Pre-Montreal analysis - Hamilton aspires to make amends 10 Jun 2011
McLarens Lewis Hamilton is aiming firmly for victory in Canada to make up for all the hoopla that followed his sixth place in Monaco.
The 2008 world champion said in Montreal on Thursday that he has learned a lot from his post-race outburst in Monte Carlo. "Last week, coming back from the Grand Prix, I had some time to reflect on my behaviour and my weekend, and just a feeling of it being a bad day in the office," he said.
Having written a letter of apology to the FIA and said sorry personally to Ferraris Felipe Massa and Williams Pastor Maldonado for what he said about their driving, he continued: "This is racing... when you are competitive and this is the pinnacle of motorsport... it is not easy to overtake, so every move you make is questionable, sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don't. It is inevitable - sometimes it will be right, sometimes not.
Both Hamilton and team mate Jenson Button expect to be very quick here, on a circuit on which they have historically had better pace than Red Bull. "Perhaps, as in the last race, the gap will be a little bit closer compared to places like Barcelona. I am expecting to see that through a lot of the field, Hamilton said. "I would definitely say looking at the next few races this is one of the better ones for us.
"Coming off a very tough weekend, I feel I am racing against some very, very talented drivers who are going to be quick as well. I would rather do my talking on track, I feel the car will work well and feel I am in a good head space so I hope that will add to a good result."
Button believes that Mercedes could be very quick, especially in qualifying, adding further spice to the mix which will already include Red Bull and Ferrari as expected McLaren rivals. "I think they can get about 20 km/h with DRS, the Mercedes, and I think most other teams are about 12 km/h, he said.
Its a massive difference around here, so in qualifying they are going to be very, very quick. They are possibly our biggest competitors I would say. They will be very competitive here.
"I think qualifying is going to be pretty tricky. I think we will be a lot closer to the Red Bulls if not quicker than them, but you have to look at what Ferrari have got with their DRS and also Mercedes. There are a lot of straights here, but we are also very good at using our DRS. The system we have for using it is very good, we seem to be able to use it in more places than other people.
With his fearsome statistic of victory in eight of the last nine Grands Prix, however, world champion Sebastian Vettel firmly believes he can continue that trend this weekend, even though theoretically the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve does not suit his Red Bull RB7 as much as other tracks where downforce is more crucial.
"I'm quite confident," he said on Thursday. "Last year, we had a good car here but were not on the podium. We started the race on a different strategy that turned out not to work, which was a surprise for us at the time. We learned our lesson. This year we will see how the tyres work and how long they last, but in terms of pace we should be okay.
"We know that long straights are not always in our favour, but weve been working hard and have brought some new bits here. They are not massive, but little steps, and we will see where we are and how we are working the tyres. We want to win every time. That has to be our target."
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