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The Brit finished third at the Monaco Grand Prix a fortnight ago and gave up some ground to race runner-up Vettel, but the Formula One calendar now returns to Hamilton’s most favoured venue.
It was at the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix that Hamilton won his first Formula One race, and he’s since gone on to emerge victorious in five of the last eight trips to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.
A win on Sunday would also see Hamilton draw level with F1 legend Michael Schumacher as the joint-most successful Canadian Grand Prix driver of all time on seven titles apiece.
Read on for a preview of Sunday’s showdown as Hamilton seeks to become the first driver to win four Canadian Grands Prix in succession.
Date: Sunday, June 10
Time: 7:10 p.m. BST/2:10 p.m. ET
TV Info: Sky Sports F1, ESPN2
Qualifying takes place on Saturday, June 9, from 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, with live coverage on Sky Sports F1.
Montreal likely brings nothing but good memories for Hamilton, who will hope to extend the gap that separates him from second-place Vettel in the standings with a victory on Sunday.
Fourteen points split the top two drivers in the standings, and Hamilton said in the buildup to Sunday’s duel that he’s wary of Ferrari, who could steal the lead with the right results, via Sky Sports F1:
Sky Sports F1 🏎 @SkySportsF1
WATCH: Lewis Hamilton says Ferrari are favourites for win after Mercedes’ engine upgrade delay Full story: https://t.co/NdxZxWZPhq #SkyF1 #F1 #CanadianGP https://t.co/v0quLL77Hw
Victory in the Canadian Grand Prix hasn’t always been a precursor to championship success for Hamilton, who has only gone on to win the overall Formula One title in two of the seven years he’s won in Montreal (2015, 2017).
The 33-year-old shared memories of his first victory in Canada, and he returns to the circuit 11 years later with the opportunity to join Schumacher as the event’s most successful driver and set a new Montreal record for successive wins:
Lewis Hamilton @LewisHamilton
This is the exact moment I won my first ever F1 race 11 years ago. A moment when a dream became a reality and it felt amazing, truly amazing. If I can make a dream happen through never giving up, then you can too. Never stop, always believe!! 📷 @latimages https://t.co/IvCYZHdeIN
Hamilton will take some stopping considering he’s finished outside the podium places in only one of the six races so far this season. Ferrari duo Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen come closest to that podium ratio with three top-three finishes apiece this term.
Vettel may be behind in the standings, but Channel 4 F1 pointed to evidence of how fine the margins are in terms of performance:
Channel 4 F1® @C4F1
Sebastian Vettel has led the most laps of any driver so far this season (139), despite not leading any laps in the last two races! 😮 The Ferrari ace is seeking his 50th win this weekend, but has only won once in Montreal… 🤔 #C4F1 🇨🇦 #CanadianGP https://t.co/Msqo6bILXZ
The last driver to win at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve bar Hamilton was Red Bull star Daniel Ricciardo in 2014, and he received some positive news on Thursday after it seemed he would incur a grid penalty.
BBC Sport’s Andrew Benson confirmed the Australian had escaped punishment for an engine complaint, although another setback on Saturday could still see him suffer a setback:
Andrew Benson @andrewbensonf1
So, after Adrian Newey said on Monday that Ricciardo would get a grid penalty for engine parts in Canada, today Ricciardo says no, he won’t. “For now we still have enough parts to run” unless there’s a problem in practice that needs a new part
Hamilton, Vettel and Ricciardo are the only three drivers who have topped podiums so far in 2018, although the Finnish pair of Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) and Raikkonen have looked like threats at times.
It would take a run against the odds for a new race winner to emerge and stop Hamilton’s supreme form in Montreal, with the reigning champion on the cusp of commanding a place on par with Schumacher on Sunday.