London: Ferrari expect Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen to be fighting for victory in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix despite McLaren’s recent dominance.
“We believe we will have a strong package for this event,” said sporting director Stefano Domenicali on the team’s Web site (www.ferrari.com).
“There is no reason why we should not be able to fight for the win in Montreal after a weekend in Monaco where our performance did not accurately reflect our potential.”
McLaren’s double world champion Fernando Alonso and rookie team mate Lewis Hamilton lead the standings with 38 points each after five races, with Massa third on 33 and Raikkonen another 10 points back.
While the McLaren drivers lapped everyone but Massa in Monaco 10 days ago before a row over so-called ‘team orders´ overshadowed their success, they cannot expect such an advantage in North America.
Ferrari have by far the best record at a circuit named after their late great Gilles Villeneuve, with 10 wins there since 1978. McLaren have just half that tally.
“Monaco is just a distant memory. Now everything is changed for Canada,” said Raikkonen, who finished eighth in the Mediterranean principality, on his Web site (www.kimiraikkonen.com).
“One thing is for sure, McLaren will not be one minute ahead of us like they were in Monaco.
“The gap is not that big and my position is not that miserable,” he added. “A couple of good races for us and a couple of bad ones for the competitors and the whole situation would look totally different.”
Alonso won in Canada with Renault last year in a race that marked a breakthrough for him in North America.
The 25-year-old had never previously stood on the podium in Canada but that win also proved to be a turning point, with Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher fighting back from 25 points down to take the overall lead with two races remaining.
“We have a great momentum in the team right now,” said Alonso in a team preview. “We have some new packages on the car for Montreal. We are all pushing hard to attack and fight for more race victories.”
Unlike Monaco, Hamilton will feel free to race his illustrious team mate as he aims for a sixth podium finish in six races. The 22-year-old, runner-up in his last four starts, is making his Montreal debut.
“I cannot wait to get back on track and continue to focus on racing,” he said.