Six races into the Formula 1 season, Lewis Hamilton is again the driver to beat for the championship.
Lewis Hamilton says he expects Mercedes to be stronger in the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix than they have been in the past — an ominous thought considering Mercedes and Hamilton personally have only missed out on victory once in the last four years.
During his career, Hamilton has only once failed to score a podium finish when completing the race distance at Montreal – 2018 with fifth place. His record as a whole in Canada stands at: raced 11, won six, podiums seven, retired three.
Winning on his first visit to Montreal in 2007, Hamilton now only trails Michael Schumacher, who has seven wins, in the all-time winners list at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Still though, the Mercedes driver says that he doesn’t feel he personally excels in Canada, more that his car, specifically during his time at McLaren, has given him the edge over his rivals.
“I don’t think I’ve really excelled here for a while to be honest,” said Hamilton. “When I was at McLaren it worked really well but I think our car was quite nimble back then and worked quite well here. I don’t think I’ve been that successful here as far as I can remember in recent years but it’s been a bit harder in the hybrid era — especially since we’ve had the longer car, so it’s a little bit harder to get turned around the corners.
“Our car is a lot better this year in the slow and middle speed corners so I anticipate this weekend that we will be stronger than we have been in the past. Being that you do have these long straights though, you do know that the Ferraris and the Red Bulls will be strong this weekend. I’m excited for that fight.”
Ferrari introduced their first big engine upgrade in Spain, a long way ahead of schedule, but the car was still a long way off the pace of Mercedes. In Canada, Mercedes bolt their new power unit into the cars of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas and, considering that Mercedes have won every Grand Prix of the season to this point, a seventh straight win for the team looks to be on the cards.
“On the engine side of things, the guys back at Brixworth have been working incredibly hard. It’s not been the easiest beginning of the year in terms of preparing an engine. While it’s an evolution of previous years, each time you’re always trying to push the envelope and there’s so many people working to try to improve it and, as I said, it’s not been the smoothest ride, but we’ve had great reliability with the first engine.
“It’s always great when you get a new engine because it’s fresh. This is a power circuit so it’s come at the perfect time. If you look at previous years, this is the race we always bring our second engine and this is phase two, so it’ll have all new modifications. It’ll have slight improvements everywhere. It’s not like at the beginning of the hybrid era where you took massive steps forward or even last year, it’s just small steps.”
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