Fernando Alonso believes that Lewis Hamilton was some way off the pace of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz at the Canadian Grand Prix in spite of Christian Horner’s insistence that Mercedes almost matched the speed of the leaders in Montreal. Hamilton managed to secure an impressive third-placed finish at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with a near-faultless drive to ensure a spot on the podium for only the second time this year.
The 37-year-old managed to make up one position by passing Fernando Alonso, who qualified in second place but tumbled down the order due to a lack of pace to end up in seventh. However, the Spaniard has claimed that he found it easy to keep Hamilton at bay during the early stages of the 70-lap contest, although he was no match for the likes of Verstappen and Sainz at the very front.
“At the beginning of the race I felt strong compared to Hamilton,” he said. “We just didn’t have the pace of Verstappen and Sainz, but okay to control Hamilton and the Mercedes.”
Alonso’s view on Hamilton’s pace was not shared by Red Bull team principal Horner, though, who insisted that Mercedes were almost as quick as the frontrunners for large parts of the race in Canada. Hamilton ended up finishing just over seven seconds adrift of eventual winner Verstappen at the chequered flag, with a late safety car bunching up the field after Yuki Tsunoda’s brush with the barriers on lap 49.
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“Everybody is in a good space but there’s lots of work to do, one swallow doesn’t make a summer,” said Horner after the race. “We saw that swallow in Barcelona but somehow it flew somewhere else.
“Today, at times, we were with the quickest cars. On the second stint, Lewis and George were almost matching the frontrunners, but we’re not yet there.”
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Mercedes will be able to keep up their good work when F1 returns to Silverstone for next weekend’s British Grand Prix. The Silver Arrows have struggled with porpoising for large parts of the campaign to date but managed to find some much-needed pace in Montreal in spite of the problem, which they have been unable to stamp out as of yet.
The four long straights at Silverstone could pose a number of issues for them, though, after Hamilton was left in pain due to the bouncing at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix earlier this month. The seven-time champion moved gingerly after climbing out of his car in Baku and could face a similar fate on home soil if Mercedes are unable to rectify the problem before the on-track action gets underway.
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