Lewis Hamilton didn’t mince words at the end of a tough Friday in Montreal, with the seven-time Canadian Grand Prix winner calling the first two practice sessions a ‘disaster’ as Mercedes opted for an experimental day .
Hamilton finished Free Practice 1 in P8 – where he ran experimental ground with a big cut on his W13, as Mercedes look to try and control their porpoising and rebound issues – but was then a disappointing P13 in FP2 , nearly 1.3s off the pace of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
FP2: Verstappen edges Leclerc by 0.081 seconds to sweep Friday practice sessions in Montreal
When asked how his Friday went, Hamilton replied: “Pretty much like every Friday for us, trying a lot of different things, experimental ground on my side that didn’t work.
“Nothing we usually do on this car seems to work, so we are trying different setups; me and george [Russell] went with very different setups in this P2 just to see if one way works and another doesn’t. I’ll wait to find out how it felt for him, but for me it was a disaster.
“It’s as if the car was deteriorating, it was getting more and more unhappy the more we did it. I don’t know, we will continue to work on it, that’s how it is. I think it’s the car of the year, so we’ll just have to endure and work hard to build a better car for next year.
Hamilton – the most successful driver of all time around Montreal, along with Michael Schumacher – added that his experience behind the wheel of the W13 left him cold at his beloved Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
“It’s not the Montreal that I know, that I’m used to and that I’ve known in my career,” said Hamilton, who took his first pole and victory here in 2007. “It’s the worst that I’ve never felt a car here, so hopefully overnight we can try to make some changes. But basically those are just the fundamentals of the car, that’s what it is. It’s gonna be a struggle.
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“It’s just a monumental fight all the time to keep him off the wall,” he added. “When it bounces, when the car leaves the ground a lot, then when it lands, it grabs and it goes different directions, and you’re just trying to grab a car that jumps, jumps, grabs, jumps, s “Hold on. It’s hard, it keeps you going. And there were some big hits today. We lifted the car but it didn’t make a difference.
“We tried loads and loads of things, we checked them all off,” he concluded. “Those don’t work, so we have to go find something else. And we’re a long way off, but that’s to be expected with this car.
Downbeat Hamilton may have been, but Russell – P6 and P7 in both sessions – thought Mercedes could take an overnight step that could put them behind the Red Bulls and Ferrari in terms of performance, despite Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso of Alpine taking a surprise P4 and P5 in FP2.
“We’re quite off the pace compared to the first two teams, but there are also a few guys, Fernando, Sebastian, they look really strong too, so we have some work to do,” Russell said. .
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“In FP2, that was probably the biggest deviation in the setup that Lewis and I have had all season; we went in two very drastically different directions and we can probably find a happy medium between the two.
“So we’re going to work hard, we just have to make sure we qualify before midfield. I think we have a race car that will put us third in the team, but obviously if we qualify a bit out of position, it could be tricky.