Despite slipping to second in the drivers’ championship, Lewis Hamilton believes he could have lost even more ground to Sebastian Vettel in the Canadian Grand Prix due to power unit concerns.
Hamilton started from fourth place and stayed in position while Vettel led away from pole position in the opening stint, with the pair separated by Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen. Before his pit stop, Hamilton — who was using an old power unit after a Mercedes upgrade was delayed — sent a radio message to his team explaining he was suffering drops in power, and duly fell behind Daniel Ricciardo in the pits to cross the line in fifth.
“I’m super grateful that I finished,” Hamilton said. “I’m just so happy that I finished. From the start, all of a sudden I was down on power and my engine was saying it was over temperature and I couldn’t get the temperatures down.
“I just thought it was going to fail and every single lap I was just on the edge waiting for that power to drop away. It kept dropping and coming back and dropping and I was like ‘jeez.’ It was the seventh race on the engine so it saw its life. I could have lost a lot more today.”
Having dropped one point behind Vettel in the drivers’ standings, Hamilton says the result should not place added significance on the Mercedes engine upgrade when it is introduced — but he wants overall performance improvements.
“I think Ferrari have had a slightly better package all round, they’ve been doing a slightly better job so we’ve got to do more. We’ve got to keep working, which I know the guys are, and I just think we need to stay positive.
“There’s no reason to lose control. We just keep doing what we are doing, keep our heads down, keep motivated and keep pushing because they will falter. We need to keep applying the pressure; we didn’t this weekend but I’m really going to make sure we come back stronger at the next race.”