Lewis Hamilton admitted Ferrari were just too quick on the straights for Mercedes in Canadian GP qualifying, with Sebastian Vettel utilising a powerful engine for a stunning pole position.
Hamilton finished second and two tenths off Vettel on Saturday for the unbeaten Mercedes, whose team boss Toto Wolff claimed Ferrari were gaining as much as six tenths on the main Circuit Gilles VIlleneuve straight.
And Hamilton told Sky F1: “On the straights is really where we lost it. All weekend they’re just pulling so much in the straights. In the race conditions, maybe that’s different.”
The world champion told reporters: “You can now start writing that they have a party mode! I don’t know who said we had a party mode in the beginning but their end-of-straight speed was particularly where we lost out in the last sector.”
Hamilton is still embracing the fight with Vettel in Sunday’s race, which starts at 7.10pm on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday, and was happy with his performance after crashing out in Practice Two and missing a large chunk of running.
“To be back up here was a really great recovery from myself and mechanics, considering where we were,” he added.
Hamilton congratulates Vettel
The grid’s two most successful drivers have become respectful and friendly rivals over recent seasons and had a warm embrace on the grid after the end of qualifying.
“I’m actually really happy for Seb,” said Hamilton, who leads his Ferrari rival by 55 points heading into Sunday’s race.
“He clearly did a really great lap. My first lap was really good and it felt great for a second to be on pole, particularly as I missed all of P2. But it’s been a real solid day from us.”
In a comical moment in the post-race press conference, Vettel inadvertently called Hamilton “handsome” instead of “handy”.
Vettel: “I wasn’t quite sure whether Lewis was improving [on his final lap], normally he is pretty handsome…pretty good around here.
Vettel: “Pretty handy is what I wanted to say but there you go, handsome as well. Look at him!”