Lewis Hamilton is set to receive a boost in his quest for the world championship, with Mercedes to unleash an upgraded engine for this week’s Canadian Grand Prix.
Hamilton’s peerless Mercedes team have dominated the new campaign, finishing first and second at all but one of the opening six rounds.
The Briton, with four victories under his belt, is 17 points clear of team-mate Valtteri Bottas and 55 ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the championship standings.
And world champions Mercedes are poised to strike another blow to their rivals with the planned introduction of their first fresh engine of the season at Montreal’s high-powered Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Mercedes will be the last of the front-running manufacturers to introduce its new-specification power unit this year, with Ferrari and the Honda-powered Red Bull team having already introduced their first updates in Spain and Azerbaijan respectively.
Drivers are only permitted to use three engines without penalty throughout the 21-round campaign.
The good news for Hamilton comes in stark contrast to the troubles at Ferrari.
Vettel has not won a race since last August’s Belgian Grand Prix, a streak of 14 rounds, and Ferrari’s under-fire team boss Mattia Binotto provided a rather bleak assessment of their chances.
“We know we’re not competitive enough right now and, for the time being, we haven’t got any more changes coming on the car that will have a significant effect on the problems we have encountered since the start of the season,” he said.
“We arrive here ready to do our best and to put the mistakes of the last few races behind us.”
Hamilton has won three of the last four races staged in Canada and will match Michael Schumacher’s record of seven wins there with another triumph on Sunday.
The world champion, 34, who last weekend flew to New York via a stop-over at Mercedes’ Northamptonshire factory following Niki Lauda’s funeral in Vienna, will face the media in Montreal on Thursday.