Canada 7th Heaven for Schumi?
STILL STRUGGLING IN F1: Michael Schumacher's return to F1 has not been easy with the seven times champion still struggling during races and playing second fiddle to Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg.
Author: ALAN BALDWIN
Michael Schumacher's won seven Formula 1 World championships, seven Canadian Grands Prix - and has the number seven on his Mercedes. Does that mean something...?
If it all falls into place for him in Montreal on Sunday then the 43-year-old German could also find himself in Seventh Heaven as the unprecedented seventh different winner in seven races so far this season.
GRID PENALTY CURSE
He is, admittedly, a long shot, given that he has only two points to his credit and has not stood on the GP podium since he ended three years of retirement in 2010... but not as much as some might suspect. He showed a flash of his former brilliance in Monaco two weeks ago, his car is now a proven winner, and he looked on course for a podium place in Canada in 2011 before settling for fourth.
The former Ferrari great would have been on pole in Monaco had he not picked up a five-place grid penalty at the previous race in Spain, and that performance provided a timely boost.
"The race in Montreal is usually action-packed, as we saw in 2011. The characteristics of the circuit should suit us and we're counting on our car performing well there," Schumacher said. "A trip to Montreal is always worth it - let's hope we can make our trip this year especially worthwhile."
Another qualifying performance like Monaco would hand Schumacher another seven - his seventh Montreal pole - but the first step is to make sure the car is reliable. He's is a distant 18th in the Driver's points standings while Ferrari's Fernando Alonso leads on 76 with Red Bull's double champion Sebastian Vettel and Australian Mark Webber tied on 73.
His own team mate Nico Rosberg, a winner in China in April, has 59 points.
Mercedes motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug said in a preview for the race: "Michael has suffered several technical problems and our priority is to give him a problem-free weekend in Montreal. As his fastest qualifying time in Monaco demonstrated, Michael has the speed to compete at the front."
While the season has been one of the most unpredictable, Montreal has fame as a circuit that throws up surprises. The 2011 rain-hit race was the longest yet - the proceedings too more than four hours - and Schumacher has plenty of rivals with experience of winning there.
On paper, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton is one of the strongest prospects at a circuit that gave him his first victory in 2007. The Briton is a past master of Montreal: three poles from four visits to the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit and two wins. He has his eyes on McLaren's 150th pole - something the 2008 World champion was denied in Spain due to a fuel error.
"This is turning into a unique season," Hamilton said before heading across the Atlantic for what will be the first of two North American rounds; a new race is scheduled for Austin, Texas, in November.
"Even though everything hasn't gone right for us, I'm confident that myself and the team are doing everything we can to ensure we're in the best possible position to challenge for victory.
"I know the results we all want will soon come to us."
Hamilton's team mate Jenson Button took an epic win in Canada in 2011 after charging through from the back of the field after a re-start and is hungry to end a run of poor results.
Alonso and Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen, who could equally be the seventh different winner, have also triumphed on the island track in the St Lawrence Seaway.
Stay with Wheels24 for the Canadian Grand Prix weekend!