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Are Mercedes back? George Russell responds after best F1 2024 result

After taking pole position and fighting for victory in Canada, can we say that Mercedes is back and capable of winning races?

George Russell took Mercedes’ first pole position of 2024 in Montreal in unusual circumstances as he and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set exactly the same lap time – Russell took the better place on the grid by posting a time of 1:12,000 ahead of Verstappen it worked.

George Russell: The increase in pace was no surprise to Mercedes

Russell duly led the opening laps of the Canadian Grand Prix and remained a contender for victory throughout the race, battling it out with McLaren’s Lando Norris and Verstappen’s Red Bull throughout.

Russell used the hard tire to pass teammate Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages, ran out of time to put pressure on Norris in the fight for second place, and the British driver later admitted he was disappointed with the mistakes he made in the battle that cost him time and items.

But Russell also said he was happy to be “disappointed with P3”, and the fact that Mercedes was fast all weekend was a great reason for optimism.

The big question mark is whether Mercedes can now be said to be “back” as a title contender, after struggling to unlock the W15’s performance for the first part of the season. The car has seen a huge package of improvements in recent races that have taken the car in particular forward – but does Russell feel confident enough to say the team is back to its best?

“You know, I think Red Bull has had, you know… It’s no secret that they’ve had a little bit of car trouble over the last three races,” he told the media after the checkered flag in Montreal.

“So I think we’ll have to see how they perform in Barcelona, ​​which is a bit more conventional track.

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“But the increase in pace we saw this weekend didn’t surprise us because all the numbers at the factory told us we would get a lot of the performance from these improvements. So Barcelona will be interesting for everyone, but I’m sure we can fight.

With the battle at the top of F1 looming particularly close in 2024, with Ferrari and McLaren taking wins away from Red Bull, Mercedes’ apparent ability to insert itself into that battle gives Russell plenty of grounds for optimism.

However, the British driver said the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix will be the highlight as the fast and flowing track shows the expected strengths of the Red Bull RB20. For this reason, Russell believes the Milton Keynes squad will remain a step too far for the front three.

“I think Red Bull has struggled a bit in the last few races and yet they have won two of the last three,” he said. So I expect they will probably take a small step when we return to European racing on more conventional tracks. But I really think our performance step is real and real. I think we can fight this fight with McLaren. Hopefully we can keep fighting with Max. Let’s see what happens with Ferrari, they obviously had a bit of a free weekend.

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