Mercedes highlight their biggest rivals in Canada with one very notable exclusion

Mark Scott
Lewis Hamilton in the revised Mercedes W14. Monaco May 2023

Lewis Hamilton in the revised Mercedes W14. Monaco May 2023

Mercedes are not anticipating being in a fight with Red Bull at the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend, instead naming three other teams as their potential rivals.

The Silver Arrows appear to have re-established themselves as the second-quickest team on the F1 grid after their B-spec W14, first introduced in Monaco, delivered a double podium result with Lewis Hamilton second and George Russell third.

The next challenge for Mercedes will be to confirm that positive step forward with another strong display in Canada but, even if that was to happen, the team are not expecting to suddenly rival Red Bull for the win, the dominant team being notable absentees from Andrew Shovlin’s pre-Canada assessment.

“We are thinking it will be more along the lines of some of the earlier races where we were definitely in the bunch with Ferrari, with Aston, and now Alpine look to have joined that group,” Shovlin said in Mercedes’ latest debrief video.

“But it’s great racing there [in Montreal]. It will be good fun and we are certainly going to be fighting to find every little bit of performance we can because the way the grid stacks up now you can be P2 or you can be P10, and there are only a few tenths in it.

“We are looking forward to more exciting racing but certainly we are aware that Canada is likely to be a bigger challenge than the Sunday we just had in Barcelona.”

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When asked if the strong Barcelona performance was down to the characteristics of the track or solely down to the upgrades, Shovlin replied: “Probably both are true.

“The fact is that the update kit works very well around circuits like Barcelona with a lot of high-speed performance.

“Although, the car itself would have still been okay there because we’ve been better at the fast circuits and the front-limited tracks.

“We ended up with a really good balance and really good race pace. Now, where we are going to go next week, Montreal, it’s a very different circuit.

“There are more low-speed corners, quite a lot of straight-line full throttle and we would expect more of a challenge there. We are not thinking that we are going in nipping at the heels of Red Bull.

“We are going in there prepared for a battle with Ferrari, Aston Martin, and maybe even Alpine.”