Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes’ seven-time World Champion, expressed his satisfaction with the upgraded Mercedes W14 car after an “amazing” first day in Monaco. Despite a strong performance, Hamilton believes it is “very clear” where the new-look car lacks performance. The Monaco Grand Prix marks the debut of the heavily revised W14, featuring a more conventional sidepod design, as part of Mercedes’ commitment to a change in car philosophy following a lackluster start to the season.
Hamilton’s Positive Day:
While his teammate George Russell faced difficulties throughout the day, Hamilton showcased a stronger performance during Friday’s practice sessions in Monte Carlo. Hamilton finished third in the morning session, ahead of the dominant Red Bulls. He ended the day in sixth place, although half a second off Max Verstappen’s pace-setting time. Hamilton expressed his gratitude to the team for their hard work in developing the new car and acknowledged the progress made during the day.
Identifying Areas for Improvement:
Hamilton acknowledged that the upgraded car showcased improvements, but he declined to specify the precise area where he noticed the biggest improvement. However, he emphasized that the lack of performance is evident to him, and he intends to discuss it in the debrief with the team. Hamilton believes that the new-look car marks the first step on a different development path for Mercedes, and he hopes it will provide a platform for further progress in the future.
Challenging for Pole Position:
Despite sensing an overall step forward, Hamilton acknowledges the challenge of competing for pole position on Saturday due to the considerable deficit to Verstappen in FP2. He remains optimistic but realistic, noting that the team will work on extracting more performance from the car overnight.
Fondness for Monaco:
Hamilton, a resident of Monaco, expressed his delight at racing in the iconic principality once again. Reflecting on his journey from a young, ambitious driver to a seven-time World Champion, Hamilton described Monaco as a stunning place that holds a special significance for him. He expressed gratitude for the privilege of being one of the few drivers who have the opportunity to race in Formula 1 and drive on the historic streets of Monaco.
Lewis Hamilton had an encouraging first day with the upgraded Mercedes W14 in Monaco, highlighting the car’s positive developments. However, Hamilton identified areas where the car’s performance falls short and aims to address them in discussions with the team. While challenging for pole position may be difficult, Hamilton remains optimistic and appreciates the privilege of racing in Monaco, a place that has been a significant part of his journey in Formula 1. As the weekend progresses, Hamilton and Mercedes will continue to fine-tune their performance and aim for a strong result in the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix.