Four-way Battle at North America Grands Prix

By: Anthony Fontanelle

The next two races of the current Formula One season will be held in North America and fans of the sport in Canada and the United States are in for a fierce four-way fight. The Canadian Grand Prix will be held on the tenth of this month at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The United States Grand Prix will be held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway seven days later.

Driver championship leaders and teammates Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton are looking to stretch the dominance being shown by Team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes at this year's Formula One season. Meanwhile, Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa are looking to move closer to the leaders and, at the same time, put their team closer to the top of the constructor's championship.

Canadian Formula One fans will not be seeing the Canadian driver and former Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve driving for BMW Sauber since Robert Kubica has taken his spot for this season on board the BMW oxygen sensor-equipped BMW Sauber Formula One car. Meanwhile, American Formula One fans will get the chance to see the country's sole Formula One driver Scott Speed competing in his country's soil.

Alonso is technically the leader in the driver's championship by virtue of his two wins this season. Alonso is fresh from winning the controversial Monaco Grand Prix and he said that he is taking advantage of whatever edge that victory gave him. "Obviously the team can still have doubts over who should be the first driver. We are on points, we have the same chances, but winning at Monaco was clearly important from this point of view, so I must take advantage of it now," Alonso said.

Meanwhile, Hamilton is looking for his first win of the season. While he has led the driver's championship, he has done it by a consistent level of performance. During the first race of the season, he finished third and since then has taken all second place finishes. He became the youngest Formula One driver to ever lead the driver's championship. After the controversial race in Monaco, Hamilton is focused on going back to racing and will try to take a win. "I can't wait to get back on track to focus on racing," Hamilton said.

"It has some very distinctive characteristics - low grip, long straights, hard braking. My initial laps will focus on understanding all these things and how best to drive the track," Hamilton added commenting about the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Ferrari's Massa though is aiming to spoil the party to McLaren. The Brazilian Formula One driver was the first driver this season to record two wins and he is right behind Alonso and Hamilton in the leader board. "I think the Ferrari will run as a very strong package in Canada," says Massa. "One difficulty is that the Montreal circuit is not used much so its grip level changes dramatically throughout the weekend," he added.

His teammate, the Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen, is fourth on the leader board after a string of poor performances. The former McLaren driver did well at the start of the season by posting a perfect performance at the Australian Grand Prix. He took the pole position on qualifying, recorded the fastest lap during the race and eventually won the opening race of the season.

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