Lewis Hamilton is 'massively looking forward' to the F1 2011 Canadian Grand Prix this coming weekend in Montreal, a place he regards as 'very special' and likely to be 'suited' to his McLaren MP4-26.
Hamilton has been under intense media scrutiny following his post-race comments in Monaco, when he lambasted the decisions made by FIA stewards as 'an absolute frickin' joke', denigrated some of his rivals as 'frickin' ridiculous' and 'stupid' and - in mock Ali G tones - jokingly suggested that the reason he is seemingly constantly on the receiving end of penalties this season is 'maybe because I'm black' [see separate story – click here
While that is now old news, and Hamilton has since apologised and defiantly said he will 'never stop racing the way he does' [see separate story - click here
], there is no doubt he will want to try and put the whole episode in the past this Sunday, and the best way to do that would be to take the victory. He desperately needs to win too, as reigning F1 2010 world champion, Sebastian Vettel is looking increasingly uncatchable and now has a 58-point lead in the drivers' championship.
“Montreal is a very special place for me. It's where I took my first F1 pole position and won my first race [back in 2007]. I've always got on really well with the track, the layout seems to suit my driving style, and I won there last year from pole position,” Hamilton said ahead of the seventh round in the F1 2011 World Championship.
“Perhaps even more importantly, the fans in Montreal and everyone in North America who makes the trip to the city are some of the best in the world. They are so positive, supportive and friendly – my trips to the city have been some of my favourite experiences in F1, and I'm massively looking forward to arriving in Montreal to a friendly welcome this week.
“Our car should be well suited to this track; we have a great engine, the best KERS Hybrid system in the sport and excellent traction out of slow corners. All in all, it's set to be another good weekend for us – I'll be looking for a strong result on Sunday.”
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh meanwhile similarly believes the MP4-26 will go well around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and he is convinced the Woking-based outfit will again be able to take the fight to Red Bull.
“After narrowly missing out on victories in Spain and Monaco, there is a tremendous desire and spirit within the team to get back onto the top step of the podium,” Whitmarsh continued. “Indeed, while it was disappointing to lose out on victory in Monte-Carlo, we can still draw enormous encouragement from the fact that we appear to have a very competitive car – particularly in race trim – and I feel we can move forwards and once again take the fight to Red Bull this weekend.
“The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has been the scene of some very dramatic and exciting memories for McLaren - Lewis's victories in 2007 and 2010 and Jenson's brilliant pass on Fernando Alonso to secure second last year all stick in the mind. It's been a circuit where our car and engine package has traditionally excelled, and I'm hopeful of another exciting race for the team.”