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Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix 2024

Why Mercedes must show more in the hunt for Red Bull and Verstappen

RacingNews365's technical expert Paolo Filisetti dissects Mercedes' potential Canadian Grand Prix resurgence

Verstappen Russell race Canada
To news overview © XPBimages

The Canadian Grand Prix may not have been a thriller from a technical standpoint in terms of the number of upgrades, but it did offer a fascinating picture into the improvements of Red Bull's RB20 and Mercedes' W15.

Red Bull took an evolution of the rear wing it introduced in Monaco and made specific modifications to it to suit the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. As for Mercedes, the W15 featured changes to the steering bar, which is now parallel to the lower wishbone at the front. 

The improved balance cannot be attributed to this upgrade, however, its new front wing which was also introduced in the Monaco Grand Prix, appears to be a positive factor. A larger portion of the airflow is now directed to the central part of the floor.  

It is essential to make a very accurate distinction between the dynamic performance of the two cars. Despite Max Verstappen's victory, the RB20 could not be considered the most balanced car. 

Problems with direction and traction were evident in the first free practice session and were partly caused by the unpredictable weather conditions. The set-up chosen was ultimately a compromise between dry and wet conditions, with unusual driving heights. 

Verstappen, however, managed to correctly read the variations in his car's dynamic behaviour, and adapt his driving style. This made the car less unpredictable especially in qualifying and allowed him to match the time of polesitter George Russell. 

The race

In the race, Verstappen's pace ensured that, even with a full tank of fuel, his car was not suffering. However, the Dutch driver did repeatedly doubt the traction provided by the rear wheels. 

It seemed that the unpredictable weather conditions and the poor grip of the asphalt made the Canadian GP a simple test for Verstappen. 

His impeccable car control in mixed conditions gave him an advantage, which made up for the RB20 not performing at its best, as highlighted by Sergio Perez's huge problems.

Returning to Mercedes' W15, the car benefitted from the absence of high-speed corners in Canada. Thus the good performance on twisty layouts was confirmed, but it still seems that the overall result and Russell's pole was related to the characteristics of the circuit. 

The Spanish Grand Prix will definitely be a relevant test to verify that statement, and whether Mercedes has made a significant improvement.

View a drawing of the RB20's rear wing in Canada below! 

			© Paolo Filisetti/RacingNews365
	© Paolo Filisetti/RacingNews365

Also interesting:

Max Verstappen hit back after an out-of-sorts Monaco GP, Sergio Perez floundered again - and into a controversial retirement. How much damage can Ferrari and McLaren inflict with Red Bull fighting with one hand tied behind its back, did the Milton Keynes-based team re-sign Perez too soon? After a thoroughly entertaining Canadian GP, host Nick Golding is joined by Ian Parkes and Samuel Coop to analyse all things.

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here

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