Hamilton “definitely felt the improvements” from Mercedes’ upgrade · RaceFans

Lewis Hamilton said he could feel the gains Mercedes has made with its upgraded car but doesn’t expect them to be contenders for pole position this weekend.

Mercedes has brought an extensive package of changes for its W14 at this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix. It intended to debut them at Imola one week ago but that race was called off, meaning they are instead being used for the first time on F1’s slowest circuit.

“I think we got a lot of data,” said Hamilton after Friday practice. “It’s not the place to ultimately test an upgrade but the car was generally feeling good.”

He ended the day in sixth position, almost half a second off the pace. “I think ultimately it’s a bit of a shame we weren’t as close as I hoped at the end of the session,” he continues, “but definitely felt the improvements. We’ve just got to keep chipping away at it, see if we can squeeze any more juice out of the car.”

“In P1 I thought maybe we’re looking pretty good but we’re always looking pretty good in P1 for some reason,” he added. “In this session we were close to half a second off.

“I think that maybe 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 squeeze some more out tonight.”

He has a strong idea which direction the team need to take the car in ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying session. “It’s very clear where the lack of performance is for me,” Hamilton said. “We’ll talk about that in the debrief.

“We’ll put our heads together and try to figure out how we can do that within what we have. But hopefully this gives us a platform to work on moving forwards.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

His team mate George Russell did not look as confident in the car during practice and was over two-tenths of a second slower than Hamilton in 12th place. He said his team “made a lot of changes” to the car on Friday, “things we would have done on the previous iteration of car as well, so it’s not anything unique at all to these new updates.

“We’ll work overnight to see what more we can do just to try and get more out of the tyre. We know that the base performance of the car is good and we normally overachieve maybe on a Sunday and underachieve on a Saturday. So we need to try and flip those over this weekend.

“It’s not a matter of moments and it’s sometimes a bit baked-in to the car. So I’m not expecting tomorrow to be an easy day but we’ll work hard and see what we can do.”

Mercedes will have a better opportunity to understand how the upgrade works when they run it at the Circuit de Catalunya next week, said Russell.

“As we said yesterday, Monaco’s such a unique circuit it’s not really the place to be evaluating any updates or changes. And we knew that coming into the weekend so we’re sort of almost forgetting about the upgrades, we’ll worry about that next weekend and just focus on trying to improve around here on a unique circuit.

“Qualifying is obviously the most important part of the weekend and qualifying is a part of the weekend where we generally struggle. We always do better on a Sunday when you look at last 18 months. So we need to try to figure some stuff out overnight.

“There’s definitely some positive signs to take from the session. Definitely improved from FP1. It’s never easy around this place.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 Monaco Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Monaco Grand Prix articles