By Alan Davies, Formula One correspondent
Saturday, June 9, 2012
FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton bids for his fourth pole position in Montreal today (Saturday) in qualifying for the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix.
* 2011: Q5, R-
* 2010: Q1, R1
* 2008: Q1, R-
* 2007: Q1, R1
The 27-year-old motor racer from Hertfordshire has three times placed his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes car on the front row of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve grid.
And the 2008 F1 world champion was fastest in both free practice sessions in Canada yesterday (Friday).
He clocked a lap time of 1m 15.564s in P1 and went quicker in the afternoon session with a 1m 15.259s.
Speaking after practice, Hamilton said: “I’m very happy with my start to the weekend: happy that the rain held off for both sessions today [Friday] and happy that we got through a lot of good set-up changes.
“This is a great track to drive – it’s a place that requires 100 per cent commitment and where the driver can really make a difference. It magnifies the differences between drivers.
“Today, even though the Option tyre was a little quicker, I preferred running on the Prime tyre.”
The Stevenage-born driver added: “This is a place where it’s important to do some running, because there are some pretty close walls and you need to build your speed up gradually.
“So today has been positive, but it’s definitely going to be tight this weekend – not just for qualifying, but for the race, too.”
"I know that the results we all want will soon come to us."
Hamilton’s teammate Jenson Button – winner in Canada last year – didn’t enjoy such a good day with mechanical issues restricting his running time out on track.
However, he said: “I’m not too worried – the car has been working well and Lewis has been quick all day, so there’s a lot of good information for us to look at for tomorrow.
“I enjoy driving around this place, so we’ll be hoping for a bit more luck tomorrow.”
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team principal Martin Whitmarsh feels Hamilton is a front row contender in Canada again.
“Lewis performed extremely well today. His short-run pace was strong, and his long-run pace was excellent,” he said after P2.
“For Jenson, clearly, today was rather more troubled, albeit through no fault of his own. He suffered an oil leak in this morning’s session which necessitated the removal and re-fitting of his gearbox.
“Then, prior to this afternoon’s session, we diagnosed another problem and as a result we had to change his gearbox yet again.
“Consequently, he lost a lot of running time today – and then, when we finally got him out onto the track with only 18 minutes of P2 to go, he encountered quite a bit of traffic and was unable to get a decent run in the few laps available to him.
“Still, hats off to his mechanics, who did a splendid job to remove and replace the back-end of his car, not once, but twice, today.
“But tomorrow, in P3, we’ll work on getting Jenson a good package with which to qualify, and we all know how brilliant he can be at this circuit.
“Last year he was superb here, as tens of millions of TV viewers worldwide won’t need me to remind them.
“Lewis, too, is always super-competitive here – he won this race in both 2007 and 2010 – and I’m sure he’ll approach tomorrow’s qualifying session with his customary confidence again this year.”