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Canadian GP Recap: Pole. Podium. Progress

"It feels great to be disappointed with a P3," said George Russell in the aftermath of the Canadian Grand Prix.

Now, there is a sentence you would not have expected to hear from our team based off the first eight races of 2024.

Pole position, the first Grand Prix podium of the year, and a car that feels great - 28 points (including a second fastest lap point in as many races for Lewis) is our best return from a Grand Prix since Spain 12 months ago.

The team leaves Canada with much to celebrate. Hopefully, this is just the start.

Two weekends of progress in Imola and Monaco did not yield anything higher than P5 at the chequered flag.

On Sunday in Montreal, both cars bettered that. Fair and square, thanks to some tough battling at the head of the field.

Toto said: "Since Imola we have taken the right steps and put parts on the car that are working. Directionally, we seem to be adding performance every weekend."

Holy Pole-y

The signs of life in W15 had been most evident in qualifying for the previous two Grands Prix. In Imola and Monaco, George had been a thousandth of a second off the car ahead in Q3. Almost unbelievably, the gap in Montreal was even closer. But this time, he was on the right side of it.

Or rather, he was in the right place at the right time. Setting an identical time to Max Verstappen before the Red Bull gave George his second F1 pole position after Hungary 2022. It was the first time the top two drivers from Qualifying had set the same time since the 1997 European Grand Prix in Jerez.

Previous races this season had seen Practice promise turn to Qualifying frustration, but this time around we were exactly where we wanted to be.

"The car has been so good this weekend," said George. "Everyone at Brackley and Brixworth has been working so hard and it is now translating into results."

He almost did not make Q3, after having to correct a big slide in slippery conditions at the end of Q2, which would have ended up in certain damage against the Montreal wall.

As it was, it gave us another phrase for the George Russell F1 Phrasebook.

'Holy moly' indeed, George.

Lewis was just two tenths off, but in such a tightly packed grid, it cost him six places to George.

"The car has been feeling great all weekend, the team have been working tirelessly back home to bring the recent updates.

"I just found it difficult to get the tyres working on my final lap in Q3."


Whatever way you look at it, there is a trophy coming back to Brackley this week, and that can only be seen as a good thing. Our first from a Grand Prix in 2024 and second overall after Lewis' P2 in the China Sprint is a fine reward for the effort of everyone trackside and back at base.

We came away from Bahrain in March with a 45-second deficit to the winner. Eight races later, and Verstappen was in sight - just four seconds up the road.

Perhaps more pleasing is that both drivers felt even more was possible.

"It was challenging out there, just one small millimetre off line and you were in trouble. I am disappointed in myself today, I made too many errors and that cost us victory," said George.

It was not the mistakes themselves, but more where they were made, as far as George was concerned.

"I made the errors at parts of the circuits where people could overtake me easily, on the straights," he added.

"Everyone went off at some point, but it did not affect them in the same way."

Lewis said: "Overall I will take away the improved performance of the car, but it was not my best weekend.

"We had the pace to be fighting higher up."

Toto added: "P3 and P4 is better than what we have had in previous races, but both drivers felt that more was on offer.

"We could have gained a position or two and I think that is why there is a negative sentiment about things. But we would have taken this result at the beginning of the weekend."

Both drivers thought more was on offer. But we would have taken this result at the start of the weekend


Cautious Optimism

So, what now? Same again in Barcelona, right? Well, not exactly. This was just one weekend, on a circuit that does not truly test all the elements of a Formula 1 car. The tracks ahead will provide sterner tests, particularly in the form of a triple and double-header before the summer break.

Ferrari will not have a double DNF every weekend, either.

"It is good to see that there are potentially four teams that can fight with each other," said Toto.

"We are definitely a step closer. And I hope in the next few races, at tracks where you can overtake, it will be exciting." That is another motivating factor; the excitement of being back in the hunt and racing for every inch of tarmac. What is not to like?

A Pioneer of Women in Motorsport

We were thrilled to be joined by a very special guest on race day in Montreal. Mary McGee stopped by to say hello to the team as a guest of Lewis on Sunday.

The very definition of trailblazer, Mary was the first woman to compete in motorcycle road racing in the USA and enjoyed an incredible career spanning three decades.

(Pop Up) Shop Til You Drop

While we got closer to the cars ahead on track, we got closer to our fans off it, bringing an F1 flavour to the shopping streets of Montreal with our new Pop Up merchandise store.

As well as being able to add to your wardrobe, you could test your skills on one of our state-of-the-art Esports rigs, and meet the famous WhatsApp emoji car. On Thursday, guests were also treated to an appearance by reserve driver Fred Vesti.

And just because F1 has left Montreal, it does not mean we have. The store will be in place on 777 Rue Sainte-Catherine for one more week until June 17, before heading off to Toronto.

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