Russell: Victory possible, Mercedes have “fastest car”

Jaden Diaz

George Russell claimed a fantastic Pole Position in Canada, setting an identical time to Max Verstappen. The British driver was consistently quick in qualifying, with the W15 showing tremendous pace in all conditions. Russell was happy with his car’s behaviour throughout the session. He is confident about his chances of victory in the Grand Prix.

Toto Wolff insisted after the Monaco GP that Mercedes were making progress. He downplayed the final result at the Principality, instead focusing on the gains unlocked in the factory. This sentiment was not received too well by fans, who have heard far too often about progress at Brackley’s factory that failed to materialise.

However, this time was different. The W15 car has seen several upgrades fitted in recent events, which James Allison and his technical team believe have made a difference.

Perhaps most significantly, Allison made the decision to abandon the team’s initial front-wing concept. The front-wing brought to the W15 in Bahrain was generating too much load, which interfered with the balance of the car.

Ironically, abandoning their initial specification and designing a similar model has significantly improved the car’s balance.

Of course, nothing is guaranteed for today’s race. There is very limited race pace data to analyse, which puts teams in a tricky position.

Canadian Grand Prix, Saturday – LAT Images

George Russell aims for victory in Canada

This doesn’t phase George Russell, though, who is very confident about his chances.

The Mercedes driver has detailed the importance of Mercedes identifying a clear development path and understanding their package to catapult their trajectory:

“Yeah it feels amazing, I mean, so much hard work back at the factory. So much hard work after all of these years, sort of zig-zagging around changing the philosophy and concept. 

“The past probably six months, those zig-zags have got a lot smaller and narrower. The upgrades we brought in Monaco and a few more bits in the car this week have sort of transformed the car.

“It’s feeling great, and it’s so good to clinch this pole.

“I see no reason why not [why he can’t win tomorrow]. We have the fastest car, I’m feeling great behind the wheel. The biggest challenge is going to be the weather. 

Canadian Grand Prix, Saturday – LAT Images

“Here in Monreal, it’s so difficult to predict. One minute, rain is pouring, [and] then the sun is out.

“At the moment, the forecasts look similar. So when the car is fast, you want a quiet, clean, easy race weekend. 

“But I’m feeling good. No matter what’s thrown at us, I think we can handle it.”

Of course, Mercedes’s aim will be to secure victory in Canada. Eighteen months after Russell converted his Pole Position into a win in Brazil, the 26-year-old has another opportunity.

However, this is not the only thing Toto Wolff’s team can pay attention to. Even if victory escapes them in Montreal, today will show if Mercedes are capable of maintaining the highest level of performance over a race distance.

If the W15 can maintain this pace on race day, their trajectory over the next few rounds will be fascinating to observe.