Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes took the wrong direction ahead of qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix and will have some “tough discussions” with his team after ending up seventh on the grid.
The two Mercedes drivers were unhappy with the car’s handling during Thursday practice but while Valtteri Bottas made progress to qualify third and fight for pole position, Hamilton was well off the pace in seventh. After the session, the championship leader said the result was due to wrong decisions and errors made by the team, but that he wants to keep the details private.
“There will be some tough discussions that I’ll have with my engineers, tonight or maybe after the weekend, as there are things that should have been done which haven’t been done,” Hamilton said. “We’ll learn from it and come together stronger in the next race.
“I can’t really (expand), no. But as I said, from my point…it’s a little frustrating, but it is what it is. I can’t really say too much about it. At the end of the day, this is a team. Also, I don’t want to be critical of the team, but behind closed doors, I will be. We’ve got to work harder.”
Hamilton admits part of the problem was taking the wrong direction after Thursday’s running, and then compounding the issue with last-minute changes.
“The Ferraris and Red Bulls have better capabilities of getting their tires working. We as a team, didn’t do a good enough job in providing us with an opportunity to do the same. Of course it’s frustrating as it leads you down a path where there’s no gains in that direction. Thursday was better with higher temperatures. Today is cooler, and we paid the price for that.
“We did lots of changes to the car after FP3, as FP3 was a disaster, and that was from the work done over the last day or so. Completely wrong direction — completely missed the ball. Then made some changes to try and take steps backwards and move the car into a different place and the car was worse than ever. We really lost our way on Thursday.”
As a result of his lowly starting position, Hamilton says it will be a case of trying to limit how many points he loses to Max Verstappen — who is set to start from second — on Sunday.
“Definitely we struggle (to turn the tires on), and it’s magnified here, as it’s a low-energy circuit. Not really any high-speed areas. Today was much, much cooler; you saw it get worse over the day. I’m not really sure how Valtteri was able to get his tires working. I saw a glimpse of grip on that last lap, but it was short-lived.
“It will be a lot of analysis. P7 is not a great place to start here, but I’ll need to do best I can. Damage limitation tomorrow and try and see if there’s a way to move forward somehow.”