George Russell, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2024

Russell believes Mercedes finally made real gains after years of “zig-zagging”

Formula 1

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George Russell believes Mercedes are finally making real progress with their car after taking pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix.

The team has struggled to master the new regulations which were introduced in 2022, the same year Russell joined the team from Williams. His pole position this weekend is the fourth the team has taken in this time, but they have only scored a single win, his victory at Interlagos in 2022.

However Russell believes the team is on an upward swing thanks to the upgrades it has introduced in recent races, such as the new front wing it brought in Monaco.

“When you have a number of years with the same regulations, you sort of hone in on that sweet spot,” he said. “We’ve sort of been zig-zagging over these past couple of years and as we’ve probably entered the last six months, those zigzags have narrowed and we’ve sort of really been able to fine-tune what it is we want from the car.”

George Russell, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2024
Mercedes looked quick all weekend in Montreal
Mercedes has long hoped to achieve the kind of leaps forward in performance McLaren has exhibited since it brought the first of a series of successful upgrades at last year’s Austrian Grand Prix.

“It just goes to show that small changes can actually bring big improvements in performance,” said Russell. “We saw it with McLaren, ourselves have made a big jump as well, especially in terms of the pecking order.

“Let’s see if this performance is sustainable. But right now I don’t see any reason why not. We think we’ve got more to come.”

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Mercedes have often looked competitive in the early stages of practice during race weekends this year, only to slip back in qualifying. But in Canada Lewis Hamilton headed the final practice session and the two cars were quickest in Q2.

“I think every lap we’ve done this weekend the car’s been feeling good,” said Russell after qualifying. “We’ve always been at the upper end of the time sheets.

“We were talking yesterday, why do we think we were so competitive on FP1, FP2, and obviously on FP3, really fast as well. So we need to see in the next races if that continues.

“But obviously last week in Monaco, we were a tenth from the front row. Here, on pole. And this is the first two races we’ve had with the upgrades. So, time will tell. We [don’t want to] get carried away with ourselves but it’s looking good so far.”

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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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