake coming out of the previous corner - but we have seen it in the past!

Turn One itself is quite a tricky corner to slow the car down for, aiming for the left-hand kerb, which is fairly flat and can be used to open up the corner. It's important not to run out too wide, however, as the next corner is a tight right-hander. The trick is to sacrifice the exit out of Turn One for a faster line into Two, but both corners are very slow, which is why we sometimes see a bit of carnage at the start of races here with the cars going into Turn One on the inside then running wide and colliding into those cars on the outside line. It's very narrow, so the start of the race is essentially a filtering process and you'll see the cars coming out of Turn Two in single file.

Turn Two is quite frustrating on the exit because you'll still be turning whilst you are trying to accelerate, meaning that the rear of the car naturally becomes quite unstable. Having good traction is a very important part of the car set-up at this point of the lap.

After Two, the track begins to rise ahead of you on the approach to Turn Three and right at the crest of the hill is the corner itself. It's quite daunting because it is semi-blind at the turn-in and braking zone and you'll have picked up plenty of speed coming out of Two. It's also an important part of the lap to optimise and carry speed through because Turn Three leads immediately into Turn Four which then opens up on exit.

There are walls on either side of the track around this section of the circuit, however, and any mistake here will be very costly. To top it off, there's also quite a steep kerb on the inside of Turn Three and if you touch that it will throw the car offline - sometimes we will see a car which has made a mistake into Three then end up hitting the wall on the exit of Four because the driver hasn't been able to slow the car down in time.

A good, rapid change in direction is required between Three and Four, which will help maintain the speed through Four and ensure you don't have to fight the front-end on exit - which, if it happens, is quite scary, because there's a wall staring back at you coming out of Four. Some Monaco-style reactions are useful at this part of the track because getting close to the wall - without hitting it, of course! - is the aim of the game here.

The track then quickens up and Five is a flat-out right-hand corner - and even in qualifying, with the DRS active, a driver should be able to take this corner at full throttle. The line should be to hug the inside all the way around Five, keeping the car firmly to the right of the track, in order to open up Six.

There's a small bump coming into Six and, if you brake too late, the car can become unsettled at the rear. It's quite a tricky corner to get right under braking because it's very easy to run wide just after the apex - and if that happens in the race, you'll be out on the marbles and lose a heap of time.

A tight line, though, opens up Turn Seven, which is a far more important corner than Six because it leads on to the next straight. But a driver must still be careful here because there's a wall on the outside of Seven and we've seen in the past how running wide in Six can have the knock-on effect of putting a car either close to or into the wall.

Out of Seven, a KERS boost in qualifying will accelerate the cars into the long back straight, and as they head under the bridge they'll be looking out for the 100-metre board on the left-hand side of the track to gauge their braking zone for Turn Eight. They should also try to avoid the groundhogs at this bit of the track!

There's an interesting kerb on the inside of Turn Eight because although you can use the first half of it going through the corner, it then becomes way too harsh to ride. Judging precisely how much you can use is vital.

Again, you need a car capable of making a rapid change of direction here with minimum understeer on the exit because coming out of Turn Nine - which immediately follows Eight - the car will still be fully loaded - and with a wall on the outside of the track it's a very similar scenario to Three and Four. In the race, this is also a critically important part of the track because we're approaching one of the best overtaking opportunities on the circuit - the extremely tight Turn Ten hairpin.

The car always struggles for grip in Ten and it's very easy to lock-up either end of the car here whilst slowing down from seventh gear to a corner taken, at its apex, at about 45mph. Marbles will be an issue, too, and if you run wide here during the race you will be in big trouble - not least because if you do pick up some marbles you'll have to carry them all the way down into the braking zone for Eleven. Mistakes at the hairpin are almost guaranteed to end with you being overtaken.

However, if you do hook up the line correctly, the goal will be to hug the inside for quite a long way around the corner and, like at Two, to begin accelerating when you're still turning.

A big chunk of KERS will then be used up on the exit to send you on your way on to a very long straight, and you really feel the speed of the car along here because the walls are so close and even the sheer length of the straight is pretty impressive. Combined with the low downforce setting that all the cars will run at this track, you'll very soon reach maximum velocity.

The straight itself accounts for another good overtaking opportunity, although it's the chicane at the end which is probably the best chance of the entire lap. It's such a good opportunity that sometimes in a race you will actually save your move coming out of Turn Ten for this chicane instead.

Although there are marker-boards on the left-hand side of the track, this is still a very tricky braking zone. It's also a very risky and dangerous part of the lap because the Wall of Champions is waiting at the exit of Turn Fourteen and any problems that end there will generally have started into Thirteen.

On both corners, there's big kerbs on the inside and if you touch either of these too much then the car will be launched offline; even if you miss the one into Thirteen but still over-commit to the corner you'll surely run over the apex corner of Fourteen - and that's how the car is sent offline on the exit and into the wall.

Knowing whether you have gone over that limit just as you turn into Thirteen is the key. If you think fast enough, you can take avoiding action and cut the chicane - which is what we see so many cars do during a race. But there is hardly any room for error around this section of the track - just a tiny bit of green-painted tarmac at the exit of Fourteen - and although a driver will more often than not come out of Fourteen thinking 'damnit, I could have carried more speed', the time you do carry through more speed you'll end up scaring yourself about just how close you are to the wall.

And that brings us back onto the main straight and the end of the lap - quite an involved and fiddly lap and one which, in so many ways, demands a similar driving style to the one which has just been used in Monaco.


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