Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff lauded George Russell’s bold decision to switch to slick tyres in the dying moments of Q3 in Canada.
Conditions were treacherous at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Saturday with multiple cars clattering the barriers including Sergio Perez and Alex Albon.
Russell gambled on the soft tyre as a dry line formed in Q3 but spun at Turn 1 on his flying lap ending his hopes of improving his time.
The 24-year-old qualified in P8 in Montreal behind his team mate Lewis Hamilton but Wolff was delighted to see his driver take a chance on the dry tyre.
He said to MotorLAT and other selected media: “This is the moment where you can take risk and I’m up for risk I’m up for ballsy calls. This is what he did and it could have been a hero moment. It wasn’t but I think you’ve got to got for it when you are where we are.”
Hamilton secured a very impressive P4 on the grid behind the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz setting a 1:22.891. Despite the respectable Qualifying effort Wolff conceded the Briton’s strategy wasn’t optimised during the session.
The 50-year-old explained to the media: “If we would have given Lewis a better strategy with a cooldown lap we would have been further ahead and I think George probably would have probably been in an equal place.”
The Brackley-based squad have suffered a poor start to the campaign by their lofty standards collecting just four podiums.
Wolff said after Qualifying that the team can only begin to focus on the 2023 car after they’ve fully grasped the faults of the W13. And securing third in the Constructors championship may be their best option for the remainder of the season.
“You can only start to look at the W14 the you’ve actually understood what you need to change on the W13 the car is not in a great place to say the least.
“So maybe consolidate third is what we need to do at that stage and see what we learn.”
After rain hit the circuit on Friday and Saturday, the race is expected to be dry. The Mercedes boss said admitted he would prefer a rain affected race as the team performed well in the wet.
“I think we were pretty good in the wet but the forecast unfortunately for tomorrow is a big yellow sun with hotter temperatures.”