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Wolff explains Mercedes leap but Hamilton drop confusing

George Russell on pole a superb fillip for Mercedes but what happened to Lewis Hamilton?

Wolff Monaco
To news overview © XPBimages

Toto Wolff is confident Mercedes now finally has a grip on its car after George Russell landed pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix, but was at a loss to understand Lewis Hamilton's failure to join his fellow Briton on the front row.

Hamilton was outstanding in final practice, posting a lap time around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve that was almost four-tenths of a second quicker than any of his rivals.

Heading into qualifying, Russell and Hamilton were at the top of the timesheet at the end of Q2, and seemingly on course for an all-Mercedes front row going into the top-10 shoot-out.

But whilst Russell landed the crucial lap with his first run in Q3, the grip fell away for Hamilton who will start seventh, his lowest grid slot in Canada in his F1 career.

"We are on pole position, and that was amazing," said Wolff, speaking to Sky Sports F1. "His lap was great.

"As we've said for a while we're going in the right direction. We've brought little bits for the last few races, some more visible than others but definitely heading to a more performant car."

As to Hamilton falling away, however, Wolff added: "It seemed as if Lewis had the upper hand, both cars comfortably beating everyone.

"Then in the end it got so tight, also for George, and for Lewis the time didn't show up. We can't comprehend at the moment why it wasn't a little more in our favour."he briefing [in the morning], and they say the car is well balanced now."

One of the 'little bits' referenced by Wolff is the addition of a new front wing, and although a key piece of the puzzle, Wolff believes the sum of the whole has been the performance driver.

"In Formula 1, it's never about one bit on the car -  since the double diffuser - that makes all the difference," he added.

"We were running the old wing yesterday and we were very competitive, in all conditions. It's what's come on the floor, little bits on the bodywork, and obviously the front wing which is more visible."

Asked whether Mercedes can now finally understand its car following so many wrong turns in the current regulatory era, Wolff said: "Yeah, I think we have a grip now on the car. But one swallow doesn't make a summer. The lap was great but we need to keep both feet on the ground.

"Three races ago we were not good enough and now we have a pole position and a result, and hopefully we can materialise that in the race, and if we're able to be good on the long runs, you can count more on us in the next few races as well."

As to where the car had specifically improved, he said: "More downforce in the right places. We were either fast in the low speed and slow in the high speed, or the other way around, but we never got the right balance.

"Now the drivers have said, and I spoke to Lewis and George after t

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