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‘I’ve missed this feeling!’ – Russell hails Mercedes progress after Canada pole as he vows to ‘go for it’ on race day

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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 08: Pole position qualifier George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes

George Russell was full of smiles after claiming his and Mercedes’ first pole position of the 2024 season in an ultra-close qualifying session at the Canadian Grand Prix – taking top spot in a dead heat with Max Verstappen.

With Mercedes topping final practice and looking strong from the start of qualifying, Russell produced a 1m 12.000s in the decisive Q3 phase, putting him ahead of his rivals prior to the second sequence of runs.

READ MORE: Russell clinches pole position in Canada with identical time to Verstappen in closely-fought qualifying

But while Verstappen worked his way down to the same time, prompting disbelief in the grandstands around the track, the Red Bull driver had to settle for second position due to his effort coming later.

It brought back memories of the 1997 season finale at Jerez, where Williams drivers Jacques Villeneuve and Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher all set identical lap times in the grid-deciding session.

2024 Canadian GP Qualifying: Russell saves huge slide through Turn 4 in Q2

Asked how he felt after adding to the maiden pole he achieved in Hungary back in 2022, Russell commented: “Oh, amazing. It feels so good, it feels so good!

“So much hard work back at the factory has gone into this. We said it in Monaco, we hope this is the start of something for our season, and I think it is. I’ve missed this feeling!

AS IT HAPPENED: Follow all the action from qualifying for the Canadian GP as Russell takes pole

“It’s awesome here. Every time we come to Montreal it’s such good energy from all the fans. I’m excited for tomorrow. Obviously the first step’s done, but now we’ve got our eyes on that win.”

With momentum building at Mercedes as they continue to dial in their latest upgrades, which include a new front wing debuted by Russell last time out in Monte Carlo, the Briton is hopeful of converting pole into victory on Sunday.

“Why not?” Russell responded, as he looks to secure his and Mercedes’ first win since the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix. “Of course, let’s go for it.

Qualifying Highlights: 2024 Canadian Grand Prix

“I think the car’s been feeling amazing. Since we brought some upgrades to Monaco, we’ve sort of really been in that fight now, so we’re going for it tomorrow!”

On the other side of the Mercedes garage, Lewis Hamilton had to settle for seventh when the final Q3 laps came in, leaving him to question what happened to his car’s pace after setting the standard in FP3.

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“Ah, I just wasn’t really quick in qualifying,” he lamented, having claimed pole six times and won seven times in Canada in the past. “I lost a ton of time.

“I reckon I lost half a second probably going into qualifying… Just the grip wasn’t there. I didn’t make any changes to the car, just it… All of a sudden the grip’s not there.”

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