Lewis Hamilton says the Canadian Grand Prix is evidence Mercedes have fallen behind compared to recent seasons and combined with the continued resurgence of both Ferrari and Red Bull he feels any points on a difficult race weekend could prove vital for the 2018 Formula 1 world title fight.
Mercedes arrived in Montreal having to postpone its engine update due to a quality parts issue, while both Ferrari and Red Bull enjoy relative updates, it struggled to replicate its previous dominant pace in Canada both in qualifying and race trim.
While Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel charged to pole position and a lights-to-flag victory, Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas had to settle for second while the defending F1 world champion ended up suffering a power unit cooling issue to finish a lowly fifth place having claimed three consecutive race wins at the track.
Hamilton says given the engine constraints for 2018 and the gains made by Mercedes’ main rivals none of the teams can dominant as seen in previous seasons.
“I think last year Mercedes had the best car and ultimately I think we did the better job but right now because we are not always outperforming the others but also it’s very close,” Hamilton said. “You’ve got the Red Bulls that every now and then are in the mix. Ferraris have so far been, I would say the most consistent but there’s a lot of races to come.
“These engines have to go a long way. There’s going to be things happening that we just don’t even know, what, when.”
Despite his frustrations at the engine limitations in F1, Hamilton says he has complete faith in Mercedes having the capability to take the fight to Ferrari and Red Bull over the course of the year and isn’t approaching the remainder of the season with a negative mindset.
“I still believe that we can win. I’ve got the complete confidence in my guys and I am putting that energy towards them,” he said. “The moment anybody in any sport, and I would imagine also in business but if you imagine like in Tennis or Golf.
“If you look across the net and you think damn it I might lose this, you’ve already lost. It doesn’t matter where I start on the grid, I don’t look at any driver and say ‘oh I might lose to that person’.
“I am like how can I beat them? How can I be better? I am going to keep doing that until I die.”