F1 returns to North America with Canadian GP

THE SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 8:34 PM ET

Montreal, Canada - After a one-year hiatus, Formula One returns to North America for the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The 4.361-kilometer (2.709-mile), 14-turn road course is regarded as one of the most unusual tracks on the F1 calendar.

The long straightaways on the Montreal circuit make for high-speed racing, but its low-speed chicanes create wear and tear on the braking system.

F1 last competed in Montreal in 2008, but the Canadian GP was dropped from last year's calendar after F1's governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), and race organizers could not reach an agreement. The event was reinstated for the 2010 schedule.

Robert Kubica, the first Polish driver to compete in F1, recorded his maiden grand prix win in the Canadian GP two years ago. Kubica drove for BMW Sauber at the time. He is now with Renault, as he sits sixth in the world championship standings with 67 points.

"I'm glad that after a year's break we are returning to Montreal," Kubica said. "I enjoy driving there, and I like the characteristics of the track. It's kind of a mix between a high and low-speed track because there are big braking zones and some long straights where top speed is important. We haven't been to a track with these characteristics yet, so we will have to wait and see how all the teams perform there."

Kubica finished second in the March 28 Australian Grand Prix and third in the May 16 Monaco Grand Prix.

Last week, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button gave McLaren a 1-2 finish in Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix, while Red Bull teammates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel lost an opportunity to win the race after they crashed 18 laps from the finish.

Webber, the pole sitter, held the lead after 40 laps were completed, but Vettel chased him down, as the two ran side-by-side for the top position. When Vettel tried to overtake Webber, the two collided and spun around. That allowed Hamilton to claim the lead and Button to move into second for good.

Heading to Montreal, Webber holds the championship lead with 93 points accumulated, compared to 88 points for Button, the defending F1 champion, and 84 for Hamilton, the 2008 titleholder.

Hamilton's first F1 win came in the Canadian GP during his sensational rookie season in 2007.

"I won my first Grand Prix in Montreal, and 2007 seems like such a long time ago, but I still have some absolutely fantastic memories of that weekend -- the pole position, the crazy number of safety cars, the uncertainty in the final laps, and then, at last, crossing the line, which just was a massive feeling of relief and amazement at the same time," Hamilton said.

Hamilton won the United States Grand Prix one week later at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. F1 has not competed in the U.S. since the'07 Indy race, but the racing circuit will return to America in 2012, with the USGP being held in Austin, TX.


Videos

Photos