By Ian Gordon
MONTREAL (Reuters) – Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix as favorite for another win but Formula One’s triple world champion remains wary of potential potholes ahead.
The Mercedes driver has won four times at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, including from pole last year, while team-mate and championship leader Nico Rosberg has never tasted victory in Montreal.
Hamilton’s first win of the campaign in Monaco two weeks ago ended a barren run marked by bad luck and closed the gap to the German to 24 points.
Another victory for the Briton, and a blank for Rosberg, would see Hamilton riding a wave to the top of the standings on Sunday night.
“This has been a naturally good track for me so hopefully I should be able to capitalize on that,” Hamilton told reporters on a cold Thursday. “But the weather is all over the place and I’ve had bad races here as well.
“I feel positive coming here but I am conscious how the season has gone so far. I am not arriving all excited thinking everything is going great again just because we have had one win.
“There are potholes we could easily maneuver but I’m equally conscious we could fall down them.”
Hamilton’s first win at the track came in his rookie season in 2007 but there have been some lows.
In 2008 he collided with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen in the pitlane and retired, and in 2011 he collided with then-McLaren team mate Jenson Button while trying to overtake and went into the wall.
He admitted his head was ‘banging’ after celebrating a much-needed win in Monaco, where Rosberg finished seventh.
“I arrived at the last race 43 points behind and I arrive now 24 behind so it just shows the goalposts are moving all the time,” added Hamilton. “With 15 races still left, anything can happen.”
Rosberg claimed he had no idea of Hamilton’s record in Canada.
After opening the season with four wins in a row, the German has not been on the podium for the past two grands prix and finished seventh in Monaco.
“You are always going to have those races. For me it is already a thing of the past,” said Rosberg. “I am feeling great and I know if I get things right I can go for the win here.”
(Editing by Alan Baldwin.)