F1 2023: Mercedes duo confident in race pace for Canadian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell secured solid qualifying positions of fourth and fifth respectively in a chaotic wet session in Montreal. The ever-changing conditions posed a challenge for the drivers, with both briefly at risk of not advancing to Q2. However, they will both move up a spot on the grid following a penalty imposed on Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg for a red flag violation.

Earlier this month, both Mercedes drivers stood on the podium alongside Max Verstappen in Spain, showcasing the team’s progress after implementing a mid-season car concept change. Russell believes that he and Hamilton have found the race pace necessary to replicate that performance on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which offers a vastly different challenge.

Advertisement

Starting in fifth place, Russell expressed optimism about their chances and emphasized their intention to fight for another double podium finish. He highlighted their strong race pace during FP2, acknowledging Ferrari’s surprising competitiveness in their long-run pace but also questioning the fuel load of their rivals. Russell noted that Mercedes was just a small step behind Verstappen and ahead of drivers like Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez in the practice sessions.

The signs are encouraging as they head into the race, particularly considering their promising performance during Friday’s dry second practice session, which was the only opportunity to drive on a dry track throughout the weekend.

When asked about the unknowns regarding Mercedes’ race pace for the expected dry grand prix, Hamilton expressed confidence, stating that there weren’t too many uncertainties. He mentioned their long run during practice but acknowledged that it was conducted early in the session when the track conditions were slower compared to other teams’ later runs. Hamilton remained hopeful that their race pace would be stronger than what was showcased in qualifying and expressed a desire to put pressure on the top two drivers, Alonso and Max Verstappen.