Russell sees no reason for another Mercedes double podium

George Russell has suggested both Mercedes cars can finished ahead of either Max Verstappen or Fernando Alonso at the Canadian GP


George Russell believes a double podium is on the cards for Mercedes as he and teammate Lewis Hamilton line-up on the second row of the grid for the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes pair had their best result of the season last time out at the Spanish GP but will need to beat at least one of Max Verstappen or Fernando Alonso to repeat their double podium.

Mercedes had struggled with tyre warm-up throughout Saturday in the wet conditions as their car philosophy and setup is made to have lower tyre degradation, therefore putting less energy into the Pirelli rubber.

“After practice, we probably would have taken P5,” Russell said to the media, “We really struggled with it [tyre warm-up] but when the track was drier, we were more competitive and as it got wetter, we struggled more.

“You see quite clear trends of when it is wet and low grip. You have certain cars higher up the order than they should be, and on the flip side, when the warm-up is easier like it was in Q2, we were competitive.

“Nevertheless, P5 is a good place to start from for tomorrow [Sunday], and I see no reason why we can’t fight for the podium again.”

Is a double podium realistic?

A common trait of the W14 is the car is more competitive in race pace than qualifying trim, and that appears to be the trend in Canada too.

Ferrari appeared to be the second strongest after Red Bull, but a disappointing qualifying for them sees their drivers line-up in 10th and 11th after frustration for Charles Leclerc in Q2 and a grid penalty for Carlos Sainz. Behind them is Sergio Perez, who qualified in 12th after struggling in the wet conditions.

George Russell will start fourth at the Canadian GP | Mercedes

Ahead of the Mercedes duo is Alonso in an upgraded Aston Martin, who will likely prove to be tough to overtake, but this is not deterring Russell’s optimism.

“In race pace we were really strong yesterday [Friday],” Russell added. “Ferrari looks surprisingly competitive in their long run pace, but maybe there’s question marks over their fuel load.

“But we were just a small step behind. Verstappen ahead of Alonso ahead of Perez in FP2 so the signs are promising going into the race tomorrow.”


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