Canadian GP: Lewis Hamilton, encouraged by Mercedes’ performance in Montreal training | F1 News

Lewis Hamilton says he feels Mercedes is “closer to the front” at the Canadian Grand Prix after being encouraged by his car’s performance during Friday practice in Montreal.

Mercedes has failed to keep pace with Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren through the first eight rounds of the 2024 season, and Hamilton and teammate George Russell are yet to secure a podium finish for the Silver Arrows.

However, during the two Friday sessions where it was difficult to assess the competitive landscape due to adverse weather conditions, Hamilton was encouraged by the way the W15 felt ahead of Saturday’s final practice and qualifying.

“It’s too early to say,” said the seven-time world champion. “I feel like I have a fighting spirit, I feel like the car is reacting to my actions and I feel very confident out there.

“But we won’t know until we go out, and Saturday is usually a different day for us, but I hope tomorrow is a good day. But I think in any of the conditions (dry or wet) I felt very strong today. “I feel that we are closer to the front this weekend.

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Highlights from Friday’s practice at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Mercedes has been gradually adding improvements after a hugely disappointing start to the campaign, but opted not to use its new front wing in Friday’s wet conditions for fear of damaging it with a limited stock of the updated part.

While teams and drivers were unable to collect meaningful data in dry conditions, the fact that more rain is forecast for the rest of the weekend means Friday’s race could provide useful information.

“It felt great,” Hamilton continued. “He was raring to go, every second. He was just telling the guys ‘get out, get out, let’s go’. Just to maximize track time, whatever the conditions.”

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Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton narrowly avoid one of Montreal’s famous marmots during P2 of the Canadian GP.

“This is a block-building track. It’s about getting as much time on the track as possible and understanding both conditions and also the changes they made to the surface and also some of the starting areas.”

Hamilton finished second practice just over a second off Fernando Alonso’s best time, but was on course to overtake the Aston Martin driver, setting the first and second fastest sectors of the session before being slowed by traffic towards the end of the turn.

“It was a really good session, a good day,” added Hamilton, a seven-time winner in Canada. “The car felt strong, so I really enjoyed the session.

“Obviously I couldn’t finish my (best) lap, but yeah.”

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Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz reviewed Mercedes’ improved front wing in Monaco.

Russell: The car feels good

Russell, who finished second to Alonso in Friday’s second session, was also cautiously optimistic about Mercedes’ prospects for what he expects to be a busy Saturday.

“It was a lot of fun to be there,” Russell said. “It’s hard to learn a lot because every lap the conditions changed. It would spit, then it would rain, then it would dry out, which was pretty fun.”

“The car felt good, but we probably won’t know until tomorrow.

“In FP3 you normally concentrate on the qualifying races, but we are going to have to concentrate a little bit on our sprint races and then concentrate at the end of the session on the qualifying races.”

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Mercedes’ George Russell has his say on the radical new regulations that will be introduced to F1 in 2026.

“So we’re going to have to be very quick between the two sessions to make changes, because, honestly, there’s not much that any team or driver has learned today.”

The latest forecast suggests that rain is possible on both Saturday and Sunday at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, an eventuality that Russell believes would suit Mercedes.

“I felt confident in these conditions,” added the Briton. “You need to have faith in the car underneath you to push the limits when it’s constantly changing, and I did, to be honest.

“So I think we’re in a good place if the conditions continue tomorrow. If it’s completely dry, we honestly have no idea. But the first impression is that the car feels good.”

Canadian GP schedule live from Sky Sports F1

Montreal hosts the ninth round of the 2024 F1 season with the Canadian Grand Prix
Montreal hosts the ninth round of the 2024 F1 season with the Canadian Grand Prix

Saturday June 8
17.15: Third practice of the Canadian GP (the session starts at 5:30 p.m.)
8:00 p.m.: preparation for the Canadian GP classification
9:00 p.m.: Canadian GP Classification
11:00 p.m.: Ted’s classification notebook

Sunday June 9
5:30 p.m.: Sunday Grand Prix: preparation for the Canadian GP
9:00 p.m.: Checkered flag – Reaction to the Canadian GP
10:00 p.m.: Ted’s Notebook

Formula 1 is in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix and you can watch every session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve this weekend live on Sky Sports F1, with Sunday’s race at 7pm Stream all the F1 races and more with a NOW Sports Month membership – no contract, cancel anytime

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