Team quotes pre-Canada: The Sebastian Bourdais edition

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The slow build-up to the Canadian Grand Prix — known around these parts as the GP on the Weekend F1Bers had Serious Obligations that Couldn’t be Broken — has begun. Here’s a first run of team quotes, with some thoughts.

Common theme? It’s good to have Canada back:

Pedro de la Rosa
2008 Qualifying – n/a, 2008 Race – n/a
“It is great to have the Canadian Grand Prix back on the calendar, as everybody always enjoyed it so much because of the atmosphere and the great racing there. I think the layout of the Montreal circuit is good for exciting races, and it is definitely one of the tracks where overtaking is easiest. It is a track where you run less downforce compared to previous races, and it is also one of the few tracks that has a distinctive personality. Last time I drove there was in 2005 in a Friday practice. One of the most enjoyable races for me was the 2001 Canadian Grand Prix. I was in the top five cars and fighting with Mika Hakkinen and some other guys – we had great fun. It is one of the hardest races for brakes and also a tough one for the engines. Physically for the drivers it is a rather easy one.”

You know you’re in a good spot when your fond memories of a race are a decade earlier. Look for a big finish from Mr. DLR.

Kamui Kobayashi
2008 Qualifying – n/a, 2008 Race – n/a
“I have only been in Montreal once, and this was for the 2008 Grand Prix, which I attended as a reserve driver for Toyota. Obviously back then I had time to enjoy the atmosphere. I have to say in a way it reminds me of Melbourne, with people partying and having fun over the Grand Prix weekend. I’m very much looking forward to racing in front of that crowd, and, after we had a reasonable race in Turkey, I really hope this is the beginning of a much stronger period in the championship for us. We have to keep working hard to make this happen.”

Kamui shows he has a head on his shoulders. Tenth place = “reasonable.” Although by “much stronger” I assume he means “we finish more often than not.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2008 Qualifying – 1st, 2008 Race – DNF
“I won my first Grand Prix in Montreal – 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 a massive feeling of relief and amazement at the same time. It was fantastic. Returning for 2010 is great, because it’s such a fast, demanding and unforgiving circuit – I love racing here. It’s an incredibly tough track – even if you can avoid the walls, which are really close and exciting at some places, the surface is very treacherous offline because of all the marbles. It’s a place where you don’t want to make even a tiny mistake. And the city is a fantastic place too. It’s great to be heading back to North America after two years away. The people in Montreal really embrace their race and there’s a lot of support for the drivers and the teams. I can’t wait to get back there.”

2008 race, a DNF? :)

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP
2008 Qualifying – 5th, 2008 Race – 10th
“Montreal is a great race venue and I always like to get there a few days early to get used to the time difference and have the chance to relax. The city really comes alive for the Grand Prix weekend and the atmosphere is fantastic so I’m pleased that we’re heading back there again this season. The circuit is technically challenging and fun to drive with the very long straight combined with short and slow corners. Our Mercedes-Benz engine will certainly be a big help on the main straight. We will have some further upgrades for the race weekend and the fact that the circuit characteristics are quite different from Istanbul Park makes me go there with high hopes. I think we might just put in a great result.”

So, is it shaping up to be a Mercedes engine-powered podium?

Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso
2008 Qualifying – n/a, 2008 Race – n/a
“I came here during the winter time, as part of a promotion that involved driving the Formula One car on ice. I didn’t see much of the track because it was under one metre of snow! However, the last time there was a Grand Prix here, I was the Red Bull reserve driver, so I got a feeling for how the weekend pans out and how the track changes over the practice days. I remember they had problems with the asphalt breaking up and I understand that much of it has now been resurfaced. It will be the first race of the year where we run the cars in low downforce trim and that’s something I’m looking forward to, as those conditions can make for a few surprises. It’s the sort of track where the driver can make a difference and therefore I really hope I can pick up some points. I enjoyed visiting the city back in January, when I attended an NHL Hockey game and generally I really like Montreal and the fact they speak French here is neat. Oh, and the food is really good too!”

Quick translation: I will enjoy my one and only Canadian Grand Prix.

Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso chief engineer
“I remember Kubica’s spectacular accident in 2007, partly because it opened the door for Sebastian Vettel to race in F1, at the following week’s United States Grand Prix; an important moment in our future history and that of the whole Red Bull family. I also have mixed feelings about the last time we were there in 2008. Both our drivers – Vettel and Sebastien Bourdais – had accidents on Saturday morning. We could not repair Vettel’s car which needed a new chassis and with Bourdais, we had to change the gearbox: not an ideal way to go into the rest of the weekend. Bourdais had to take a penalty therefore and started from 19th on the grid, while Vettel started from pit lane. But he managed to work his way up the order and eventually brought home one point for eighth place, which is Toro Rosso’s best Canadian result to date. It would be nice to better it this time.”

Ladies and gentlemen, your first and only 2010 mention of Sebastian Bourdais!

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