Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Lewis Hamilton Insists Mercedes Have “Work to Do” Despite Topping Second Practice in Montreal

Lewis Hamilton has insisted that Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team have work to do, despite topping the second practice session in Montreal.

Hamilton proved to be the faster of the two Mercedes drivers, setting the fastest time of the day at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. With a time of 1:13.718s, which he achieved during his qualifying simulation run in the extended Free Practice Two session, with the first session having limited running due to a track CCTV problem.

The seven-time World Champion admitted that he loves racing in Montreal and that he really enjoyed the first day, despite the disruptions.

“I love driving this track, it’s mega! From the moment you leave the pitlane you just think “yeah, this is wicked!” It is probably the bumpiest circuit that we’ve been on for a long time, however. I think everyone is struggling with the bumps though.”

Hamilton reflected on the first day of running in Montreal and all the disruption that went on during the first practice session, and while he was pleased with the progress the team has made, he played down expectations.

“Overall, the car didn’t feel bad, but we’ve definitely got some work to do. We’ve just got to improve our ride control and balance through the corner, and I think we will be alright. The car overall is a step forward from earlier in the season and I do think I’m feeling the improvements that we saw in Monaco and Barcelona.

“It was a strange day with the issues in FP1. I felt really bad for all the fans out there; we’ve had a great crowd out here since yesterday and the city’s been pumping. I’m glad that we got out there eventually though and it was good to have a 90-minute session. We haven’t had one of them in a long time!”

George Russell: “I don’t think we can read too much into the timings”

Credit: Steve Etherington

George Russell has played down expectations following an impressive Free Practice Two session from Mercedes that saw him and his teammate finish second and first on the timesheets respectively.

The two Britons put in their qualifying laps later than the rest of the grid, with the Brackley-based team concentrated on their race simulation programme early on with the threat of rain looming. Russell explained that with the laps coming later, the timings are inaccurate compared to their competitors at the front such as Oracle Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari.

“It’s been quite a strange day given what happened in FP1 and then the extension of FP2. It was a reasonably productive session, but I don’t think we can read too much into the timings. We did our low-fuel qualifying preparation towards the end of the session when the track was quicker.

“Barcelona and here are two totally different circuits, so it’s hard to compare how the car is performing from one to another. Barcelona is a super smooth, high-speed track whilst here it is incredibly bumpy. I do think the upgrades we’ve brought have helped the limitations of the car though.”

Russell looked ahead to qualifying today and is hoping that Mercedes can challenge with Ferrari and Aston Martin Armaco Cognizant F1 Team, but the Kings-Lynn-born driver hopes that the potential wet conditions could play into their hands.

“Pace-wise, I think we’re going to be on the tail end of Ferrari and Aston Martin in qualifying. We know it comes to us on a Sunday though and that’s when it matters. It also looks like it’s going to be wet tomorrow so let’s see what that brings.”