Hamilton's Canadian GP pole doesn't mean Mercedes' problems solved

Toto Wolff says Mercedes is still searching for clear answers on how to set up its Formula 1 car for Pirelli's ultra-soft tyre, despite Lewis Hamilton's Canadian Grand Prix pole

Hamilton's Canadian GP pole doesn't mean Mercedes' problems solved

Mercedes bounced back from a difficult weekend in Monaco to beat Ferrari to pole position in Montreal, with Hamilton lapping 0.330 seconds clear of F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel as he equalled Ayrton Senna's tally of 65 career poles.

Ferrari looked to have a clear advantage over Mercedes in practice, but Mercedes set the pace throughout the three segments of qualifying.

That suggested Mercedes had made a breakthrough with the set-up of the W08, which has so far this season performed inconsistently on the ultra-soft compound.

Wolff said Hamilton benefited from Mercedes altering its tyre preparation strategy midway through Q2 - opting do only one slow lap to build tyre temperature after the out-lap, rather than two - but confirmed Mercedes had made no radical set-up changes heading into qualifying.

"I don't think we have discovered the holy grail," said Wolff. "But the more data we collect the more we learn, the better we put the jigsaw together.

"There's always changes in set-ups [between sessions] but there was no major change - it was just trying to optimise the car with the base set-up that was already in place."

Valtteri Bottas said on Thursday that Mercedes had lightened its car for this race and made some tweaks to the suspension in a bid to improve its form on the ultra-soft compound.

Wolff confirmed the team had also altered its set-up approach for Canada in the wake of its Monaco struggles.

But Bottas only qualified third, more than seven tenths slower than Hamilton in Q3 having been fractionally quicker in Q1 and within a tenth of Hamilton in Q2.

Wolff called this gap "unknown territory" for Mercedes, and said it supports the impression the team still does not have a full understanding of its car's performance on the ultra-soft tyre.

"The way we put the car on track was different to how we would have done without having had the slap in Monaco - therefore, yes there is a learning curve in relation to set-up and its effect on the tyres," Wolff added.

"But it is still a complicated picture. We can see differences between the two cars with no major discrepancies in set-up - still very different performances between the drivers.

"The car went towards Lewis, the tyres went towards Lewis, and for Valtteri the tyres got worse throughout the session - and were probably at their worst at the end.

"There is a difference in how they perceive the car."

shares
comments
Pascal Wehrlein gets new gearbox and old rear wing after crash

Previous article

Pascal Wehrlein gets new gearbox and old rear wing after crash

Next article

Ayrton Senna's family explains Lewis Hamilton helmet gift confusion

Ayrton Senna's family explains Lewis Hamilton helmet gift confusion
Load comments
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021