Canadian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton will be hoping for Groundhog Day

carlos sainz
Carlos Sainz has already fallen foul of Montreal's 'Wall of Champions'

What's the "best" grand prix of the year?

On the basis of "best" meaning a bit of everything, with no single aspect falling short, there is a strong case for it being Canada.

The track is no Suzuka or Spa, but the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve combines a spectacular location in one of North America's most vibrant, interesting cities with a layout that both challenges the drivers and never fails to provide drama.

The ambience is terrific, with grandstands packed full of enthusiastic fans, and a liveable city that contains something for everyone and seems to turn itself over to the race for four days.

And Montreal itself? A characterful blend of Europe and North America; grid pattern streets, high rises, brownstone townhouses fronted by stoops and a cobbled old town that dates right back to the early colonial times.

That's just for the evenings, though. The days are passed on the Ile Notre Dame, a man-made island built in the middle of the imposing St Lawrence Seaway for Expo '67, whose futuristic buildings still dot the 21st century parkland.

The track winds around the perimeter road, a challenging combination of long straights and chicanes, bounded by walls waiting to trap the unwary or wayward.

What appears nondescript at first glance is anything but; the combination weaves a special kind of magic, and rare is the Canadian Grand Prix without incident and drama.

The best grand prix of the year? Melbourne, Monaco, Spa, Monza, Singapore, Suzuka and lately Austin all have their appeal.

In the end, it comes down to personal choice. But Canada is right up there.

Andrew Benson, chief F1 writer

The track

F1

The one and only

Canada
Gilles Villeneuve won the inaugural race in Montreal in 1978. No Canadian has won it since

Schumacher out in front

F1
Michael Schumacher is far and away the most successful driver in Canada with seven wins. Lewis Hamilton won the race last year to move into second on the list with four

Groundhog day

Canadian Grand Prix
When it comes to local wildlife in Canada, look no further than the humble groundhog. The risk-loving rodents played 'chicken' with F1 cars in the 2008 and 2015 Canadian GPs. However, while those plucky groundhogs survived, one was not so fortunate in 2007 when it was struck by Anthony Davidson's Super Aguri

Bigger than the Super Bowl...?

Superbowl
...not quite, but in 2005 the Canadian GP was the third most-watched sporting event with 51 million viewers worldwide, behind the Super Bowl and the Champions League final

Best corner

Wall of Champions
The most famous feature of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is the 'Wall of Champions', where many a big name has crashed. Overshoot the exit of the final chicane, and you'll soon find yourself skipping over the kerb and into, well... the wall

Riding the crest of a wave

Lewis Hamilton

Tyre info

Canada tyre choice

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