Mercedes data uncovers early signs of surprise Canadian GP renaissance

Uros Radovanovic
The George Russell pose

The George Russell pose

An exciting and dramatic qualifying unfolded in Canada. Perez failed to advance to Q2 for the second time in a row, while neither of the Ferrari drivers made it into the top 10.

However, the absolute surprise of qualifying was undoubtedly Mercedes and George Russell, who will start the race from pole position. Let’s see how Mercedes elevated their performance and analyse some interesting data from the session.

Mercedes renaissance in Canada

Mercedes arrived in Canada with a completely new front wing. While it’s true that Russell tested the new upgrade in Monaco, the nature of a circuit like Monaco doesn’t allow you to see its full potential.

It was expected that Mercedes would improve, but no one could have expected them to be the fastest on a track that shouldn’t favour them in practice.

After the third free practice session, the Mercedes drivers made it clear to everyone that they were in very good form.

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time then, being the quickest in both the first and second sectors.

The upgrade in the form of a new front wing brought them greater stability in slow corners, which had been problematic for them until then.

Increased downforce on the front axle reduced the car’s previous tendency towards understeer. The first and second sectors in Canada are known for their slow corners, and it’s clear that Mercedes is the fastest there.

Another element of note during the practice sessions is that they lacked maximum speed to be equally fast in the third sector.

Russell is in the middle of the table showing maximum speeds during the fastest lap in qualifying, while Hamilton is almost at the bottom of the table.

This fact cost Hamilton in the last sector, where he took P7 after qualifying – Lewis lost almost 0.3 seconds compared to the first-placed driver in that sector.

The question remains about what race pace Mercedes will have. Their final result depends primarily on tyre management and choosing the right strategy.

Draggy McLaren and slow Ferrari

If we look at the table of maximum speeds again, we’ll notice that McLaren is convincingly at the bottom. Regardless, McLaren drivers were still very competitive in the third and fastest sector due to excellent stability through the chicane.

In the image above, we can clearly see how Russell consistently has better maximum speeds, while Norris is much better at the exit of the final corner.

Almost after every slow corner, McLaren was the most stable, and that’s where they gained an advantage over others. The image below illustrates this very well.

McLaren has very good starting positions for the main race and can definitely get involved in the battle for victory.

On the other hand, we have Ferrari, which fell far below expectations in Canada. Neither of the drivers made it to Q3, and in the race, they will have a very tough time reaching the top positions.

Throughout the weekend, it seemed like Ferrari was doing something wrong in the first two corners, as if they hadn’t found the right vehicle setup.

SF-24 is very gentle with its tyres, and it needs more time to warm them up. While this can be beneficial in some race situations, it’s detrimental in qualifying when you need performance immediately.

The cold weather almost certainly had a significant impact on the tyres not warming up as they should. The result of all this is all very negative.

The struggle they had in the first corner is evident in the image below, which shows speeds during the fastest qualifying lap.

We shouldn’t forget drivers like Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso, who were truly brilliant in qualifying.

In RB’s case It seems that the better communication and synergy with the senior Red Bull team has paid off, and Red Bull is on an solid path to bring even more excitement to the race with two teams, not just one.

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