It might have been a grey and wet day for everyone in Montreal, but Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were seeing the silver lining in the conditions for the Silver Arrows.

Hamilton was fourth fastest in the truncated first practice session, the start of which was delayed by an intense hailstorm shortly before the scheduled start and then further disrupted by Zhou Guanyu crashing in the Sauber.

IN the afternoon it was Russell’s turn to enjoy himself, good timing between the fluctuating pulses of rain sweeping over the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve allowing him to finish second quickest between the two Aston Martins.

“It was good fun out there today!” declared Russell who had clearly enjoyed the tricky conditions out there. “The car was feeling good overall

“It was difficult to take many learnings into the rest of the weekend as each lap the conditions were changing. First it was spitting, then it was drying, then it was raining again!

“In all honesty, there won’t be a lot that any driver or team learnt today. The weather could be similar tomorrow though so it’s going to be interesting.

“But we will only learn about our position relative to others tomorrow,” he acknowledged. “I had faith in the car today though and felt confident throughout.”

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 in the pits.
07.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Practice Day.
 - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

Hamilton echoed his team mate’s satisfaction with the way the rain-hit time out on track had gone. “It felt great out there today. I was raring to go throughout no matter what the conditions!

“This is one of the best circuits we go to, so I really enjoyed myself out there,” he said. “I feel confident out there and that the car is reacting to my inputs.

“The car felt strong throughout and I didn’t even get to finish what would have been my fastest lap,” he pointed out, having finished FP2 in seventh place a second off the time set by Fernando Alonso.

“I was pleased that we were able to maximise our time on track. That’s what is needed around a circuit like this. It’s all about building your pace,” he said. “It was about understanding the conditions plus the new surface they’ve laid.”

However Hamilton is mindful that in recent events, what has looked like being a strong start on Friday has all too often fizzled out in qualifying and race trim as the weekend has progressed.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15.
07.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Practice Day.
- www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

“Recently Saturday’s have proved more challenging for us,” he admitted. “So ultimately we won’t know until tomorrow afternoon just where we are in the order. But today was a really good day overall. “

“The car seems to be working reasonably well, but it’s impossible to draw conclusions on pace from a day like today,” agreed Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin. “Considering the conditions today, it was a decent start to the weekend.

“There’s a chance of rain in both qualifying and the race. We were therefore focused on covering as many conditions as possible and making sure we had the tyres in a decent temperature window along with understanding the car balance.

“If we get a dry final practice tomorrow then it’s going to be busy as we’ve still got a lot of low and high fuel work to get through. The track is tough on the cars so ideally, we’ll get a long run in to check everything is okay.”

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