MONTREAL (Reuters) - With six Canadian Grand Prix wins Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have routinely flexed their muscles at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve but the Silver Arrows could be a little frail on Sunday with an engine suffering from a power shortage.
On one of Formula One’s power circuits, that could prove a double whammy for championship leader Hamilton as he bids to match Michael Schumacher’s mark of seven victories in Canada against rivals who will all be on upgraded power units.
Mercedes said on Wednesday that they would delay the introduction of a power unit upgrade until after this weekend’s race due to a quality issue while Ferrari and Renault, who supply Red Bull, will deliver new engines.
Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have each won two races this season.
While Ferrari and Red Bull will have fresh engines, Mercedes will go with the same power unit.
“It will be the seventh race on the engine and the goal is to make the engines stay the same the whole way through but naturally if it is degraded you lose horsepower over races...and on a power circuit that will be magnified,” Hamilton told a news conference on Thursday.
“If the others are bringing upgrades and have fresh engines we won’t be in position to fight I don’t think,” he added.
“It is a power circuit and there is power lost over the life of an engine. All that I am hoping for is reliability. That is my only concern.
“Naturally, I am still here to win, we’re going to give it everything we’ve got that’s for sure.”
Even with a diminished power unit Hamilton cannot be overlooked on one of his favourite tracks.
The Briton has had an enduring love affair with Montreal.
It is where he won his first Grand Prix in 2007 and a circuit he has dominated, winning the last three races and four of the last six.
He has also started from pole six times and can set a new mark if he claims top spot on the grid again on Saturday.
“I’m excited to try to build on the history I have here,” said Hamilton, who leads the drivers championship by 14 points over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
“It’s just always been a great racing circuit and its a great city that always provides great racing. I can’t tell you why it is always the case.
“Each driver has their strengths and weaknesses and there are 21 circuits it is impossible to be perfect at every one.
“There are certain circuits that will suit you more than another place and this has been one of those circuits for me.”
Editing by Ed Osmond