George Russell says Mercedes is targeting a repeat of its result in Spain by scoring a double podium in the Canadian Grand Prix.
Both Mercedes drivers navigated changing conditions throughout qualifying to be classified inside the top five – the only pair of team-mates on the grid to do so on.
However, with Nico Hulkenberg, who had been set to start from the front row, receiving a three-place penalty, the two Mercedes’ will line up side by side on the second row.
Having struggled with getting temperature into the tyres in the wet during practice, Russell was delighted that Mercedes could overcome its troubles to land promising starting positions for Sunday’s grand prix.
“Yeah, I think P5 is a fair representation of where we are in conditions like this,” he reflected on Saturday evening.
“And after qualifying, after practice, we probably would have taken P5, because we really struggled. When the track was drier, we were more competitive.
“And as it got wetter, we struggled more, and you obviously see quite clear trend 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 on a pretty dry track, we were competitive.
“So nevertheless, P5 is a good place to start for tomorrow. I see no reason why we can’t fight for a double podium again.”
Whereas Russell had to complete a comeback from as low down as 12th in Barcelona, the Brit will start eighth places higher in his pursuit of another podium.
However, the ex-Williams racer concedes he was fortunate to avoid another Q2 exit in Montreal, asserting that his call to not switch to slicks was the wrong one.
Asked who primarily leads the calls in interchangeable conditions, Russell said: “It’s a combination of the two [driver and team].
“In Q2, the team asked me to box for slicks, and I said it was raining out there. I think I was P1 at the time, so I said well it’s raining currently, I don’t think slicks are going to be quicker. They might be quicker right here, right now, but by the time we boxed, do the outlap, I think the rain is incoming.
“And I got that one wrong. So I was fortunate to scrape through to Q3, but very challenging for everyone involved.”
Russell expressed ahead of the weekend that it would be a “real confidence” boost if the revised Mercedes W14 car ended up second fastest around a Montreal circuit the team expected not to suit its package.
The one-time Formula 1 race winner is therefore confident that the Brackley squad’s tendency to be stronger in race trim will give it the edge over its nearest rivals.
“Race pace looked really strong yesterday,” he added. “Ferrari looked surprisingly competitive in their long-run pace, maybe question marks over their fuel load.
“But we were just a small step behind Verstappen, ahead of Alonso, ahead of Perez, at least yesterday in FP2.
“Signs are promising going into the race tomorrow. We’ll find out in 24 hours.”
After passing Aston Martin in the Constructors’ Championship at the last round, Mercedes will have the opportunity to further cement its grip on second place.
While Alonso beat both of the W14 cars to what transpired to be a place on the front-row in the end, Lance Stroll endured a dismal qualifying in the second Aston Martin, rueing “being on the wrong tyres at the wrong time” as he slumped to a Q2 exit.
Stroll subsequently also endured the wrath of the stewards, picking up a three-place grid penalty for impeding Esteban Ocon. The Canadian will therefore start 16th.