Mercedes 'fortunate' reliability niggles didn't impact Montreal race

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Mercedes was "fortunate" that reliability niggles were solved before they could impact their race in Canada, Toto Wolff says.

As the German manufacturer introduced a new engine, there were concerns after Lance Stroll's Racing Point blew up in final practice as a result of what is now claimed to be a spark plug failure.

Then, Lewis Hamilton's car suffered a hydraulics problem post-qualifying, with frantic work taking place just to get his Mercedes ready to race on Sunday.

“Canada was something of a wake-up call for us,” the Austrian stated in his French Grand Prix preview.

“After a run of very good reliability over the opening six races, we experienced a number of problems over the course of the weekend, almost all of which were of our own making.

“We were fortunate that those reliability issues were exposed when we still had the chance to solve them, but we know that they could have easily ruined our weekend and it is down to the great skill of our mechanics that they didn't.”

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There was another slightly more controversial bit of luck that came their way too as the now infamous penalty for Sebastian Vettel allowed Hamilton to continue Mercedes' 100 per cent win record in 2019.

However, the challenge from Ferrari that led to the drama in Montreal isn't likely to be as strong at Paul Ricard.

“We expect another tough fight in France next weekend,” said Wolff. “The circuit features some similarities to Montreal and the long straights will present a challenge for us.

“However, unlike Canada, the corner characteristics are spread across a range of speeds, which should play to our advantage. We're looking forward to the chance to put a few things right again.”