Formula 1

Formula 1's Latest Rumours and Talk: Lewis Hamilton on Canada, Mercedes and More

Oliver HardenFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2014

Formula 1's Latest Rumours and Talk: Lewis Hamilton on Canada, Mercedes and More

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    After a Monaco Grand Prix surrounded by tension, a return to Canada is just what Lewis Hamilton needs right now.

    The 2008 world champion is close to unbeatable on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and he has spoken of his desire to claim his fourth win in seven years at the Montreal track.

    A series of updates for the Mercedes team is likely to help the cause of Hamilton and teammate Nico Rosberg, with Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe explaining the current mindset and approach of the pace-setting outfit.

    Despite his difficult start to the season, Kimi Raikkonen has claimed that his mindset remains unharmed, blaming bad luck for his failure to meet the standards of teammate Fernando Alonso at Ferrari.

    Raikkonen's countryman, Valtteri Bottas, stands a good chance of claiming solid points in Montreal and has been discussing the circuit at which he began to raise eyebrows a year ago.

    Closing this week's roundup is a MotoGP star flirting with the prospect of driving a Formula One car.

    And no—his name isn't Valentino Rossi. 

Lewis Hamilton Ready to Fight Back in Canada

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    With the toys now back in the pram, Lewis Hamilton has set his sights on reliving his previous memories of the Canadian Grand Prix.

    The 2008 world champion has excelled around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the past, securing his first pole position and victory at the track in 2007 before winning again at the circuit in 2010 and 2012.

    Hamilton's four-race winning streak was brought to an end at the Monaco Grand Prix, where he lost his world championship lead to Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, and the British driver is keen to get back in the groove at Montreal.

    He told Mercedes' official website:

    Monaco was another great weekend for the team and I'm so proud of all the hard work the guys put in to make it happen. Of course, from a personal perspective it wasn't what I was aiming for. I race to win every time and unfortunately it just wasn't my weekend. But I drover with all my heart and gave it all I could, so I head to the next race with even more energy and determination. Montreal is one of my favourite weekends of the year. It's where I won my first Grand Prix back in 2007 and I've had another two victories there since, so it holds special memories for me. The city itself is incredible. It's one I always love to go to and there's always a great crowd, so I'm hoping for them that the weather is good and we can put on a great show!

    It's a circuit where you have to be aggressive, so it's always suited my style.

Mercedes to Bring Chassis and Power-Unit Updates to Canada

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    With a 141-point lead at the top of the constructors' standings and with the drivers' championship a two-horse race between their drivers, Mercedes are the one team who don't need to improve their car.

    But the 2014 pace-setters are going to do so anyway, with upgrades to both their car and their engine—which is used by the McLaren, Williams and Force India teams—set to be introduced for this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

    The team's executive director, Toto Wolff, is keen for the Silver Arrows to maintain the work rate that has led to Mercedes winning every race so far this season, telling James Galloway of Sky Sports:

    We went into that [Monaco] race convinced that our rivals could outperform us and that's how we worked to prepare for the weekend: like we were the underdogs.

    So we were pleased to see that we still had a good advantage at the front of the field. The team is operating at a very high level right now but we need to keep the ball flat, stay humble and keep pushing.

    On paper, you might say that Canada is the kind of circuit that should suit our package. But we don't have a crystal ball and we have been bitten by that way of thinking in the past. We know that our rivals are getting closer and that we will need to extract every bit of potential to deliver a strong performance in Montreal.

    Wolff's colleague, Paddy Lowe, has admitted that Mercedes' eagerness to improve their power unit is a consequence of the unusual engine failure experienced by the Williams of Valtteri Bottas in the latter stages of the Monaco Grand Prix.

    Lowe added: 

    In Montreal, we have a circuit at which Lewis has traditionally excelled and, with both him and Nico on top of their game, we're expecting them to push each other all the way through the weekend once more.

    As always this will of course depend on the team providing a good package and equally strong reliability. We will be bringing a number of updates to the car, both on the power unit and aerodynamic side, so it should be an interesting weekend.

    There were some concerns after Monaco following a retirement for Valtteri Bottas but the [Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains] team at Brixworth have been working extremely hard to understand that problem and ensure that it is contained across every engine. We are confident that this will be the case.

