Lewis Hamilton says he was “very grateful” to finish Formula 1′s Canadian Grand Prix in fifth place, after his Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport W09 car suffered with an overheating engine.
Hamilton, from fourth on the grid endured a difficult afternoon at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and dropped to fifth after being passed by Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo at the sole pitstops.
Both Hamilton and his team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, were due to take a fresh upgraded power-unit for the race in Canada. But a last minute reliability scare forced the Mercedes team to revert to the unit used since the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
“From the start I was down on power an my engine was overheating,” explained Hamilton. “I couldn’t get the temperatures down, so I thought it was going to fail.
“Every single lap I was waiting for the power to just drop away and disappear – but it kept going. I could have lost a more points today; fifth is not the strongest result, but it could have been a lot worse.
“I’m very grateful that I finished today’s race and score some points. It was a tough day.”
The result was the first time Hamilton has raced in Canada, finished the race but did not claim a podium spot. He was also out-qualified for just the second time at the circuit by his team-mate, with Bottas matching Nico Rosberg‘s efforts from the 2014 race.
Hamilton went into the weekend leading Sebastian Vettel by fourteen points at the top of the drivers’ standings, but by virtue of his fifth place, and ten points and Vettel’s haul of twenty-five for winning, the German replaced him at the top by a single point.
And the British driver recognised that Ferrari has held an advantage over Mercedes in recent grands prix.
“Ferrari has been doing a slightly better job and brought a better package,” he said. “But we are very close.
“The guys are working really hard, but each and every one of us can always do better and improve. We will just keep our heads down, keep pushing and stay positive.”