Lewis Hamilton might have a point or 25 to prove in this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix, but he is not anticipating an easy ride with both Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg and Ferrari expected to be more of a threat.
Rosberg's tail will be up after back-to-back wins – the first tandem of his F1 career – in Spain and Monaco, while Ferrari took advantage of the break between European and North American races to spend its first engine development 'tokens' in a bid to boost the fortunes of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen on a track where raw power provides one of the keys to success.
While Vettel would not be drawn on the potential gains made by the Scuderia, Hamilton admitted that it would not surprise him to see the scarlet cars closer to Mercedes in Montreal.
“I don't know what Ferrari has done, so I can only assume that they've improved,” the Briton claimed, “As for us, we've just improved reliability. We obviously have a fantastic engine, so I feel quite confident going into the weekend but, naturally, Ferrari has been fast in previous races so they should be fast this weekend.”
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has been a happy hunting ground for Hamilton in the past, with three victories already under the world champion's belt, including his first ever in the top flight. Despite that, however, he remains determined to take things up a notch from the moment he gets on track on Friday, with the bitter memory of last year's DNF still knowing at him.
“It's a good track and I had my first grand prix win here, so I've generally always been quick here,” he noted, “but moreso the [target] is to have a better weekend than we had last year here.
“You always try to improve every time you come here, you're always trying to be faster, there's always areas where you can improve. For example, last year's qualifying wasn't strong enough and I didn't finish the race, so there are things that we've learned from that weekend. We should be stronger this weekend, and I've generally been strong here over the years, but I can be faster, so that's the plan this weekend.”