Lewis Hamilton battles for pole position in 2018 Canadian Grand Prix qualifying

PUBLISHED: 00:00 09 June 2018 | UPDATED: 19:24 09 June 2018

Lewis Hamilton in practice for the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix. Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG.

Lewis Hamilton in practice for the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix. Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG.

Daimler AG

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton battles for pole position in qualifying for the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix today.

The 33-year-old Mercedes F1 driver from Hertfordshire finished Friday’s first practice session in Montreal in P2.

The four-time world champion clocked a time of 1m 13.390s in the morning session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set the early pace with a lap of 1m 13.302s.

Verstappen was again fastest in the afternoon session with a time of 1m 12.198s, while Hamilton clocked 1m 12.77s down in P4 after running on the SuperSoft and UltraSoft tyres.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo both went quicker than Hamilton in second practice, but the Mercedes driver wasn’t too worried ahead of Saturday’s qualifying session.

Hamilton said: “I believe that the gap in the time sheets is down to the different tyre choices today, but we will find out tomorrow [Saturday].

“Hopefully we’ll get a good feeling when we first take the HyperSofts for a spin in FP3 tomorrow [Saturday] and it’s not too different to what we’ve been driving today.”

Speaking after Friday practice, Stevenage racer Hamilton said: “It’s been a beautiful day, the weather has been fantastic and the track feels better than ever.

“It’s such a fun track to drive and we didn’t have any problems, I really enjoyed it.

Lewis Hamilton in practice for the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix. Picture: Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.Lewis Hamilton in practice for the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix. Picture: Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

“A lot of fans came out as well so it’s been a nice Friday.

“The fact that we now have an additional DRS zone in Montreal means that we can think about running more wing this year.

“In previous years we would run a low downforce setting here, whereas now it’s kind of normal, so the car feels great through the corners.”

Hamilton added: “Straight out of the box today I think we started right with the car set-up.

Lewis Hamilton in practice for the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix. Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG.Lewis Hamilton in practice for the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix. Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG.

“There were some things that we needed to adjust along the way making small incremental changes, from one time-out to another it always felt a bit different, but it’s been good.”

Hamilton’s Silver Arrows team-mate Valtteri Bottas was fifth fastest in first practice, and sixth in the afternoon session.

But, like Hamilton, he felt the time difference out on track was down to the leading teams using different tyres.

Bottas said: “It was a good day here in Montreal even though it may not look that strong on the time sheets for us.

Lewis Hamilton in practice for the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix. Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG.Lewis Hamilton in practice for the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix. Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG.

“Ferrari and Red Bull were running the HyperSoft tyres, which we will only start using tomorrow so that’s why our times didn’t look that good today.

“So we should be there or thereabouts. Of course our competitors have a bit of an advantage with the new engines, but I think it will be a close qualifying tomorrow.”

Bottas added: “The track was very dirty today, as soon you go off the line you lose a lot of grip for the next half a lap or so.

“So we need to be very precise when we drive around the track, especially through the chicanes.

Valtteri Bottas in practice for the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix. Picture: Steve Etherington for Daimler AG.Valtteri Bottas in practice for the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix. Picture: Steve Etherington for Daimler AG.

“I think we’ve learned a thing or two from Monaco about the HyperSofts, so hopefully we can make them work.

“The balance of the car was really good from the start today, so we only had to do some fine tuning.

“The car felt good straight out of the garage. Tomorrow we will find out how good it is.”

Mercedes’ chief race engineer Andrew Shovlin said: “Overall we’ve had a fairly straightforward day, the car has run reliably and it was just the red flags and virtual safety cars that caused us to have to adapt the plan a little.

The 2018 Canadian Grand Prix circuit in Montreal. Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG.The 2018 Canadian Grand Prix circuit in Montreal. Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG.

“The car balance has been good from the first run so it has just been a case of small balance tuning to keep the car in the right window as the track grip came up.

“It’s difficult to judge our single lap pace from today as we haven’t run the HyperSoft and some of our closest competition looked to have had less than perfect sessions.

“However, comparing on the same tyres, we do look to be in better shape than we were in Monaco.

“The long runs seem consistent, with the tyres behaving normally although as always, Ferrari and Red Bull look to be very similar pace and we’ll need to wait until Sunday to see how we actually stack up.”

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