Lewis Hamilton is confident Mercedes is well placed following Friday practice for the Canadian Grand Prix despite Max Verstappen setting the pace.
Verstappen was quickest in both practice sessions on Friday, leading Hamilton in FP1 and then Kimi Raikkonen in the second session. Hamilton was over half a second adrift of Verstappen in FP2 but set his fastest time on the supersoft tire compared to the hypersofts for the Red Bull, and is confident in the performance he had on the slower compound.
“It’s not always that we start right out of the box, but I think we started right,” Hamilton said. “There are just some things we needed to adjust along the way. We are making small increments from one time out to another, it always feels a little bit different. But it’s building.
“I believe [the gap in tire performance is big], but we’ll find out tomorrow. Ultimately we don’t have as many hypersofts as everyone else. They have to select it quite far ahead, and from our test when the tires didn’t last, that’s the information we got then.
“Everyone else planned for different strategies. I think they’ve got eight sets and we’ve got four or five. So tomorrow hopefully we’ll get a good feel on it, and hopefully it’s not too dissimilar to what we had today.”
Asked if he wishes he has extra sets of the hypersoft, Hamilton replied: “Yeah, hindsight is a great thing, so it would have been great to try out the hyper today. Others have. I’ve seen some that have degraded a lot and some that maybe haven’t. But P3 … we’ll take it for a spin and have a look at it.”
And Hamilton was in buoyant mood at the end of running, saying the 2018 cars are even more rewarding for drivers after a third DRS zone was added in Montreal.
“It’s been a beautiful day, the weather’s been fantastic, the track feels amazing, better than ever, and I think we were faster… Actually I don’t think we’re faster yet than we’ve ever been, but it feels great and really enjoyed it. We didn’t have any problems. It’s such a fun track to drive, and we got a great turnout today, a lot of fans came today as well. So it’s been a nice Friday.
“The fact is that … because we’ve got the extra DRS section means we can actually I think run more wing this year, as opposed to previous years where we had very low downforce settings, now it’s normal. So through the corners it feels great.”