Lewis Hamilton heads into the Canadian Grand Prix in positive mind having overcome problematic sessions to claim his sixth pole in seven races this year.
The world champion appeared to be on the back when, having ended the dry-wet FP2 session in the tyre wall at the hairpin, he struggled to climb off the bottom of the FP3 timesheets even though conditions were 180-degrees to how day one had ended.
Although his Mercedes has scarcely been harmed in Friday's off, save for a mangled front wing, Hamilton failed to post a real flying lap in final practice, and headed into qualifying plumb last on the timesheets – something he only blamed himself for.
“We didn't go out 'til quite late and only did two runs but these tyres, they're hard for everyone and take a couple of laps to warm up, so you try to do a banker lap and then a 'pushing' lap,” the 30-year old commented, “It was quite cool when I went out in the morning and I tried pushing from very early on, but the front tyres didn't have any temperature and I locked the wheel and completely flat-spotted it - I couldn't run with it anymore as it was rattling my eyeballs out of my skull! Then I went out on another set of tyres and did exactly the same thing….
“So, I didn't get to record any laps, which was quite negative because you don't get to feel where the car is and you're not really sure what to change on the balance and couldn't comment on how the car was feeling or suggest what changes to make, so we just kept the car the same.”
While Hamilton admitted that his Saturday morning had been 'terrible', he was more confident moving forward after what the Mercedes team had achieved on the rain-hit opening day.
“Yesterday didn't have much of an impact, to be honest,” he claimed, “Before it rained, we got done pretty much everything we wanted to do, got a long run and a relatively decent run on the option [tyre]. We would perhaps have done another couple of laps and gone to another tyre, which was not so important, so I think we're in a good place when it comes to understanding the tyres.
“FP3 is just a session to find where your balance is and really get on it, and I didn't get any of those laps really but managed to pull it out in qualifying.”
Although Romain Grosjean topped Q1 after a late lap on supersofts when the Mercedes boys were on the prime tyre, Hamilton was back in charge in Q2 and maintained his run through the final, pole-setting, twelve minutes.
“I surprised myself just how quickly I got back to it,” he admitted, “We did a longer run in Q1 which really enabled me get back onto it and it was quite easy to be honest. Temperatures are similar for tomorrow and [tyre] warm-up was not a massive issue today. Obviously, I had to do an extra lap but, once you did that, you were fine. Everyone is in the same boat and I think we'll be fine for the race too. Tomorrow is more about understanding degradation and those sort of things and we'll learn as we go.”
Likewise, Hamilton had dropped his guard a little when it came to the expected threat from Ferrari, which had Sebastian Vettel stranded at the back of the grid following a hasty exit from qualifying. While Kimi Raikkonen annexed third for the Scuderia, he could not push either Mercedes off the front row, leaving Hamilton to dismiss Friday's long run pace.
“I think we anticipated [Ferrari] being a couple of tenths off, so to see them further from that….,” he started, “To be honest, we weren't really focusing on them. We were focusing on ourselves, but the gap is bigger than we anticipated so that's a positive.”