Hamilton stays calm as Vettel takes lead

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel driving across the finishing line under the chequered flag for the second time to win the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on Sunday. Model Winnie Harlow had earlier mistakenly waved the flag one lap too early, allegedly und
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel driving across the finishing line under the chequered flag for the second time to win the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on Sunday. Model Winnie Harlow had earlier mistakenly waved the flag one lap too early, allegedly under instructions of a race official.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Rivals switch positions at the top but Briton confident Ferrari will choke under pressure

MONTREAL • Mercedes are playing catch-up but Ferrari will falter, Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton said after German rival Sebastian Vettel won Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix to regain the drivers' standings lead.

Vettel's victory, at a track where Hamilton has dominated in the past but at which he could manage only fifth place this time, left the quadruple world champions a single point apart after seven races.

Hamilton is on 120 points, one behind Vettel of Ferrari.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, whose team still lead the constructors' standings, called it a wake-up call but Hamilton made clear that he was already aware of the threat.

"We all know they (Ferrari) have generally had a slightly better package all round, they've been doing a slightly better job so we've got to do more," the Briton, who had won in Canada six times, said.

"We've got to keep working, which I know the guys are. And I think we just need to stay positive.

"There's no reason to lose control or anything like that, we just need to keep doing what we're doing and keep motivated and keep pushing because they will falter. We have to keep applying the pressure."

Hamilton struggled with engine temperatures during the race. His car's power unit was on its seventh outing against Ferrari and Red Bull who brought upgrades to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Mercedes had planned to have the latest specification on track but delayed it due to reliability concerns. They also had problems with tyres choice and wear management. Other teams chose to have seven or eight sets of "hyper-soft" tyres at their disposal, but Mercedes asked for only five.

They will need to have that resolved in time for the next race, the French GP at the Paul Ricard Circuit at Le Castellet next week.

"I am super grateful that I finished," added Hamilton, whose team-mate Valtteri Bottas came in second ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen. "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.

"Every single lap I was on the edge just waiting for that power to drop away and disappear, because it kept dropping and coming back.

"We didn't apply the pressure this weekend, but I'm really going to make sure that we come back strong at the next race."

The races are coming thick and fast now, with Austria and Britain on successive weekends after France in a triple-header before Germany and Hungary lead into the August break. Fans can expect a few more twists and turns before then, and hopefully more exciting fare than the last two served up in Montreal and Monaco.

"This is a s**t result for us. I have to put it like that. It is a strong track for us but, all weekend long, we have made little mistakes, from the start," Wolff said.

"The only feeling I have is that we have to wake up.

"We fell behind in every respect. This is a track where we should have maximised points - it is not about damage limitation for us."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2018, with the headline 'Hamilton stays calm as Vettel takes lead'. Print Edition | Subscribe