Charles Leclerc offers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell verdict after Canadian Grand Prix

Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?

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Charles Leclerc has warned Lewis Hamilton and George Russell can “join the battle for wins” after a strong showing from Mercedes at the Canadian Grand Prix. Hamilton and Russell were closer to the frontrunners on Sunday in Montreal as the seven-time champion picked up his second podium of the season.

Leclerc was asked if Mercedes were in the fight now after securing third and fourth. The Monegasque was unable to get past the Silver Arrows after his fightback from 19th. 

Responding, Leclerc said: “I don’t know, I don’t have the full picture of the race today. But they looked strong, they looked much stronger than before.

“If they are consistently at this level they can join this battle for the wins.”

The Mercedes pair benefited from others misfortunes to capitalise on their joint best result of the season. Leclerc was forced to start at the back after taking a grid penalty for repairing engine components ahead of the race. 

Meanwhile, Sergio Perez started the race down in 13th after crashing in qualifying yesterday. However, Hamilton was still able to pass Fernando Alonso to jump into a podium position and could have challenged for more after a late race safety car. 

The result also means Russell maintains his record of finishing inside the top-five at every race this season.

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The former Williams man admitted Mercedes were worried about being overtaken by the Ferrari and Red Bull ahead of the race and praised the car for being “closer” to the frontrunners. He explained: “We were certainly concerned Leclerc and Checo would be able to come through and be fortunate to keep them behind us.

“Ultimately, our race-pace was closer to Ferrari and Red Bull than we’ve seen all season, but the inherent performance isn’t there yet.” Hamilton also stressed the team were “getting closer” to the leaders after securing his second podium of the season.

The seven-time champion added: “They are a little bit too quick for us at the moment I was giving it everything. But we are getting closer. We’ve just got to keep pushing and eventually hopefully we will be in the fight with these guys.”

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