Hamilton eyes ‘good battle’ with Alonso as Mercedes drivers target another double podium in Canada
Lewis Hamilton believes a podium finish is “definitely on the cards” in the Canadian Grand Prix, while team mate George Russell is also confident of making the top-three to secure what would be a second successive double rostrum for Mercedes.
Hamilton and Russell placed fourth and fifth fastest in a rain-hit qualifying session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Saturday, with the pair looking to back up their respective P2 and P3 results last time out in Spain.
Reflecting on qualifying, Hamilton said: “Not bad at all. This is a good start for us, I think. [It was] the most difficult conditions out there, trying to get the temperature into the tyres, [as] obviously there’s not many high-speed corners so it’s difficult to generate temperature.
“But yeah… I was hoping for more, naturally, but we’ll take it and from there we can work on… Hopefully we can move forward from there.”
Pushed on his rostrum chances, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set to start on pole position from Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, he added: “I definitely think a podium is on the cards tomorrow, yeah.
“I hope that we can compete with Alonso. It will be interesting to see how our long run [performance] is, but it would be good to have a battle with him.”
Russell, who charged through the field from 12th to third in Barcelona, shared Hamilton’s positivity as he began by saying that P5 was a result he “probably would have taken” after a tricky final practice session.
“I think there was a bit more there,” he said. “We definitely performed better when the track was drier, then when the track got wetter in Q3, the car wasn’t quite as competitive. To be honest, when I crossed the line I was surprised to end up in that position.
“It’s a good place to start for tomorrow, the race pace is good, we’ve only Fernando in front of us, who I think will be our challenger. Max is obviously going to be probably in a league of his own out there tomorrow – let’s bring it on.”
Asked if his comments about Mercedes’ dry-weather pace bode well, Russell added: “100%. We’re feeling positive about dry conditions tomorrow. I think the race pace yesterday in practice was pretty decent. There’s no reason why we can’t fight for a podium.”
Mercedes head into Sunday’s race holding second position in the constructors’ standings, 18 points clear of Aston Martin, whose other driver, Lance Stroll, will start from 13th after a spin in Q2.