Formula One Canada GP: Follow all the news and updates from the track
Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has had his struggles this season, even labelling his car ‘undriveable’ pre-race. But 24 hours later he was rejoicing.
Twenty-four hours after lambasting his car as “undriveable” and the worst of his Formula One career, Lewis Hamilton smiled with joy after qualifying fourth for Mercedes at the Canadian Grand Prix.
The seven-time world champion and record seven-time winner at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, where he claimed his maiden F1 success in 2007, said he felt “amazing.”
“I am so happy, to have P4 is so good - I never felt so good to be P4 or at least not for a long time since my early days in 2007 or 2008,” Hamilton said. “It feels like that - so good, to be honest.”
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Heavy rain and a wet track worked out well for Hamilton and Mercedes in an unpredictable session that produced some unexpected results with 40-year-old two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso grabbing second on the grid for Alpine alongside world champion Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.
“It feels so great,” added Hamilton.
“It’s been such a difficult year and it was so tough out there today in those conditions so I am happy for everyone in the team - they are working so hard.”
He said the roller-coaster switch in his form and fortunes came after much overnight effort to revise the set-up of his car after he and team-mate George Russell had gone in different directions on Friday.
“I am hoping it all works again tomorrow and we can at least hold position in the race - but with this car we need everything and more to come together!”
Ricciardo won’t be only Aussie on the grid
Australian driver Oscar Piastri could be on the cusp of a stunning Formula One debut as Williams consider pitching the young gun into the fire in a stunning mid-season switch.
Piastri had been widely rumoured to join Williams in 2023 after a meteoric rise which included winning the driver’s F2 Championship with Prema Racing.
The Canadian Grand Prix starts at 4am AEST.
Already a reserve driver for the Alpine F1 team, the 21-year-old Victorian was set to make his championship debut for that team at Silverstone next month in the first practice - a designated rookie run.
But rumours are growing he could instead be suiting up for Williams, with the team set to dump Canadian Nicholas Latifi, who is sitting at the bottom of the driver standings.
Alpine principal Otmar Szafnauer confirmed Piastri would be driving F1 next year.
When asked if he could be racing in the category this season, Szafnauer said: “I wouldn’t rule it out”.
Could Oscar Piastri be racing in F1 next season?— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) June 18, 2022
Otmar Szafnauer: "Yes"
Could Oscar Piastri be racing in F1 THIS season?
Otmar Szafnauer: "I wouldn't rule it out"
Williams have publicly ruled out a mid-season switch.
And the team will be fuming with speculation not subsiding across the weekend of Latifi’s home Grand Prix despite their efforts.
But several insiders are speculating that Piastri could make the move to the British team as soon as a deal is inked.
Latifi has had a horror season but has hit back at rumours he is set to be replaced, telling French media he knows he has to improve his performance but knows he will drive until the end of the season.
But RacingNews365.com is reporting Piastri has previously been fitted for a seat at Williams and a start at Silverstone in a fortnight not out of the question.
Teen ace Jack Doohan - son of Grand Prix motorcycle legend Mick - has been sounded out as a rookie replacement for Alpine at Silverstone if Piastri gets the nod from Williams.
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Fernando Alonso’s form for Alpine this season is keeping Piastri out of the driver’s seat for now, with the veteran Spaniard having finished second in qualifying at Montreal, earning a place on the front row of the grid for the first time in over a decade.
Piastri would become the 15th Australian driver to take part in an F1 race if he gets a start at Silverstone.
Originally published as Formula One Canada GP: Follow all the news and updates from the track