Russell used Hamilton data for pole, confirming Mercedes’ speed

George Russell says his pole position at the Canadian Grand Prix confirms recent progress from Mercedes, and came with help from Lewis Hamilton’s data.

The two Mercedes drivers were quick in FP3 with Hamilton comfortably leading the way, but it was Russell who took pole position setting an identical 1m12.000s lap time to Max Verstappen but posting the time first. Hamilton ended up seventh on the grid — just 0.28s off pole — and Russell says it was learning from his teammate after final practice that helped secure his result.

“To be honest, this weekend’s been really challenging to know [about the pecking order] because of the conditions yesterday,” Russell said. “You’ve had rain around all weekend and then this morning Lewis was absolutely flying and he was well ahead of me and I had to look a lot into his data to try and understand what he was doing differently. To be honest, that helped me a huge amount.


“Ahead of this qualifying I’m just so glad that we could pull it off because I feel like we really deserve it for all of this hard work we’ve been putting in, and the car’s been feeling awesome this weekend.

“Such a buzz. It’s been a while since we’ve experienced this feeling. So much hard work going on behind the scenes at Brackley, at Brixworth. It’s been a little while to be able to get back in the fight, and we’ve almost felt like all of that hard work hasn’t been paying off, but I think these last two race weekends has really shown that.

“We’ve been so fast all weekend. Q3 was probably our worst session of the three, and it bodes well for tomorrow.”

With Verstappen on the front row alongside him but Red Bull not appearing to have a clear performance advantage judging by the limited dry-weather running to take place so far, Russell has his sights set on winning on Sunday.

“I think it’s going to be a tough race for everybody, to be honest,” he said. “Graining seems to be an issue, and this new track surface, nobody really knows how it’s going to pan out. We’ve got to go for victory. The car is genuinely really, really fast at the moment.

“It’s going to be a long race, I think. As soon as you fall off that cliff of the tires tomorrow, it’s going to be really difficult to recover. It could be a bit of a strategic game. Maybe not as extreme as we saw in Monaco last week, but maybe something similar.”

Story originally appeared on Racer