Lewis Hamilton claims Mercedes can beat Max Verstappen in Canada

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were promoted to third and fourth on the grid, following a grid drop for Nico Hulkenberg.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are set for an exciting Canadian Grand Prix, after the Mercedes duo locked-out the second row.

Mercedes entered this weekend expecting a challenging Grand Prix, due to the expectation that the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve’s low-speed corners would work against the W14.

Whilst the Silver Arrows haven’t got the pace to beat Red Bull in Montreal, the Germans have looked very good.

Hamilton will start Sunday’s race in third with Russell in fourth, giving both drivers a chance of fighting for a place on the podium.

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Hamilton in particular has his eyes set on giving former team-mate Fernando Alonso “hell” on Sunday, with the Spaniard starting in second.

The seven-time World Champion is very optimistic about Sunday, with Mercedes often having better race pace than one lap pace.

“I think we should be in a much better position with race pace,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.

“Our race pace is often better, I’m hoping it is again tomorrow. It was difficult to gauge yesterday because we did our long run at the beginning of the session, when the track was a lot slower, and the others did it later on.

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“So it’s difficult to extrapolate where abouts we stand. We’re ahead of the Ferraris, Max will be gone most likely, but if I can hold onto Alonso and give him hell, that’s what I’ll do.”

Mercedes had struggled during qualifying when the track was completely wet; however, the W14 came alive when the circuit started to dry.

The conditions were certainly a challenge for everybody, with Russell having actually “quite enjoyed” the session.

Russell was supposed to start P5 but a three-place grid penalty for Nico Hulkenberg has promoted him to the second row, where he believes he can “fight for a podium” from.

“I quite enjoyed it to be honest,” Russell said after qualifying.

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“It changed every single lap, you’re driving on instincts, I didn’t quite get it together in Q3 but nevertheless, P5 probably exceeded our expectations going into the session

“Clearly as a team we were quicker when the track was drying out, and the inters were almost overheating, we were one of the most competitive cars out there.

“Had the track been like Q3 for the whole session, perhaps we may have struggled a little bit more, but we know the strengths and weaknesses of this car and to be starting P4 and P5, I think it’s the best qualifying of the year after Australia. So we’re going to have to really fight for a podium.”