Lewis Hamilton trusts Mercedes are “a little bit behind” Ferrari however was as yet encouraged by his practice pace at the Canadian GP.
Mercedes still adrift of Ferrari, particularly on ultrasofts, in Canada but Hamilton braced for “super close” weekend; Vettel vows to be strong in qualifying after mixed day of practice
Despite insisting championship leaders Ferrari were the favourites in Montreal, Hamilton topped the first session before finishing just two tenths adrift of Kimi Raikkonen in Practice Two.
That second practice session may be most pleasing for Mercedes, having struggled in Monaco two weeks’ ago, with both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas improving on the usually troublesome ultrasoft tyre.
“It’s been a pretty good first day for the team,” Hamilton said. “The Ferraris are looking fast here and as the times show, it’s super close at the top right now.
“I feel like we are still just a little bit behind the red cars at this early stage of the weekend, but we’ll be pushing as hard as we can to close the gap ahead of qualifying on Saturday.
“After a tough weekend in Monaco, the main thing is that our car is already feeling a lot better around Montreal. It should be game on for the rest of the weekend.”
The optimism around the Silver Arrows camp was echoed by Bottas, who added: “It was really nice to start this weekend with a positive feeling from the car.
“I think that we are looking quite competitive here.”
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve track was expected to suit Ferrari’s reliable, driveable SF70-H, with Sebastian Vettel, 25 points clear of Hamilton at the top of the standings, installed as the pre-race favourite.
But the German conceded it was only a “mixed day” for himself as he struggled for grip in tricky conditions, while team-mate Raikkonen seemed to out-pace him on both the short and long runs in P2.
“Today was a bit mixed,” Vettel admitted. “I had a couple of spins and I was fighting with the car a bit, but in the end I understood what we need, what the car needs and what I need to do.
“I think it should be a better day tomorrow.”