It was a useful learning opening day of the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix, but there is work still to do for the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team after none of the team’s experiments worked as they would have hoped.
George Russell went sixth quickest in the opening practice session of the day, with Lewis Hamilton in P8.
As the wind swirled ahead of an impending storm, George finished FP2 in P7 and Lewis P13, with both drivers finding the W13 inconsistent to drive.
The team experimented with a modified floor and ran an updated rear track rod here in Montreal in search of performance.
‘It’s fun to drive around this circuit, it’s old-school and very challenging, with the cars bumping over the kerbs. Our performance wasn’t where we wanted it to be, we’re quite a way off the pace to the front two teams and there’s also a couple of guys – Fernando and Seb – who look very strong, so we’ve got work to do. It’s still very bumpy out there, the stiffness of these cars is pretty brutal. We can’t run the kerbs as much as we used to, we got the car as soft as we can but there’s something about this iteration of cars stopping us really doing that. In FP2, that was probably the biggest deviation in set up between Lewis and I, we went in completely different directions, so we’ll be able to find a happy medium between the two overnight. We need to qualify ahead of the mid-field, we have a strong race car which is probably the third-quickest but if we allow one or two cars in front of us, that could make things tricky.’
‘It was pretty much like every Friday, experimenting with lots of things. We tried a new floor on my car this morning which didn’t really work and it seems a lot of things we try on this car struggle to work. We experimented with very different set ups on the two cars in FP2 just to try and see if one way works and one way doesn’t. Whatever we do on this car to improve it just makes it more unhappy but we have to keep working, it is what it is. One touch of the kerbs here and the car goes flying, it’s so stiff and here in Montreal, you really need to ride the kerbs. It’s not the Montreal that I’m used to and that I’ve driven throughout my career, it’s the worst I’ve felt any car here so I’m hoping we make some solid progress overnight. You are putting on a momentous fight just to keep it out of the wall, you’re catching a car that’s jumping, it definitely keeps you on edge – we raised the car but it didn’t make any real difference.’
‘We tested a few modifications to the cars to help the issues that we had in Baku and we’ll continue to analyse that data, but the picture here is similar to that in Monaco and Baku where the ride is really unsettling the car both in low and high speed corners. We swept through the settings available to us but we’re just finding different compromises on ride and downforce without adding significant performance overall. The balance hasn’t been great both on low and high fuel and whilst the ride issues are compounding that, we can probably make a bit of progress on it overnight. We’re mainly lacking rear grip which is likely something we can improve with the normal setup tools. Whilst it’s been one of our more challenging Friday’s we’ll continue to work hard tonight to optimise what we have as we’ve shown in recent races that we can still score strong points even with a difficult car.’