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Lewis Hamilton came close to joining his team mate in switching to slicks tyres for his final run in Q3.

The move backfired for George Russell, who spun into a barrier as he began his first lap. Hamilton, who stuck with his intermediate tyres, took fourth on the grid, his best qualifying position of the year so far.

He said switching to slicks was “definitely a consideration” for the final run in Q3. “It was drying quite quick and there was definitely some points on the track which were looking to be dry.

“But for me it felt too big of a gamble especially with the temperature. So we decided to stay on inters. Naturally I think it was the right way. I think it still needed another 10 minutes or so before it went to slicks.”

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022 Gallery: 2022 Canadian Grand Prix qualifying day in pictures Hamilton’s decision may also have been influenced by the different wing angles on the two Mercedes. He is running a thinner rear wing on his car, generating less downforce, and would have found it harder to get the slicks up to the correct temperature.

Although Russell’s gamble on slicks did not pay off, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff had no problem with his tactics.

“I think today we are not in the championship fight,” said Wolff. “I think if we would have given Lewis a better strategy with a cool-down lap, we would have been further ahead and I think George would have been probably in an equal place.

“But this is the moment where you can take risks and I’m up for risks. 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 go for it when you are where we are.”

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Hamilton and Russell’s radio messages from the end of Q3

Hamilton was the first of the two drivers to pit. Although he opted for intermediates, he twice suggested switching to slicks:

Bonnington Okay so, box, box, box, box. So we’ll go for new inter. We’ll go for another inter. Let us know if you need a flap adust. Bonnington So let us know on flap. Hamilton I just don’t know whether it’s going to be slicks, it’s going to be quicker or not. Hamilton Am I coming inside or? Bonnington Nope. We’re going to be live pit stop. We’re going to go for new inter. Hamilton We should go for slicks, no? Bonnington Hamilton leaves the pits on intermediates So you’re all clear exit. Bonnington We do have slicks available. We do have slicks available. Bonnington So Verstappen leaving the pit lane now on inter, inter for Verstappen. We’re in strat mode 16 at the moment. Hamilton Yeah it’s not slicks yet. Bonnington Okay copy. Go strat mode four. Hamilton How’s my pace? Bonnington So we’re currently P6 [unclear] to Verstappen. All cars currently on inter tyres.

Russell came in later, and was initially told Max Verstappen was considering switching to slicks. He didn’t, and Russell was the only driver to venture out on slick tyres.

Musconi So strat one, over the line. Box, box, box. Hard in-lap. Musconi Okay. George, let us know if you want new inters or if you want to try the dries. Currently P5. Musconi So Verstappen has gone to new inters. Lewis new inters. Verstappen is just changing his mind to slicks. Russell Slicks. Musconi Copy that, slicks. So Verstappen has gone to inters. Verstappen new inters. Russell What So position are we? currently you’re still P5. Musconi Everyone has gone for new inters, everyone has gone for new inters. Russell [Unclear] Musconi Box, box, box. Russell How many laps are we going to get? Musconi Going to get two laps. Going to get two laps. Russell Go for it, give us a soft. Musconi So please confirm tyres. Russell Get the slicks on. Musconi Slicks, okay slicks. Musconi So we have time. And straight out. Blue 14 position one. So all clear ahead and you’re going to get two laps. So sector one is the worst. Musconi Blue 14 position one. Musconi So still a very wet apex of turn one on the kerb. So you’ve got Magnussen on a lap at six seconds, he is pushing.

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