Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2024

Hamilton convinced Mercedes are “closer to the front” after practice

Formula 1

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Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes have closed the gap to the leading teams this weekend following their performance in Friday practice.

The team avoided running its new front wing design in the first two sessions which were affected by rain. However they have brought examples for both drivers this weekend, which they are expected to use today.

Over two practice sessions disrupted by intermittent rain, Hamilton set the seventh-fastest time, and said he had been unable to complete his quickest lap. He said it was important to build up confidence around the circuit, particularly as it had been resurfaced since last year’s race.

“I was just raring to go every second,” he told the official F1 channel. “I kept telling the guys ‘let’s just get out, get out, get out’. So I was rushing my guys just to maximise time on-track, whatever the conditions.

“This is a track where it’s building blocks, it’s about just getting as much time on-track and understanding both conditions and also the changes they made to the surface and also to some of the run-off areas and that. But it was a really good session, a good day and the car was feeling strong.”

Hamilton said it’s “too early” to judge whether they will be in contention with the three teams they have trailed so far this year: Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren. However he feels more confident at the wheel of his W15 in Canada.

“I feel like the car is reacting to my inputs,” he said on Friday after practice. “I feel really confident out there. But we won’t know ’til we get out.

“Saturday is often a different day for us but I’m hoping tomorrow’s a good day. But I think in either conditions I felt really strong today, so I’m really hopeful. I do feel like we’re at closer to the front this weekend.”

The disruption to Friday’s running means Mercedes will alter its plan for Saturday’s final practice session, said George Russell.

“I think in FP3 usually you focus on your qualifying runs,” he said. “But we’re going to have to focus a bit on our race runs and then focus, maybe at the end of the session on the quali runs.

“Then we’re going to be very quick in between the two sessions to make changes because, in all honesty, there’s not a lot any team or driver’s learned today. But there’s chances that the weather is going to be similar tomorrow so perhaps, we have.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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3 comments on “Hamilton convinced Mercedes are “closer to the front” after practice”

  1. Good to see a Hamilton who is eager to go out and drive and seems pretty decent. I hope they can build on that and get into the mix at the front.

  2. I don’t imagine Mercedes have actually caught Red Bull, Mclaren or Ferrari. But at a rainy qualifying and race on a circuit Hamilton has historically been strong at it’s probably as good as a chance as Mercedes will get to poach a win

  3. he forgot to check his tire warmers to make sure they weren’t on easy bake settings.

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