Friday, July 19, 2024

Lewis Hamilton Eyeing Up ‘Battle’ With Fernando Alonso

Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton believes a “podium is on the cards” on Sunday at the Canadian Grand Prix, after securing third on the grid at the Circuit de Gilles-Villeneuve.

Hamilton enjoyed a solid qualifying on Saturday, where all of his experience in mixed conditions came in use. The Briton was actually fortunate not to be eliminated in the second part of qualifying, where he finished tenth. Hamilton would’ve been eliminated had it not started to rain in the closing minutes of Q2, given that he hadn’t set a lap on the Soft compound.

When the rain did fall though, Hamilton made the most of the challenging conditions, to qualify fourth. He’ll be starting from third though, following a three-place grid penalty for Nico Hulkenberg.

Whilst pole sitter Max Verstappen is the clear favourite for victory, the seven-time Canadian GP winner is targeting a “battle” with former team-mate Fernando Alonso.

“That was a good result for us today. The conditions were very difficult out there as we tried to get temperature into the tyres. It was very tricky keeping it on track and delivering when it counted. I think P4 was probably the best we could have done though so overall, I’m really happy with it. We will take it and hopefully we can move forward tomorrow.
“I hope we can compete with Fernando (Alonso) and if so, I think a podium is on the cards. It would be good to have a battle with him. Our race pace is often better than our single lap pace and hopefully that’s the case tomorrow.”

“We can fight for a podium” – George Russell

George Russell also enjoyed a solid qualifying session, with the Briton having locked-out the second row for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team.

Russell had qualified fifth but will start from fourth following Hulkenberg’s penalty, raising him from the third to the second row. With Mercedes’ race pace more often than not being stronger than their qualifying pace, a strong result is definitely achievable for Russell, who’s targeting a back-to-back podiums.

The Mercedes driver actually “enjoyed” the mixed conditions in qualifying as he was always “driving on instincts”, something which saw him thrive. Based on Mercedes’ expected race pace, Russell is convinced that he can “fight for a podium” on Sunday; however, to do so he’ll have to defeat either Verstappen, Alonso or his team-mate.

“We did a great job to get both cars into Q3 today. I enjoyed the session as the track was changing every lap and you were driving on instincts. We didn’t quite get it together in Q3 but P5 has exceeded our expectations coming into qualifying. As a team, we were performing better as the track was drying and when the rain came in Q3, we struggled again. That’s the challenge of these conditions though, it makes it exciting, and I’m pleased we kept it on the circuit.

“I believe we can fight for a podium from P5 tomorrow. We saw what we did from P12 in Barcelona, so we are satisfied with today; it’s our best qualifying result since Australia. Fernando is going to be our main target and we’re looking forward to the race.”

Credit: LAT Images