Lewis Hamilton sets minimum target for Canadian Grand Prix after qualifying P4 | F1 | sport

Lewis Hamilton admits he has never felt happier qualifying P4 after a solid run in wet conditions on Saturday and has set himself the target of not going lower than that in Sunday’s race. There was a small window of opportunity for Mercedes to carve out a place on the grid when Charles Leclerc took on a new power unit in FP3 to propel him straight to the back of the field for Sunday.

And better news was to come for Mercedes when Sergio Perez crashed out in Q2, meaning only Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc were out of reach. George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were finding grip and enjoying their race much more than Friday’s two practice sessions.

Hamilton also regularly faced Russell before the latter decided to make the bold decision to switch to softs for his second run. The seven-time world champion moved on to new intermediates for his second run and initially took up a provisional position on the front row.

Realistically, the third was the best Hamilton could hope for, with Sainz quickly matching Verstappen’s pace. But Fernando Alonso created the surprise of the day by qualifying second fastest, separating Verstappen and Sainz.

Hamilton has done enough to hold onto fourth place ahead of the two Haas drivers and thinks he should aim to finish where he started, or even fight for an eventual podium.

“I feel amazing, I’m so happy,” he said. “P4 has never felt better if I’m being honest.

“Maybe when I was in my first year of racing in Formula 1 it was like that. Especially because it’s been a really tough year, so to get through what we were up against today, really so happy to have us there and put us in a position.

“Everyone is working so hard and we are constantly facing challenges with this car. Tomorrow we should be in a much better position. We have a slightly different setup for the race but we are in a great position so I hope I can at least hold my post.”

Hamilton went on to admit that the wet conditions clearly played into his hands. But he still begged the team to keep working to find solutions to fix the W13 in the future.

“If it was dry, I don’t know if we would be in this position,” he added. “The rain always opens up opportunities and I love this track.

“It’s been tough so far this weekend and there’s still a lot of work to do tomorrow, but I hope the whole team is feeling positive, keep pushing. We need you. I have need you. We all work as hard as we can and I believe in them so much.”

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