Did McLaren and Mercedes blow it? Our Canadian GP verdict

Max Verstappen and Red Bull took the win at the Canadian Grand Prix – but should Mercedes and McLaren have stopped them?

With mistakes from the Mercedes drivers and a mistake in McLaren's strategy identified by Lando Norris, we asked our team if Mercedes and McLaren had missed an opportunity to beat Verstappen:

Mercedes must be hoping it can bring its drivers together

Scott Mitchell Malm

In a race like this, of course someone else could have won. If any of the top five had slightly different weekends, the score might change!

Whether Mercedes He should It won… not without somehow combining its two drivers into one. If Mercedes can combine George Russell's current qualifying performance with Lewis Hamilton's prowess on Sunday, this driver will likely win this race.

I feel Hamilton could have won this race from Russell's stance. Russell seemed to overdo it in his first stint in the middles, and did costly work later on as well. Hamilton's race was not perfect, as he made at least one mistake that cost him a few seconds and was highly critical of his performance, but his main problem was starting from seventh place after a poor qualifying performance. He took better care of his tires than Russell and was quick in the crucial moments.

If he had been able to do that from the first or second grade, it would be a different story.

I don't think there's anything else McLaren could have done. Norris appeared to be braking for the final turn when the safety car was deployed, so it was almost certainly too late to dive into the pits. A bit of bad luck to offset his slice of fortune in Miami – some won, some lost.

Russell's mistakes and Norris' bad luck cost him

Ben Anderson

If the race had been dry all the way, I think Russell would have won it from pole position. On the slick tyres, the Mercedes appeared to carry an unexpectedly strong qualifying pace into the race.

But as things went, in mixed conditions, Russell made a lot of mistakes – appearing to chew through his medium tires in the first stint, then running off the road ahead of the McLaren team on slicks. He was often in recovery mode in the second half of the race, which certainly cost him at least second place.

In the absence of clean driving from Russell, perhaps Norris He should He won it – but his excellent first stint at Inter was undone by an ill-timed (but karmic) safety car intervention meaning he rejoined behind Verstappen and Russell again as the front runners switched to slick tyres.

Norris was quick enough to win but was unfortunately in the wrong place at the wrong time when the first safety car was deployed. The only mistake was that Norris was driving too well!

Verstappen may not have been the best driver ever at any stage of this race, but perhaps his overall cleaner engine made him the best on average over its entire duration among these three main contenders. He showed the less obvious side of his driving in this race – being able to produce a great result even when Red Bull was not dominant at any stage of the weekend.

It's not enough to just catch up with Red Bull

Bear died

It didn't take long for either Mercedes or McLaren driver to win the Canadian Grand Prix. The fact that Verstappen continues to beat everyone is likely just a sign of what the rest of 2024 will look like.

We have now had too many consecutive races where Verstappen has lost or been on the verge of losing. Clearly, Red Bull's massive performance advantage has already ended.

But he faces a group of rivals who stumble upon each other to overcome him, and take turns to outperform each other (see Ferrari's decline from the glory of Monaco to the humiliation of Canada). And It still generally executes races much cleaner than they do.

It turns 2024 into a great season and not just a Tour, but it's also a sign that Verstappen doesn't need the car advantage to win – or to easily wrap up another title.

Norris did nothing wrong

Josh Sattel

In his own words, Norris drove a “beautiful, perfect” race and it's hard to disagree with him. The ease with which he overtook Verstappen and Russell was impressive and was a testament to strong tire management.

His lack of fouls on the day also cost Russell dearly. It seemed as if Verstappen and Norris were on a different level from the rest when it came to those good margins.

Norris was poised to win the race before the timing of the first safety car (and his position on track) meant that his rivals could pit while he had to wait.

It cost him his position on the track and meant that Verstappen's ambitious overtaking attempt was his last chance to win.

Norris actually felt this was where McLaren could have done better, but it was marginal given it was the final corner, so it would be hard to lay the blame at McLaren's door.

Ultimately, the defeat was mostly out of the team's hands and should therefore be less frustrating than it was for Mercedes and Russell, who have a much bigger case for letting a win slip through their fingers.


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