Toto Wolff warning to Red Bull: Mercedes closing the gap

Mercedes took their first pole since the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix and just their fourth since the ground effect era began...


Toto Wolff said Mercedes are heading in the right direction to catch Red Bull after they beat them in qualifying for the second race in a row thanks to George Russell’s stellar lap at the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix.

The Silver Arrows were the surprise package of qualifying as they jumped ahead of all their competitors to possess the best car over one lap, which Russell converted into pole with a 1:12.000 for his first time starting at the front of a Grand Prix since the 2022 Brazilian GP.

Wolff took the chance after the session to call for his squad to be humble and to avoid getting carried away, but added that they have been slowly reeling in Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari and have finally seen the fruits of their labour at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

“First of all, you can’t talk about tomorrow yet,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1 after qualifying. “We’re on pole position and that was amazing. His lap was great.

“As we’ve said for a while, we’re going in the right direction. We’ve brought lots of little bits over the last few races, some more visible than others, but definitely heading to a more performant car.”

Lewis Hamilton during practice for the 2024 Canadian GP | Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton during practice for the 2024 Canadian GP | Mercedes

Mercedes not a one trick pony says Wolff

Shockingly, the 1:12 flat was the exact same time that Max Verstappen set but fortunately for the Brit and his team, the Dutchman set the time after Russell therefore the Mercedes’ time was the one that stood as “quicker”.

All in all, it was a very encouraging session for the Silver Arrows that have struggled throughout the ground effect era with a combination of managing drag, suspension design, simulation errors as they finally roared back to the front of the field for the first time in almost a year.

It comes after they introduced a new spec wing in Monte Carlo for the Monaco GP, which has seen Russell beat Verstappen twice in a row, although the Austrian team principal insists that it’s not only the front-wing which is why they’re so competitive.

“In Formula 1, there is never one bit coming on the car, since the double diffuser, which makes all the difference,” Wolff continued, praising his team. “We were running the old wing yesterday and we were very competitive in all conditions actually.

“So, it’s what’s come on the floor, little bits on the body work and underneath, and obviously the front wing, which is more visible.” 

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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