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F1 NATION: Mercedes on the move, Aston’s upgrades and 50 years of the Safety Car – it’s our Canadian GP preview

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Max Verstappen and Red Bull extended their championship leads with another impressive victory in Spain last time out, but there were signs of progress from Mercedes, and talk of more to come from the likes of Aston Martin – topics the F1 Nation gang are here to cover ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix.

With Verstappen moving 53 points clear of team mate and nearest rival Sergio Perez in the title race, hosts Tom Clarkson and Natalie Pinkham ponder whether the Mexican is feeling the pressure and if he has what it takes to fight back in Montreal.

IT’S RACE WEEK: 5 storylines we’re excited about ahead of the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix

Meanwhile, there’s plenty to talk about when it comes to the battle for second position in the constructors’ standings, a spot claimed by Mercedes after they used their recent W14 upgrades to secure a double podium finish in Barcelona and jump ahead of Aston Martin.

But Aston Martin are set to fight back with updates of their own at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, while 2023 signing and two-time world champion Fernando Alonso cheekily suggested after his home race that it will be the first and last time he finishes off the podium this season…

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Also up for discussion are Alpine and McLaren’s recent contrasting fortunes, the major personnel changes at Alfa Romeo that will see James Key replace Jan Monchaux as Technical Director, and whether Yuki Tsunoda can dust off the disappointment of his Spanish GP penalty to continue what has otherwise been a strong start to the year.

Meanwhile, there’s a special guest on this week’s podcast, as long-time Safety Car driver Bernd Maylander drops in for a chat with Tom and Natalie given that this weekend’s race marks 50 years since the Safety Car was first seen in F1.

THE FIRST WIN: David Tremayne remembers the magical day in Montreal when Lewis Hamilton became a Grand Prix winner

For that and much more, listen to the latest episode of F1 Nation in the player above or head here to catch the podcast on your favourite provider.

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