Canadian Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton says he was pleased just to have managed to make the chequered flag, having battled engine temperature issues throughout the whole race.
Hamilton went into the weekend on the back foot compared to main championship rival Sebastian Vettel. While the Ferrari was boasting a brand new power unit, and an upgraded one at that, Hamilton was forced into using the same engine he’d used for the season opening six races after Mercedes held off on their upgrades due to concerns about reliability.
While Mercedes said this didn’t mean any concerns regarding reliability or power, Hamilton was clearly not on the same form as he usually is in Canada. He qualified in 4th place, two behind teammate Valtteri Bottas. While he held this position for the opening laps of the race, he came in for his tyre change on Lap 18 in an effort to fend off the undercut from the early stopping Red Bulls. This proved futile, and he came out behind Daniel Ricciardo. While Hamilton looked the quicker of the pair over the remainder of the race, he wasn’t able to find a way past and he believes his engine was to blame:
“From the start, I was down on power, my engine was saying it was over temperature and I couldn’t get the temperatures down,” said Hamilton.
“I just thought it was going to fail, and every single lap, I was kind of on the edge waiting for the power to drop away and disappear, because it kept dropping and coming back and dropping.” Lewis Hamilton
This resulted in Mercedes opening up the cooling ducts on his car at his pitstop, contributing to Hamilton’s loss of P4 to Ricciardo. However, the issues with temperatures weren’t as critical after his stop, meaning he could attack the Red Bull even if it did prove futile.
Despite the setbacks, Hamilton was still pleased to have scored some valuable points: “I could have lost a lot more points today.”
“[I’m] super grateful that I finished. I’m just so happy that I finished.”
“There’s no reason to lose control or anything like that. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing, keep our heads down and keep motivated, keep pushing because [Ferrari] will falter. We’ll keep applying the pressure. We didn’t apply the pressure this weekend, but I’m really going to make sure I come back strong in the next race.”
Having led the championship by 14 points heading to Canada, Hamilton now heads to Paul Ricard in France a single point down on Vettel and will run the new upgraded Mercedes for the French Grand Prix.