Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin has warned Lewis Hamilton that he could be as low as 10th at the Canadian Grand Prix despite the team’s promising result in Barcelona last time out. The Spanish Grand Prix was the first real opportunity for Mercedes to showcase their major upgrades as their car was limited in Monaco.
And there was strong signs on Saturday that Mercedes were heading in the right direction with Hamilton initially being Max Verstappen’s closest challenger for pole in Q1 and Q2 respectively, only to fall away in Q3. That didn’t matter in the race though with Mercedes able to race past their main opposition to get both cars on the podium for their best result of the season.
It’s still not exactly where Hamilton wants to be though as his main goal is still to challenge Verstappen for race wins in the near future. Speaking after the race, Hamilton was buoyed by the direction the team were heading in with hope of battling for victories by the end of the year.
But that progress may be stunted next time out in Montreal with Shovlin warning that the slow conditions at the Canadian Grand Prix won’t favour their car design. “The fact is that the update kit works very well around circuits like Barcelona with a lot of high-speed performance,” Shovlin said on Mercedes’ YouTube channel.
“We’ve been better at the fast circuits and the front-limited tracks. We ended up with a really good balance and really good race pace. Now, where we are going to go next week, Montreal, it’s a very different circuit. There are more low-speed corners, quite a lot of straight-line full throttle and we would expect more of a challenge there.
“We are not thinking that we are going in nipping at the heels of Red Bull. We are aware that Canada is likely to be a bigger challenge than the Sunday we just had in Barcelona. We are thinking it will be more along the lines of some of the earlier races where we were definitely in the bunch with Ferrari, with Aston, and now Alpine look to have joined that group.
“But it’s great racing there. It will be good fun and we are certainly going to be fighting to find every little bit of performance we can. The way the grid stacks up now you can be P2 or you can be P10, and there are only a few tenths in it.”
Mercedes moved above Aston Martin in the Constructors’ Championship following their promising result in Barcelona. Hamilton is now also just 12 points behind former team-mate Fernando Alonso in the battle to be the best of the rest.
And the British racing superstar has notoriously enjoyed the Canadian Grand Prix, holding the joint record with Michael Schumacher for most wins with seven victories. His last came back in 2019 though and he’s been unable to finish on the podium since then.