Lewis Hamilton says he was surprised not to be closer to the front in practice at the Monaco Grand Prix as he felt the benefit of Mercedes upgrades during what he described as “an amazing day.”
Mercedes has brought a major new update package to Monaco that includes a new front suspension and more conventional sidepods after a disappointing start to the season, running the parts on both cars on Friday. Hamilton was sixth fastest in FP2 — half a second off pace-setter Max Verstappen — despite looking comfortable with the new specification of car, and admits he was expecting to be higher up on the timesheets.
“I’ve generally had an amazing day,” Hamilton said. “I’ve really enjoyed driving today. I want to say a big, big thank you to everyone back in the factory, because to build and design and develop a car is not an easy thing, and everyone has put so much time in, so many hours of hard work to have us here today. I’m glad we were able to keep it on-track for them, and I think we got a lot of data.
“It’s not the place to ultimately test an upgrade, but the car was generally feeling good. It’s a shame we weren’t as close as I hoped at the end of the session but definitely felt the improvements, and I’m grateful for that. Just got to keep chipping away at it and see if we can squeeze any more juice out of the car.”
Despite downplaying the potential to see the impact of the upgrades in Monaco, Hamilton says he could feel the difference from the previous car in one area in particular.
“There is (a clear improvement), I’m not going to say where! But there is, and it’s very clear where the lack of performance is for me. We’ll talk about that in the debrief. We’ll put our heads together and try and figure out how we can do that within what we have. But hopefully this gives us a platform to build on moving forwards.
“In P1, I thought, ‘Wow, maybe we’re looking pretty good’ — we’re always looking pretty good in P1 for some reason. In this (second) session, we were close to half a second off I think, maybe that could have been three tenths. But I don’t think we have half a second in the bag. We’ll see. We’ll work on it, and see if we can get some more out tonight.”