For the first time in seven years Lewis Hamilton will not be starting the Canadian Grand Prix from the front row of the grid, instead the reigning Formula 1 World Champion will start from fourth but still believes he has the chance of victory.
On Sunday, Hamilton will attempt to match Michael Schumacher’s record of seven grand prix victories at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve., the Briton has won on six occasions.
Heading to this year’s edition of the race, Mercedes compromised themselves before they even arrived at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve by going too conservative on their tyre choices for the weekend.
In retrospect, they seriously lacked the pink banded Pirelli Hypersofts for their drivers who only had five sets each while their rivals had eight to play with during the course of the weekend.
After qualifying fourth, a couple of tenths shy of the pole-winning time, Hamilton explained, “We are very accepting of the fact that in hindsight it would have been nice if we had more time to prepare on the hypersoft, but it wasn’t the case.”
“From our testing, we had in Abu Dhabi [December 2017] particularly, that’s what led us to the decisions we made and we stick with those. We did the best we could with it. But it was a combination of things.”
“When we got to qualifying, we knew it was going to be very close, as it was, but in my heart, I really feel like we had the pace to lock out the front row, or I had the pace to be on the front row. But I just struggled in the session and couldn’t pull it through. You can’t get them all and I’ll try to recover from it.”
Mercedes were also not helped by the fact that they have had to delay the roll-out of the much-anticipated second version of their 2018 power unit.
“On Friday the car balance was great into [Turn] 10. Usually, the last sector is my strongest at this track but I was just struggling. There’s a massive bump into Turn 10. [Friday] we had a couple of small lock-ups but not a lot and as you continue to push the set-up there are areas that can be affected.”
“So constantly going into that corner I was struggling to get the car stopped, be it front locking or rear locking, so it was quite messy. I need to look into it to see exactly what it is, but that was definitely a good chunk of time there. Definitely, just in that corner alone, it was pole position for sure.”
The four times F1 World Champion is still targeting win number seven, “I’m hoping tomorrow that we’re still in a good position. Our long runs were really good. It will be interesting to see how the Red Bull does as well, so hopefully, we can progress and apply the pressure.”
Hamilton will start the race from fourth place on the grid, directly behind teammate Valtteri Bottas who will line up second beside pole winner Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari. Hamilton will share the second row with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.