Montreal Track Guide | Sector 1 | F1 2021
The man-made Notre Dame Island in the middle of the St Lawrence River in Montreal, Canada was created for the 1967 Expo 67 World's Fair. Some clever people then decided to make a race track out of the island’s roads. Circuit Ile Notre-Dame first hosted the race in 1978. Fittingly, Gilles Villeneuve claimed his maiden win here, and the track was later renamed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve after him.
Sector 1 at Montreal is a technical start to the lap that can highlight weaknesses in even the best drivers. The braking zone for Turns 1 and 2 is a challenge, as is traction on the exit of Turn 2. Additionally, the chicane of Turns 3 and 4 is high-speed and requires precision or you will find yourself in the wall.
Turn 1: Entry
After rounding the small kink past the start line, get the car lined up straight on the right of the track and brake just before the end of the concrete part highlighted. Be careful not to catch the grass as there is no kerb to protect it.
Turn in after the service road on the right and trailbrake to the apex, downshifting from 8th to 4th for turn-in and then 3rd for the apex.
Turn 1: Apex
Take the apex of Turn 1 in 3rd gear and straddle it so that the car's right tyres remain on the tarmac.
Trailbrake into the apex with a constant steering angle and continue until just past the kerb before using a quick burst of throttle in the track centre on the transition between T1 and T2. Downshift to 2nd gear just after and dab the brakes for T2.
Turn 2: Apex (Virage Senna)
After a quick burst of throttle between Turn 1 and 2, dab the brakes at the last minute from the middle of the circuit to open up the entry a little.
Hug the inside for a while and aim to get as close to the line at the apex without touching the kerb to avoid unsettling the car. Begin to build throttle mid-corner and get the car straightened earlier for more drive out.
Downshift into 2nd or even 1st gear for the apex and then short-shift through to 4th for traction on exit.
Turn 2: Exit (Virage Senna)
The exit of Turn 2 is all about trying to get the power down whilst still steering. The best strategy is to rotate the car early on the exit so that you can minimise the steering lock later on for maximum power and drive out.
Increase the throttle at a constant rate and short-shift up through to 4th gear for traction on exit and then up to 5th gear just before the bridge. Aim to stay off the exit kerb for more grip and get to full throttle once you get there.
Turn 3: Entry
Stay to the left heading towards Turn 3 in 6th gear, brake halfway between the 100m and 50m boards and modulate the pedal towards the apex. Shift down once to 5th gear.
Get the car right up to the left white line on entry but be careful not to catch the unprotected grass and turn in at the 50m board.
Turn 3: Apex
Trailbrake into the apex and fully mount the kerb of Turn 3, staying within the track limits. Shift into 5th gear and stay in 5th for the rest of the chicane.
Hold a constant steering angle over the kerb and try to open up the run into T4 for a flat-out exit from the chicane. Pick up the throttle gently just before the kerb and build it throughout the chicane.
Turn 4: Apex
The line through Turn 4 starts with a good exit out of Turn 3. Try not to run too wide out of T3 to avoid compromising the run through. You want to be able to get close to full throttle through the apex of Turn 4 if you can, only lifting slightly if necessary.
Straddle the apex kerb, stay in 5th gear and even get the left tyres over the grass on the inside as they are unweighted and the line is more important.
Use as little steering as possible to straight-line the chicane and stay in 5th gear for stability until the wall on exit.
Turn 4: Exit
Continue the momentum out of Turn 4 by freeing up the car and letting it run smoothly right out towards the wall - the closer the better!
Pin the throttle at 100% before or shortly after the apex kerb and continue towards T5. Shift up to 6th gear as you get to the clipping point at the wall.
As you exit the corner, slowly drift over to the left side to glance the kerb entering T5.
Turn 5 is a flat-out right-hander. Approach by slightly glancing the left entry kerb and follow the white line on the inside for the majority of the corner. Shift up to 7th gear on turn-in and hold it there until braking for T6.
Let the car run out closer towards the centre of the circuit on the exit before bringing it back to the right under braking for T6.