The goalposts may have moved in Formula One this season but, after a dominant one-two in Canada on Sunday, triple world champion Lewis Hamilton feels Mercedes are back on target.
The champions looked their old selves in Montreal as Hamilton led team-mate Valtteri Bottas to their first one-two since the Finn joined in January as a replacement for retired champion Nico Rosberg.
The Briton’s 56th career victory was his sixth in Canada and third in a row, and he turned the tables on Ferrari with a peerless performance.
Hamilton qualified on pole, the 65th of his career to equal the tally of his late Brazilian boyhood idol Ayrton Senna, led from start to finish and also set the fastest lap to complete the ‘grand slam’.
Coming two weeks after Monaco, where he had qualified badly and finished seventh as Ferrari enjoyed their first one-two since 2010, it was the perfect weekend.
“I think for us, we really solidified our strength, we’ve got a better understanding of the car and hope we can put it in the same spot in the following races,” he told Sky Sports television.
“Also we know now, after the last race, where to develop this car moving forwards which I think is really going to make a difference in winning this championship,” Hamilton warned, however, that there was still much to do and it would take time.
“I don’t think we’ve completely got rid of all the issues we have,” he said. “We’ve understood the tyres, utilized the tyres a lot better this weekend, but I think there’s still things we’ve understood but that you can’t just fix in two weeks.
“So in terms of where we direct the development, the guys now in the factory have a much better goal. The goalposts have moved, but they know where it is and now they can work full steam ahead towards that.”
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, a four-times champion, finished fourth on Sunday and saw his lead over Hamilton cut to 12 points with 13 races remaining.
The German and Hamilton now have three wins each, with Bottas taking the other. Vettel had also qualified on the front row in Montreal but the expected battle between the two title contenders failed to materialize with the German having to fight through the field after his car’s front wing was broken on the opening lap.
Hamilton had no doubt Ferrari would be back to speed immediately. “They are still very, very quick. They’ve been so consistent all year. This is the only weekend they’ve had not the greatest result but they’ve not had a seventh or something like we’ve had,” he said. “So they are still very much there, they are still going to be very hard to beat.”