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George Russell

Russell issues stark Mercedes assessment after Montreal practice

After a troublesome Friday that laid bare Mercedes' struggles with their W13 challenger, George Russell says there's plenty for the Silver Arrows still to do this weekend.

Russell Canada
To news overview © XPB

George Russell says Mercedes have a lot of work to do to close the gap to the frontrunners after Friday's practice sessions ahead of Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Russell and teammate Lewis Hamilton ended Free Practice 1 sixth and eighth respectively, while in FP2, Russell finished seventh with Hamilton down in 13th.

Red Bull and Ferrari are likely to be out of sight for Mercedes in Sunday's race, but with Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel finishing fifth and sixth in FP2, Russell said Mercedes would have to work hard to ensure they retain their position as the third-fastest team in 2022.

"We're quite a long way off the pace compared to the front two teams, but also, there's a couple of guys – Fernando, Sebastian – who are very strong as well, so we've got work to do," Russell told Sky Sports F1 after Friday's running.

Montreal circuit exacerbating Mercedes' difficulties

Mercedes have noticeably struggled with porpoising all season long, with Hamilton appearing in considerable discomfort after last week's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, and Russell noted that the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was not providing the Mercedes drivers with any respite.

"It's still very bumpy, to be honest," Russell explained.

"The stiffness of these cars is just brutal.

"I definitely can't run [the kerbs] as much as we used to. It's bumping around everywhere around the circuit.

"We've got the car as soft as we can, but there's something in there that's not allowing us to do that.

"It's a bit of an unknown thing with these new 18-inch tyres and this new iteration of cars, but clearly we need to make some improvements."

			© XPB
	© XPB

Mercedes try different set-ups to counter problems

Russell's downbeat assessment of Mercedes' struggles in Montreal echoed the words of Hamilton, who said his Friday sessions were a "disaster", and claimed his car was getting worse as the team search for different solutions to the recalcitrant W13.

To emphasise the Silver Arrows' troubles in understanding the car, Russell and Hamilton went for very different set-ups in FP2 in the hope that one would prove more suitable than the other, though Russell issued an inconclusive verdict after Friday's running.

"In FP2, that was probably the biggest deviation of set-up Lewis and I have had all season," he added.

"We went in two very drastically different directions, and we'll probably be able to find a happy medium between the two, so we're going to be working hard.

"We just need to make sure we qualify ahead of the midfield. I think we've got a race car that will put us in that third team position spot, but obviously if we qualify a little bit out of position, that'll make it tricky."

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