Mercedes driver and defending champion Lewis Hamilton has admitted that a “messy” qualifying ruined his chances of a record-equalling seventh Canadian GP pole. However, the world championship leader remains optimistic ahead of Sunday’s race.
Hamilton could only muster fourth in Montreal, three places behind closest title rival Sebastian Vettel. The Briton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas came within a tenth of the Ferrari, which probably sat well with Hamilton.
Mercedes have confessed that their reluctance to use the hypersoft tires after the Monaco debacle, has proved costly in hindsight. But Hamilton is positive that he could have extracted a pole time from the W09.
“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,” said Hamilton.
“There’s a massive bumps into Turn 10. Yesterday 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 today 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.”
This was Hamilton’s first non-front-row start in Montreal in seven years. But he insisted: “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.”
Even Lewis Hamilton said that in hindsight they needed more time to prepare on the hypersoft.
“From our testing, we had in Abu Dhabi [last December] 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 tomorrow.”