Saturday, 09 juny 2018, 16:54 , by Matthew Scott
Lewis Hamilton dismissed the impact that running an old engine had on his inability to make an impact in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix. No man has more pole positions in Montreal than the Mercedes man, but he will start the race fourth, behind title rival Sebastian Vettel and team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Vettel secured a fourth pole position in Canada in a record time, beating the benchmark set by Hamilton a year ago as he equalled Michael Schumacher's six Saturday successes.
Hamilton might have had equalling Schumacher's seven race wins in mind, but Mercedes had to shelve their planned engine upgrade at late notice, with Ferrari and Red Bull both benefitting from fresh power units in Montreal.
With a hypersoft-shod Max Verstappen also standing in his way off the line, Hamilton faces a tough battle to keep his 14-point lead in the standings intact, but he remains confident in Mercedes' performance potential.
"It was a difficult qualifying," Hamilton said. "My laps weren't good and it just didn't quite come together for me.
"In practice things looked good and I think I could have been quickest in FP3, but in qualifying I couldn't quite hit the potential we had shown.
"I don't think today's performance has got anything to do with the older engine. Sebastian simply did a better job when it counted in Q3.
"You can see just how tight things are at the front of the grid, so I think it could be tricky to overtake. Sure, it'll be tough to win from fourth here, but nothing is impossible. I'll dig deep."
Bottas delivered a timely remainder of his ability in outqualifying his team-mate, but the Finn was still left wanting more.
He said: "It's a good result, although it's not perfect to start behind the Ferrari, but we knew that they would bring some improvements for this weekend.
"Red Bull will also be a threat, but it's cool to see three teams fighting for the win.
"We're happy that we qualified on the ultrasoft tyre in Q2, I think it's the right choice for our car. It will be interesting to see how it does in the start of the race, especially because Red Bull will start on the hypersoft.
"Overall it seems like the margins are very small between the top three teams, so the strategy could really be the key. It should be an interesting race."