A year ago he dominated the grand prix, starting from pole and leading every lap on his way to the win, while behind him there was plenty of drama.
Max Verstappen was in a better mood after a couple of practice sessions at Formula One's Canadian Grand Prix. From the number of red flags with the prancing pony logo, the Italian squad remains the clear favourite in the grandstands.
"I've been watching Formula One for a long time and we're going to see our first Formula One race", said Glynn Cornwall, a fan from Toronto who made the trek with his son and a friend.
Hamilton added: "Straight out of the box today I think we started right with the vehicle set-up".
"Others have, [I've] seen some that have degraded a lot, some haven't". He left the heritage, so the people who fell in love with motor sport back then, it's still them hanging around and their kids and maybe grandchildren by now, I don't know. "The vehicle was incredible, and it just kept getting quicker".
Verstappen completed the 2.71-mile (4.36-km) lap at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 1 minute, 11.599 seconds.
It was the fifth time in seven races that both Williams cars failed to advance out of the first phase. "It's great when you have a session like that".
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First and foremost, the headline lap times of both Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas were misleading.
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany captures the pole position during qualifying at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on Saturday, June 9, 2018.
The Oxfordshire team have scored the fewest points of all this year, and Canadian teenager Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin could manage only 17th and 18th respectively.
"It's such a fun track to drive and we didn't have any problems, I really enjoyed it", said Hamilton, who claimed his first career Grand Prix victory in Montreal and has won the last three straight races on the island circuit. I feel like we had one run here, one run there to kind of get it right.
This power-hungry, hard-braking circuit suits Mercedes and their V6 engine, with the last non-Mercedes win being Daniel Ricciardo's triumph in 2014 in the Red Bull vehicle.
"We have the pace to take the fight to Ferrari and Mercedes".
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, the 2014 Canadian GP victor, is coming off a victory two weeks ago in Monaco. The new specifications are all designed with performance improvements in mind, but it's hard to say it has been smooth running.
The semi-permanent track combines long straights with tight chicanes and each team sets up their vehicle to maximize straight line speed, although the cars also need to deliver a good ride over the relatively tall curbs.