What happened to Friday’s horrible hopping, bouncing Mercedes in Montreal? How did it evolve into the more stable, polite drive of Saturday and Sunday, allowing Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to finish a strong third and fourth, respectively? The preparations Hamilton didn’t even finish his long run on Friday due to the car’s poor performance as he tried another experimental set-up, with the team relying on his experience to assess the issue while Russell opted for a more traditional trim. After collecting his first podium since Bahrain in Canada, Hamilton says there’s’more to come.’ After combining the data from both setups, the team decided to raise the rear ride height and soften the suspension to reduce bouncing. Russell wasn’t as dissatisfied with his W13 on Friday, but he still thought the new setup was an improvement, but he didn’t consider it a breakthrough. “The porpoising wasn’t as awful as it was in Baku,” he remarked, “but it’s still pounding up and down on the ground.” Because of the circuit’s nature and reduced speed, it’s obviously less harsh, but the underlying concerns are far from remedied. “We’ve gone from high to low.” The stiffness or bottoming haven’t altered, and the performance hasn’t improved or diminished. Even when you’re high, you can have a variety of affects. When you’re low on anything, it has a variety of consequences. It’s a very difficult thing to handle.”
SIDE-BY-SIDE: Watch Hamilton and Magnussen go head-to-head at the start of the race in Canada.
“The potential is truly there if we can get the set-up, right,” said Hamilton, “and I think that’s been the most difficult thing this year: really trying to optimise the set-up. The window for this car is much, much smaller than any other car we’ve experienced. “ We tried two different avenues [on Friday] and the avenue I was down was dreadful. So, we collated all the data we had and made drastic changes to the set-up. And it was a whole lot nicer today. More in line with what we anticipated and it was good. When you get a full race distance in, you find a lot of things out about the car and the relationship you have with the car and data etc. As a result, there’s a lot to glean from today.” In the knowledge that qualifying was set to be wet and the race dry, Mercedes split their rear wing options. Russell got a bigger rear wing to help with qualifying, in the knowledge that the lower straight-line speed would likely make things difficult in the dry of race day. Hamilton’s wing choice was made in the full expectation of it being slower in qualifying but faster in the race. : Sainz proud to be ‘fastest on track for first time this year’ despite missing out on first victory in Canada As it happened, Russell’s brave but doomed attempt at using slicks as a dry line began to appear at the end of Q3 meant he started four places behind Hamilton.
A first podium for Hamilton since Bahrain, he seemed happier in the W13 than he has of late
That was the bad news for Russell. The good news was that the expected penalty of the bigger wing on Sunday didn’t play out. The tailwind down the back straight and pit straight was strong enough not to make things too punishing. It also helped that by chance Russell was never in the position of trying to pass or prevent himself being passed. He could just take the lap time and tyre benefits without the downsides. “The track grip was far greater than I expected,” he said. “We took a bit of risk and we thought the track resetting after the rain yesterday, high degradation, the bigger wing would have been good. But with the change of wind direction, the grip was really strong today.” : Alonso drops from P7 to P9 after being hit with five-second time penalty in Montreal Circuit differences The car performed much better than in the previous race at Baku, even though there are certain similarities in the demands of the two tracks. Mercedes believe there are two contributing factors differentiating the performance. The first is that there are none of the fast long-duration corners like those of Turns 13/14/15 in Baku, which is where the W13 was losing most of its lap time.
Russell managed to climb from eighth on the grid to fourth at the flag