Columns Motorsport Trentham Sleaves

2014 Canadian GP preview

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Experienced F1 journalist TRENTHAM SLEAVES looks forward to this weekend’s race.

trenthamsleaves1You’re probably not good friends with world champion Jacques Villeneuve but if you were, and I am, you would recall with great fondness his unique accent and his marvellous sense of humour. I remember once in Belgium, for example, he told me to leave him alone and then actually punched me in the stomach! Hilarious! I was reminded of my pal the 1997 World Champ as I arrived here in Montreal because of course the circuit is named after his equally legendary father, Gilles, who I’m sure I would have enjoyed knowing and becoming friends with if he was still around. Sadly, I did not have that pleasure but I feel like I knew him well through his former team mate and my good friend Jody Scheckter. I remember Jody once said to me, ‘I hope you’re going to pay for that ice cream you little prick!’ Wonderful banter!

I had time to reflect on the wonderful Villeneuve legacy only last night as one of F1’s most prestigious sponsors organized a VIP party at a very exclusive restaurant in the city. I was unable to attend myself due a problem with receiving an invitation but instead gratefully took the opportunity to dine alone at the infamous Mimmo’s restaurant, a legendary motorsport watering hole in this town. I didn’t have the meatballs. Those within F1 will know what I’m talking about!

All eyes are of course on this weekend’s race and in particular the increasingly difficult relationship between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Earlier this week I got to spend some time with Lewis who I have known for many years of course. He seemed relaxed and unfussed, even taking time to lark about by pretending he did not recognise me and asking if I was a competition winner before abruptly walking out of the Mercedes hospitality suite!

Can the boy from Stevenage win the race this Sunday? Well I wouldn’t bet against his team mate Nico Rosberg and nor could you completely discount Daniel Ricciardo or Sebastian Vettel or Fernando Alonso or one of the Force Indias or perhaps even a Sauber. Whatever happens, rest assured I will be watching from the paddock. That’s because I’m here and you’re not.