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Hamilton laments ‘one of my worst drives’ as Canada victory challenge slips through his fingers

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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 09: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes looks on, on the grid

Lewis Hamilton cut a downbeat figure after dropping out of the podium places in the closing stages of a dramatic wet-to-dry Canadian Grand Prix, bringing to a close what he described as “a pretty poor weekend from myself”.

Hamilton led Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and team mate George Russell in Saturday’s final practice session as the upgraded Mercedes showed improved pace, but he could not keep up with the pair when qualifying arrived amid tyre-related struggles.

READ MORE: Verstappen beats Norris to victory in thrilling wet/dry Canadian GP

While Russell beat Verstappen to pole with identical times, Hamilton had to settle for seventh on the grid and spent the early stages of the race glued to Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin, initially out of podium contention.

Hamilton managed to make progress as the race developed, showing particularly strong pace after he and Russell pitted for fresh tyres under the final Safety Car, prompting an exciting intra-team battle to the chequered flag.

2024 Canadian Grand Prix: Russell takes back P3 from Hamilton to seal podium finish

But it was Russell who won that tussle on the penultimate lap, leaving seven-time world champion to cross the line in fourth position and ponder what might have been if his weekend had gone more smoothly.

“It wasn’t a positive race for me,” he said after stepping out of the car. “It felt like one of my worst drives that I’ve had. Bits of good speed at some points, but ultimately a pretty poor weekend from myself.

READ MORE: Norris ‘won’t complain’ about Safety Car as he takes positives from ‘amazing pace’ en route to P2 in Canada

“Obviously qualified [seventh], put myself back there, then I was stuck behind Fernando for a long, long time, as you would expect. After that, I lost a lot of ground, then lost another bunch of ground, went off and…

“Anyway, the positive is that the car is progressing, it’s moving forwards. I think if I’d qualified the way I should have, I would have been competing for the win, so that’s why it’s quite frustrating.”

Canadian GP ‘felt like one of my worst drives’ – Hamilton

Hamilton, a six-time pole-sitter and seven-time race-winner at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, then opened up on why he felt his weekend unravelled during the all-important qualifying session.

“Well, the tyres were working throughout the weekend, then we got to qualifying and every time I went out of the garage, my tyres were for some reason below on temperature,” he explained.

READ MORE: Verstappen hails team for staying calm in ‘crazy race’ as he takes victory in eventful Canadian GP

“Every set was two or three degrees lower than it should have been, and you can’t catch it up and I couldn’t switch the tyres on after that. That’s something we have to really look at, because something went on with the blankets, I guess.”

Hamilton sits eighth in the drivers’ standings, one spot and 14 points adrift of Russell, while Mercedes remain fourth in the constructors’ order, behind McLaren, Ferrari and leaders Red Bull.

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