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Friday June 6, 2014 MYT 2:52:10 AM
Friday June 6, 2014 MYT 2:53:27 AM
by steve keating
MONTREAL (Reuters) - There are signs of strain between Mercedes team mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg but do not expect to see any cracks in their domination of the Formula One season at this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.
With six wins from six races, Mercedes have ruled the podium with Hamilton taking four victories sandwiched between wins by his German team mate at the season opener in Australian and two weeks ago in Monaco.
Adding to the confident mood at Mercedes, Hamilton has won three times in Canada and took the first grand prix victory of his career at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, with McLaren in 2007.
"There are some tracks you like more than others and this is one of those circuits that I particularly like," Hamilton told reporters on Thursday. "I like coming to Canada, I always have a great response from the fans and this is one of the best Grands Prix of the year in terms of the turn out and the city."
The track, with its long straights, should also be ideally suited to Mercedes' speed and power.
Rivals up and down the paddock felt Mercedes, chasing a sixth one-two finish in a row, would be hard to beat on the island circuit.
"Historically we have always struggled a little bit here," said Red Bull's world champion and last year's Canadian winner Sebastian Vettel.
"Our approach in the past was not to be fastest down the straights and we are probably a little bit down in terms of power still so it will be difficult to match the Mercedes power down the straights.
"We will try to do our best down the straights and better than the rest in the corners. We have reason to be confident but it could be a difficult weekend," added the German, whose team are powered by Renault engines.
One thing that could slow Mercedes is if the rivalry between the two Mercedes championship contenders gets out of hand after flaring up in Monaco.
"If they hit each other it is good for us," said Vettel, who knows something of team rivalries having had heated differences with his former team mate Mark Webber. "If they take themselves out but they are clever enough not to, you can't rely on that.
"I think you shouldn't be at war with your team mate because it hurts the team atmosphere but you don't have to be best friends," added the champion.
Hamilton again emphasised that he had cleared the air with Rosberg after a frosty and controversial Monaco Grand Prix.
The Briton had suggested after qualifying for that race that Rosberg had deliberately run wide in the final seconds, bringing out yellow warning flags and forcing him to slow when he might have gone faster than the German.
Hamilton, who lost the overall lead in the championship to Rosberg after the German ended his run of four wins in a row, took to Twitter to declare fences had been mended.
The Tweet was accompanied by a link to a photograph of the two, on unicycles and smiling, from their teenage years.
"It’s done and dusted and we look forward to working together to try to help this team win the Constructors’ Championship," said Hamilton. "We spoke and then we individually spoke to the team and nothing has really changed.
"The team has done a great job in supporting us. It's full steam ahead, we had dinner with the team yesterday and things have never been better. We just go from strength to strength," added the 29-year-old.
"People have ups and downs and this is no different from any other experience me and Nico have had in...God knows how many years we've been racing together. We move on, we’re pushing forward. There’s a long long way to go in the season so we’re looking forward to that battle."
(Editing by Alan Baldwin)
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