Lewis Hamilton excited for Ferrari and Red Bull battle at Canadian GP
Hamilton wary of Ferrari's straight-line speed despite Mercedes' new engine; Also opens up on emotional two weeks pre-Montreal
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 07/06/19 9:14am
Lewis Hamilton says he is ready and excited for a "close battle" at the Canadian GP, insisting that both Ferrari and Red Bull have the tools to trouble Mercedes this weekend.
Mercedes arrive in Montreal on the back of six straight victories and will also introduce their first engine upgrade of the season for the high-speed circuit - aiming for another boost to their impressive W10 car.
But while Hamilton is grateful for a fresh 'Phase Two' power unit, he believes it will only be a "small step" and has warned that Red Bull and Ferrari, who have both made progress with their engines this season, are strong contenders.
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"Being that you do have these long straights, you know that the Red Bulls and the Ferraris in particular are going to be really strong this weekend," Hamilton, the championship leader, said. "I'm excited for that fight."
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When, where and how to watch the Canadian GP from Montreal live only on Sky Sports F1 as Hamilton bids to extend his title lead.
He added: "There's not a huge amount of corners, there's a lot of straight-line speed. Honda have really picked up their pace with their engine this year so the Red Bulls should be really strong, and they're great through corners.
"The Ferrari is generally the quickest car in a straight-line all year long. In the past races we've managed to catch them up through the corners but whether or not that will be the case this weekend, time will tell.
"I hope that there's a real close battle between us all."
It's not just Mercedes who head into the seventh race of the season in sublime form, with Hamilton looking for an F1 2019 hat-trick after winning in Spain and Monaco.
The Englishman is also somewhat of a Montreal master having claimed six victories at the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve, tying with the Hungaroring for his most successful track.
"I don't think I've excelled here for a while here if I'm really honest," was Hamilton's retort.
Mercedes were crushed by Ferrari here last season, but their new car has proved to be much faster through the corners than their rivals and Hamilton stated: "Our car is a lot better this year in the slower speed, and medium speed corners, so I anticipate this weekend we will be stronger than we have been in the past."
Hamilton then told Sky F1's Ted Kravitz: "I feel positive. We have a new engine here on a power circuit, our last engine did great but it degraded over time so it's great to have a new power unit which has got more reliability and a bit more power.
"And the car is good this year in the low-speed corners so I'm hopeful this year is competitive for us here. I struggled here last year so I'm hoping to rectify that."
Hamilton opens up on emotions
It has been an emotional two weeks for Hamilton after the passing of Mercedes mentor and friend Niki Lauda, as well as young fan Harry Shaw, 5, who suffered from a rare form of cancer.
Hamilton had dedicated his last two victories to Shaw and Lauda.
"We'll continue to race with Niki in our hearts and that's not going to stop," Hamilton said of Lauda, whose funeral he attended in Vienna after the Monaco GP. "We always want to continue to make him proud."
On Shaw, who he labelled his "spirit angel" in Spain, Hamilton continued: "It's of course devastating. I've got the greatest memories with little Harry and God has another angel."
But Hamilton is also ready to deliver this weekend.
"I've not really been in public the last few weeks," he told Sky F1. "I've kind of kept to myself, mostly. I've been with family the past week and I just really try to remain centred and focused.
"It's so hard to arrive every weekend, 21 races of the year and deliver 100%. It's so hard to deliver every single weekend, to put it all together for that one moment in qualifying and then within the race, to not make mistakes.
"I just try to gather my thoughts and make sure I come here with the right energy, on the right foot, and luckily Montreal - I got my first grand prix win here - so I've got good history here, and I know that I can do well here if I really put the work in."
He added: "Coming into this weekend we've all got to stay positive. I've got a lot of people relying on me to continue to do the job."
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