Lewis Hamilton revealed where Mercedes can improve ahead of qualifying for the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix after he led teammate George Russell in a one-two in FP2.
Unlike most front-runners, Mercedes did their race plan first in the extended practice session, and finished with their qualifying sims before rain fell on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve meaning they secured top spot ahead of Ferrari‘s Carlos Sainz.
“So it’s been decent, it’s just bumpy,” Hamilton told the media. “I think everyone’s struggling with the bumps so I think we just got to improve our ride control and a bit of a balance through the corner, and I think it’ll be all right.
“I can only base it off compared to last year, and it’s massively better than that. The rear end is not necessarily, but overall the car is just a step forward.
“And I’m definitely feeling the improvements that we felt in Monaco, here.”
Hamilton arrives in Canada, at a circuit he’s won at six times, after just his second podium of the 2023 season at the Spanish GP.
Mercedes looked clearly the second-best team at Barcelona, and have stayed true to that so far in Canada albeit with fortuitous circumstances in practice.
FP1 was red-flagged a few minutes in thanks to an issue for Pierre Gasly, before the circuit’s CCTV cameras stopped working meaning the session never resumed.
The start of FP2 saw Red Bull and Ferrari trade fastest laps, however with rain affecting the last ten minutes of the session, Mercedes were the last of the frontrunners to put in their hotlaps.
Mercedes still behind Ferrari and Aston Martin
However, Russell wasn’t so confident heading into what’s expected to be a wet Saturday in Canada.
While both drivers accepted there’s work to be done to their W14s ahead of qualifying, Russell opted for a much more glass-half-empty take on free practice.
“We need to find out where we’re going to be,” Russell said. “I think we’re still on the tail end, especially in qualifying pace compared to Ferrari and Aston Martin. Valtteri looked quick, maybe even the Alpines.
“But we always know it comes to us on a Sunday, so that’s when it’s going to matter. Looks like it’s going to be wet tomorrow, let’s see what it brings.
“Yeah, it’s obviously been a bit of a strange day with what happened in FP1 and then the extension of FP2, it was a reasonably productive session, I don’t think we can read too much into the timings.”