SportPesa Racing Point Formula 1 team are ready to go in Montreal after a week break in the calendar. The team had a difficult outing in Monaco which saw Sergio Perez finish 13th and Lance Stroll 16th after a tumultuous race around the street circuit.
The drivers spoke ahead of this weekend's race in Canada as they look to pick up points around one of the fastest circuits on the calendar.
Stroll said: "Nothing beats your home race! I was born in Montreal and grew up there so it’s always a really special week. When I was a kid, the Canadian Grand Prix was always the race I went to with my Dad. I can remember being five or six years old and being there when Michael [Schumacher] was winning. He was a real hero of mine.
"The F1 race is a big deal for Montreal. You can feel the excitement and buzz in the city all week, and I really enjoy and feed off that atmosphere. Canadians love F1 and the race has become a tradition for the city. The whole weekend feels like a festival and I get huge support from the fans. Seeing the Canadian flags in the grandstands and knowing that the crowd is behind you feels very special."
"As a track it’s very technical. You need to be strong on the brakes and set the car up so that you can ride the kerbs and carry the speed through the chicanes. The first few corners are a special part of the lap for me because I would always watch the race from the turn one grandstand as a child. Turn one has always been quite bumpy and you can carry so much speed into this corner, but you have to make sure you get the car slowed down and hit the apex of turn two.
"I’d say the best overtaking opportunity is down the back straight approaching the final chicane – if you can get in the DRS you have a good chance to make a move. You have to respect the final chicane too because it can make or break your lap. There’s a lot of lap time to be found through there and there’s no room for error."
Perez said: "We’ve had a tough couple of races in Spain and Monaco, but I feel more positive about our chances in Canada. I can see how much effort is going on behind the scenes to bring performance to the car and I believe we are moving in a good direction. Montreal is a very unique track all about straights and high-speed chicanes, which I think will suit our car.
"The Montreal circuit has always been good to me. I had a podium there in 2012 and I really love the event. It’s not just Canadian fans because I always meet lots of Mexicans who have come to watch the race. I always smile when I see a Mexican flag in the stands.
"As a circuit, it looks simpler than it is. Getting together a clean lap is difficult and it’s easy to make small mistakes that really hurt your lap time. Everybody talks about the final chicane and the ‘Wall of Champions’ and I have to agree it’s the most exciting part of the lap. You arrive at top speed, jump on the brakes and have to be so precise. Even if you’ve had a perfect lap, you can lose it all in the final corner."
Team principal Otmar Sza“Canada is an important weekend for everybody in the team. It’s a home race for Lance so it’s going to be busy on and off the track. It’s always a fun week because the Canadian fans are some of the best in the world. The grandstands are full and the city gives us a really warm welcome every year.
"As a circuit it’s a very different challenge compared to the last two races. You need good top speed, stability under braking and a car that can attack the kerbs. I think we can be competitive there considering the strengths of our car and the priority is to pick up points to maintain our position in the championship."