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Hamilton believes Mercedes podium isn’t ‘far away’ as he confirms Canada upgrade plan

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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 06: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes attends the press

Lewis Hamilton has expressed optimism over Mercedes’s chances at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, where he will also take on the new front wing debuted by team mate George Russell last time out in Monaco.

Mercedes have yet to score a podium finish so far in 2024, with Red Bull keeping their place at the top of the pecking order over the first third of the season, and Ferrari and McLaren emerging as their nearest challengers.

READ MORE: Wolff responds to Hamilton’s comments about Russell qualifying ahead of him

However, as the campaign rolls on to Montreal, the scene of Hamilton’s first F1 win some 17 years ago, the seven-time world champion shared his hopes that the Silver Arrows will be a step closer to the fight at the front.

“The car is continuing to improve,” he said, highlighting a smoother ride and corner entry stability as the biggest gains so far. “I think everyone is obviously taking a step, hopefully, closer to the Red Bulls, and I think that’s been really positive.

“But I’m incredibly proud of everyone back at the factory, just how hard everyone’s working, how resilient everyone is, and everyone is just staying very focused, head down, and the morale is really great in the team.

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Mercedes most recently featured on the podium with Russell at last year’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

“I’m hoping that we can get closer to these guys and start actually competing at the front.”

Pushed on whether he thinks a podium is possible, Hamilton added: “I don’t think it’s far away. Both cars have the upgrade this weekend, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that feels on track.”

READ MORE: Mercedes share how Hamilton intervened amid recent car upgrade dilemma

As well as taking his breakthrough maiden victory in Canada, Hamilton sits tied with Michael Schumacher for the most pole positions (six) and wins (seven) around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

“It’s kind of a street circuit, and a bit like a go-kart track with long straights,” he said, as he shared his thoughts on the track and his memories of winning for the first time. “It’s a track that bodes well for late brakers, and someone that’s aggressive, I guess – an aggressive driving style.

“[Going back to 2007], the only things that really stick out… Coming here [for the] first time to Montreal and immediately, from the get-go, I loved the circuit, I gelled well with it, and that’s always been the case when I’ve come here.

Lewis Hamilton's first win in F1

“I was really living my dream, particularly in those first six races [of my rookie season], kind of in disbelief that, ‘Actually, I’ve made it’, and also having the success that we were having – [scoring] podiums each weekend.

“I think really, ultimately, just being on the podium, seeing that big trophy that you’ve seen the greats in the past get to hoist up, and looking down and seeing my dad, just how happy he was. It was kind of a relief, because of all the sleepless nights, all the energy and time that the family put into it.

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“We’d finally made it and it’s something that we continuously believe through our career together, that we had the ability to do something like that, and we finally realised it, so it was a very, very special weekend. It’s one I’ll never forget.”

Mercedes sit fourth in the constructors’ standings after the first eight rounds of the season, behind the aforementioned Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren, while Russell and Hamilton hold seventh and eighth respectively in the drivers’ battle.

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