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Formula 1 Spanish GP

Mercedes: Canada a "bigger challenge" than Barcelona for upgraded F1 car

Mercedes' Andrew Shovlin expects next week's Canadian Grand Prix to be a "bigger challenge" for his Formula 1 team than its breakthrough weekend in Barcelona.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

At last week's Spanish Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell scored a double podium after the Brackley team's comprehensive upgrade package delivered a solid step forward.

While Hamilton still finished 24 seconds behind dominant winner Max Verstappen, Mercedes' W14 was the second-strongest car on the high-downforce circuit, providing the team with a solid baseline to continue its recovery.

The double podium also elevated Mercedes above Aston Martin to second place in the constructors' standings.

But Shovlin, the team's trackside engineering director, expects the Canadian Grand Prix to be a more difficult weekend for the Silver Arrows due to the low-downforce nature of Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which is the polar opposite of the Barcelona circuit that its revamped 2023 car was competitive at.

"The fact is that the update kit works very well around circuits like Barcelona with a lot of high-speed performance," Shovlin said in Mercedes' post-race debrief on Wednesday.

"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."

Shovlin expects Mercedes to fall back into the clutches of the chasing group behind Red Bull, which includes Aston Martin and Ferrari. He also believes Alpine will join the group in light of Esteban Ocon's recent podium in Monaco.

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"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," he explained.

"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."

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