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Formula One Mercedes would have taken third and fourth before the weekend, says Wolff

TOTO WOLFF understands his drivers’ frustration at their Canadian Grand Prix result after a weekend where Mercedes catapulted themselves back into contention for victory.

George Russell claimed Mercedes’ first podium of the season at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, securing third having started from pole with a thrilling pass on team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages of a pulsating race.

Mercedes, Formula One’s once-dominant team, have endured two seasons of struggle and came into the weekend a whopping 180 points adrift of leaders Red Bull in the constructors’ championship.

But a strong showing in Monaco last time out meant they arrived in Canada with confidence and underlined their progress with blistering pace at times amid changeable conditions on Montreal’s Ile Notre-Dame.

Despite their uptick in form, Russell lamented an “ugly” race and Hamilton described his display as “shocking.”

“When you finish third and fourth where we have been coming from is a positive race,” Wolff said.

“Three and four is much better than what we had in the last few races. Both drivers saw that more was up for grabs and we could have gained a position or two, so maybe that is why a negative sentiment remains.

“If you had given them third and fourth before the weekend they would probably have taken it.”

Russell endured an incident-filled race, running wide at the final chicane to slip from first to third and also coming together with the McLaren of Oscar Piastri in the final laps.

Wolff came on the radio during the race to say: “Focus George, focus.”

Russell also attacked his team-mate Hamilton at the end to secure his step on the podium but Wolff, who famously oversaw tangles between the seven-time world champion and Nico Rosberg, was not panicked.

“I have had much worse!” he said.

“Sometimes I talk to the drivers. I said ‘calm down’ a few races ago I think.

“Giving a little advice that can be helpful, hopefully helpful, is good. I know him [Russell] so well and I think I know what goes through his mind.”

Mercedes brought a new front wing to Monaco which has helped improved their performance.

Canada bears similarities to Monaco — a bumpy street circuit with the need to ride kerbs — which means it is hard to fully assess whether Mercedes are back in the leading pack.

“Since Imola we have taken the right steps and put parts on the car that [have worked] and that is something we have struggled with in the last couple of years,” Wolff said.

“Directionally we seem to be heading forward. We have new parts coming in Barcelona so I hope we can continue this positive trajectory.

“We have brought so many new parts that have contributed milliseconds to more performance. That was a huge effort from the factory. I think the wheel has started to get some real motion now.

“Bit by bit we have added more performance. Another step in Barcelona as we will see it on the stopwatch.

“Hopefully the next few races when there is a track you can overtake, it will be exciting.

“In FP3 Lewis put in a lap that was out of this world. It was so quick and his long run was stratospheric.

“The car was very good. But this track is different to others. It’s an outlier so hopefully we can demonstrate that we have genuine pace.”

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