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Wolff: Mercedes victory shot was only 'a short dream'

Should George Russell have taken a Canadian GP win from pole? "We mustn't be too greedy," said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

Russell rain race Canada
To news overview © XPBimages

Toto Wolff believes hopes of a Canadian Grand Prix victory were fleeting after George Russell collected a first podium of the season for Mercedes.

After giving Mercedes what was also its maiden pole position of the campaign, Russell controlled the first stint on wearing intermediates until McLaren's Lando Norris surged by to take the lead on lap 21.

What unfolded afterwards, as the rain came and went, and through two safety car periods, was a strong drive from the Briton albeit undermined by a couple of costly mistakes that denied him at least an opportunity at runner-up.

Russell had to settle for third, 4.317s behind Verstappen. Asked whether he felt there was a victory on the table for the 26-year-old, Mercedes team principal Wolff, speaking on Sky Sports F1, said: "A victory was maybe a long shot, or a short dream.

"When George was on the hard [tyre], catching up and was showing really strong pace, maybe for a second we thought about it, but you mustn't be too greedy."

Russell mistakes potentially costly

Russell made two key errors, with the first at a time when he was closing in on leader Verstappen on the hard compound rubber. A mistake out of Turn 8, though, allowed Norris to pass again.

Later in the race, and in challenging McLaren's Oscar Piastri for third into Turn 13, Russell misjudged the move, banged wheels with the Australian, which forced him through the chicane and down the escape road. Team-mate Lewis Hamilton eased by.

Russell, on fresh medium tyres at that stage, had the pace to reel in both Hamilton and Piastri to claim third. Second, though, was possible but for that error.

"On one side there was brilliance in the race, and then on the other side, maybe he could have avoided [the mistakes]," assessed Wolff.

"I think the pass [on Piastri] was never on in that corner. As a driver, what makes his overtakes good are that he takes a risk and he drivers very hard, and this one was maybe a bit too ambitious, cost a position, but he regained that afterwards."

As to whether that move, in particular, might have cost him a shot at the win, Wolff replied: "I think P2 was on in the end.

"I don't know whether Lando had an issue, was dropping off, took it easy, but equally it could have been another position without that.

"But what could have been is not relevant. What's important is that we provided the drivers with a quick car. We need to take the positive because we have taken a real step forward, we're bringing bits, and the development direction is true."

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