Lewis Hamilton says he was surprised he wasn’t closer to the front at the Monaco grand prix as he felt the benefits of Mercedes’ upgrades during what he described as an “amazing day”.
Mercedes has introduced a major new update package to Monaco, which includes a new front suspension and more conventional side skirts after a disappointing start to the season, inspecting parts on both cars on Friday. Hamilton was sixth fastest in FP2 – half a second behind Max Verstappen, who was setting the pace – despite looking comfortable with the new spec car and admits he expected to be higher on the schedule.
“I had an amazing day overall,” said Hamilton. “I really enjoyed the ride today. I want to say a very, very big thank you to everyone at the factory because building, designing and developing a car is not an easy thing, and everyone put in so much time, many hours of hard work to get us here today. I’m glad we’ve been able to keep it on track for them, and I think we have a lot of data.
“This is not the place to finally test improvements, but overall the car felt good. It’s a shame we weren’t as close as I had hoped at the end of the session, but I definitely felt an improvement and I’m grateful for that. We just need to keep working on it and see if we can squeeze more juice out of the car.”
Despite downplaying the possibility of seeing the impact of the upgrades in Monaco, Hamilton says he may have felt the difference to the previous car in one area in particular.
“There is (marked improvement), I won’t say where! But it is and is very clear where the lack of performance is for me. We’ll talk about it at the briefing. We’ll put our heads together and try to figure out how we can do it with what we have. But let’s hope it gives us a platform for further development.
“In P1 I thought, ‘Wow, maybe we look pretty good’ – for some reason we always look pretty good in P1. I think we missed almost half a second in this (second) session, maybe three tenths. But I don’t think we have half a second to lose. We’ll see. We’ll work on that and see if we can get more out tonight.