George Russell throws weight behind Fernando Alonso to beat Max Verstappen in Canada

Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?

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George Russell claims “his money is on” Fernando Alonso to beat Max Verstappen at the Canadian Grand Prix.  The Mercedes star claimed Alonso was going for the win and backed him to pass Verstappen at turn one. 

“He’s going for the win, my money is on Fernando. Turn one.” Alonso secured his first front-two start since 2012 after mastering the changeable conditions on Saturday.

Ahead of the start, Russell added: “We need to try and pass Alonso. I’m sure he will have his elbows out today.”

After qualifying, Alonso confirmed he would be aiming to secure a win. He said: “I’ll attack Max on the first corner.

“The car was mega. I was so comfortable with driving this car and I think the fans also helped me to make an extra push.”

He later added: “It’s an amazing result for us to take second place today, so I’m feeling very pleased.

“It was impossible to know the grip levels on each lap in those conditions and that made it even more challenging. In the end, I think it’s a little bit unexpected to be on the front row, but it will be very nice to line-up there tomorrow.

“Let’s see if we can fight with Max [Verstappen] into turn one, though, that said, aiming to score strong points will be our main goal.”

However, Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer said the focus was still on securing a strong points finish despite it being Alpine’s best-ever F1 qualifying result.

He explained: “We can be very pleased with our Saturday effort today with both cars in the mix to score good points in tomorrow’s race. Congratulations to Fernando on securing second place in Qualifying.

“He’s driven superbly all weekend so far and now he’s fully focused on delivering a solid race to ensure he scores strong points for the team. Whenever there is rain in Formula 1, there’s always a chance for some drama, but, equally, that also brings big opportunities.

“The team and both drivers did a great job in executing a plan for all three qualifying sessions, making sure the cars were on track at the right time with the right tyres on in order to fight for high grid positions. Today, we’ve achieved that with Fernando’s front row and Esteban in seventh place.

“Tomorrow, we must remain focused on the race, plan a sensible strategy and put ourselves in contention to have both cars well inside the points.”

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