Kimi Raikkonen Rues Bad Luck but Motivation Remains High

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    Having failed to score a podium finish so far this season, Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen feels bad luck is masking his true form.

    Raikkonen is yet to get the better of teammate Fernando Alonso in 2014, but he was on course for third place in the Monaco Grand Prix until the Marussia of Max Chilton made contact with the Finn's car under safety car conditions, causing a puncture for the No. 7 Ferrari.

    The incident with Chilton followed collisions with Kevin Magnussen's McLaren in the Malaysian and Bahrain grands prix, leaving the 2007 world champion well adrift of Alonso.

    And Raikkonen claims these circumstances have prevented him from showcasing his talents alongside Alonso, telling Ben Anderson of Autosport:

    I have driven well many times, but there's always been something going wrong in the races—like punctures from other people hitting me—and it's just never come together really.

    It's a shame. Again we had a good position [in Monaco] but got a puncture so it's just bad luck.

    Small things go wrong and make a massive difference in the end.

    Despite his poor results, Raikkonen has insisted that his motivation to race in Formula One remains as strong as ever, but he did admit he would like to return to rallying in the future.

    He told Ferrari's official website:

    We [Ferrari] are doing an incredible amount of work and I think we will sort out our problems, but you need time. If we manage it before the end of the season the results will come because my motivation is intact.

    I have more experience compared to when I won the title and I am a few years older but I don’t feel it and I still have a great desire to race. As for rallying? Certainly I would like to do more of it but for now I’m completely focused on Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas Keen to Replicate 2013 Canada Performance

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Valtteri Bottas announced his arrival in Formula One at last year's Canadian Grand Prix, thriving in wet conditions to qualify third.

    And the Finn is hoping to replicate that form in 2014 at a track that, due to its long straights, is likely to favour the Williams car and its Mercedes power unit.

    Bottas, who has scored points in all but one race this season, said in an emailed press release:

    I have some great memories from Canada last year as I qualified my career best position of third. The track is such a contrast from the last race in Monaco, and I think it plays to the strengths of the car, such as good straight line speed. We are aiming to continue our record of points in every race so far this season. It's a special track not only in the fact that it's technically a street circuit, but that there are a lot of big braking zones and few fast corners.

    Meanwhile, Rob Smedley, Williams' head of vehicle performance, discussed the challenges of the Montreal circuit, adding:

    Canada is a very special circuit due to the long fast straights and slow corners. We will take the same compounds as Monaco so we know how these tyres work from the last race. If the weather is cool we could suffer from tyre heating issues and if it's hot then there is the chance of thermal degradation. Tyre issues are something we are aware of and so will be a focus throughout the weekend. Kerbing is also important in Montreal as being able to ride the kerbs over the two chicanes is key to a quick lap time. Our car is aerodynamically efficient which is vital on the long straights in Canada so we feel we are in good shape.

MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez Keen to Test F1 Machinery

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    Marc Marquez, the MotoGP champion, has discussed his eagerness to drive a Formula One car in the future.

    The Spaniard was visited by compatriot Fernando Alonso, the two-time F1 champion, during the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello last weekend as the Ferrari driver killed time between the Monaco and Canadian grands prix.

    Marquez, who went on to win in Mugello—his sixth consecutive victory of the 2014 season—said his meeting with Alonso has inspired him to get behind the wheel of an F1 car.

    The 21-year-old told ESPN.co.uk

    Someday I would like to try. I don't know when. Not early. I've never met [Alonso] before and it was so nice to speak with a Formula One driver. It was his first time and he said it was unbelievable to see MotoGP live.

    Then we spoke about Formula One. We had the same opinion—if you have a good car, you can [do well] and if you have the worst car it is impossible. The car makes the difference [for success] not the driver.

    About MotoGP he said that on the TV everything looks easy, that we are so smooth, but when you are here you can see that the bike is moving and sliding all the time. We had the same opinion, that with the bike, with your body and riding style you are able to manage and improve the [performance] of the bike.

    Although Marquez said that any running in a Formula One car will not occur for the foreseeable future, his connections to companies that also have an interest in F1 could make it relatively simple for the Spaniard to climb into a cockpit.

    His employers, Honda, are set to return to the sport next year as McLaren's power-unit supplier, while Marquez is personally sponsored by Red Bull, the four-time world champions.

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