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Hamilton fears Mercedes engine delay hands boost to Ferrari

Four-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was hoping for an engine upgrade in Montreal © AFP/File / BORIS HORVAT

MONTREAL, Canada, Jun 7Lewis Hamilton fears the momentum may be with Ferrari this weekend after his Mercedes team on Thursday confirmed they will not be upgrading their engines for the Canadian Grand Prix.

The championship leader and defending four-time champion said that the power-hungry nature of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve made engines a decisive factor, adding that he believed Ferrari were favourites.

He leads Ferrari’s four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel by 14 points in the title race.

“This is a power circuit so it was our target (to have the new engine) and it definitely would have been helpful,” said Hamilton, who is aiming for a record-equalling seventh victory in Canada this weekend.

“But the guys worked as hard as they could and had to take a sensible decision to not bring it here, which is definitely unfortunate.

“We’ll have to try and make do without it, but it will mean our performance is probably not the greatest.”

Finnish team-mate Valtteri Bottas also lamented the delayed arrival of the new engine, but said he was confident the original one would do a good job.

“It is not really such an old engine and it is not a bad one either,” he said.

Anticipating that both Ferrari and Red Bull use upgraded engines, Briton Hamilton added: “If the others are bringing upgrades and have fresh engines, particularly given how close we are, we won’t be in a position to fight for the victory.

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“This is a power circuit and there is power lost over an engine’s life. All I’m hoping for is reliability. If I’m on the seventh race with a difficult circuit on engines, I want to see it through. That’s my main concern.”

Hamilton added: “Ferrari are particularly very strong on the straights so it’ll be interesting to see if we are able to match them or not, but we’ll give it everything, that’s for sure.”

A team spokesman said the new units would be used at the French Grand Prix later in June.

“We had hoped to introduce the PU2 this weekend,” said the spokesman. “But a quality issue means that his has now been delayed by one race.

“So all Mercedes-powered cars will be running PU1 again this weekend, too, before the new units are available in France.”

Mercedes engines are used not only by the factory race team, but also by the Force India and Williams outfits.

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