Russell: We can beat Verstappen in Canada GP

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MONTREAL, Canada — George Russell is confident he can hold off Max Verstappen to secure Mercedes’ first victory since 2022 at Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Russell and Verstappen clocked identical lap times in Saturday’s qualifying, but Russell will start ahead of the Red Bull driver by virtue of setting his time earlier in the session.

The result marks Mercedes’ first pole position since last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix by teammate Lewis Hamilton, and if Russell wins it would be the team’s first victory since he took his maiden win in Brazil in 2022.

Asked if beating Verstappen to victory was possible on Sunday, Russell said: “Why not? Of course, let’s go for it!

“I think the car has been feeling amazing. Since we bought some upgrades to Monaco, we’ve sort of really been in that fight now. So, we’re going for it tomorrow.”

Mercedes brought a new front wing to the Monaco Grand Prix as part of a raft of upgrades that have been drip fed to the track over the last four races.

Russell said the updates to his car had removed some of the mid-corner instability he and Hamilton have been struggling with since the start of the year.

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“It always feels better when your name’s towards the top of the timesheets, to be honest,” Russell added. “But it’s just turning really nicely through the corners.

“I think we struggled a lot with understeer before. Last year, we had a lot of oversteer and we’ve sort of been just trying to find the halfway house between what we had last year and what we had this year.

“And it feels like we’re sort of dialing in that sweet spot right now. So it feels like something we’ve been saying for a long time, in all honesty.

“But you know, just really a sense of relief to actually see it translate into a pole position.”

Hamilton will start the Canadian Grand Prix from seventh on the grid after qualifying 0.28 seconds off Russell. The seven-time champion said the grip he’d had in final practice simply wasn’t there when it mattered in qualifying.

“The car’s been feeling great throughout the weekend,” Hamilton said. “Obviously, congrats to George.

“We had plenty of pace, obviously, through FP3 and then as soon as qualifying started, it just disappeared. The grip wasn’t there.”

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