Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has described qualifying fourth on the grid for 2022 Canadian Grand Prix as “amazing”, following a surprise wet performance.
Hamilton had endured a difficult Friday Practice which left him “unhappy” with the car’s performance which didn’t seem to improve much in a wet FP3, where he finished 15th fastest on wet tyres and 1.856 seconds off the pace of leader – Fernando Alonso who had set his time on intermediates.
Rain however continued to fall until the start of Qualifying which meant that the entire field had to battle a drying track and falling lap times, as Hamilton found himself improving across all three parts of Qualifying to eventually qualify fourth.
Reflecting on his best Qualifying session of the season so far, Hamilton said: “Honestly, I feel amazing, so happy! P4! P4 has never felt so good to be honest.”
The seven-time champion went on to add that fourth place felt just as “great” as when he first qualified fourth on his first F1 visit to Canada in 2007, yet more down to having endured a “really, really difficult year.”
Explaining what had changed in terms of car performance, Hamilton alluded to their FP2 contrasting set-ups as he commented: “We did a lot of work on the car overnight, we went in two different directions yesterday just to try and get the information.
“We have slightly different set ups for the race still, but we’re in a great position so hopefully I can try and hold position at least.”
George Russell meanwhile had looked good throughout Qualifying and was sat fifth when he gambled on soft slick tyres for his final Q3 run, which ultimately failed to pay off following a spin at Turn 2 due to loss of rear tyre grip on entry as he ultimately qualified eighth.
The 24 year-old Brit post-Qualifying admitted that his tyre gamble was a case of “high risk, high reward” in knowing that slick tyres were his only hope of pole position as everyone else stayed out on intermediate tyres for their final runs.
Explaining how his gamble came about and ultimately undone, Russell said: “It was literally just turn 1, had that been as dry as the other corners we could have been in a really good place.
“We showed some really strong pace today but as I said on the radio, I’m not here to settle for P4/P5, we need to try things and at the end of the day, points are tomorrow and I’m glad we tried something different.”
Russell also made reference to a similar gamble that he made when driving for Williams last season in Sochi, Russia, which saw him qualify third for that race as he justified his openness to taking risks with tyre selection in tricky conditions.
Looking ahead to the race, Russell is positive that he can move forward despite having Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc starting behind him, as he added: “For tomorrow, we should be able to pass the cars around us, starting P8, and move back up to P4/P5.
“Obviously, we have Checo and Charles behind us fighting their way back through so I just need to make sure I get up there as soon as possible tomorrow.”