F1 2011 Canadian Grand Prix: Hamilton chasing Montreal win hat-trick
PUBLISHED: 20:24 04 June 2011 | UPDATED: 10:09 11 June 2011
FORMULA 1 racer Lewis Hamilton bids to get his season back track at next weekend's 2011 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.
After finishing only sixth in last Sunday’s controversial Monaco race, the F1 star from Herts is 58 points behind reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ standings.
The 26-year-old Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver needs to record his second victory of the season on June 12 to revive his fading title hopes.
Fortunately, Herts-born Hamilton has happy memories of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which is named after Canada’s most famous racing son.
Hamilton chalked up his first ever F1 victory around the city circuit built on an island in the St Lawrence River.
That was in his rookie 2007 season and Tewin F1 hero Hamilton also took the chequered flag in Montreal last year, leading home a McLaren one-two with Jenson Button in second place.
“Montreal is a very special place for me,” said Lewis, who was watched last season in Canada by girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger.
“It’s where I took my first Formula 1 pole position and won my first race.
“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.
Recent Canadian Grand Prix winners
2004 - Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
2005 - Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren)
2006 - Fernando Alonso (Renault)
2007 - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
2008 - Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber)
2009 - No race
2010 - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
“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 Formula 1, and I’m massively looking forward to arriving in Montreal to a friendly welcome next week.”
Hamilton feels the 2011 spec McLaren MP4-26 should do well around the circuit, with its long start/finish straight and walls lining the track on either side.
He said: “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.”
Team-mate Button, who was third in Monte Carlo, feels McLaren are heading in the right direction.
“There’s a real momentum within our team at the moment,” said the 2009 world champion.
“I think we had a race car good enough to win in both Spain and Monaco; with a little improvement to our qualifying, I think we can start to dictate race pace, which was something we were briefly able to show at both of the last two races.”
"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."
This theme was taken up by Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team principal Martin Whitmarsh.
“After narrowly missing out on victories in Spain and Monaco, there’s still a tremendous desire and spirit within the team to get back onto the top step of the podium,” said Whitmarsh.
“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.”
Qualifying for the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix takes place next Saturday at 6pm BST.
The race starts at 6pm on Sunday, June 12.