Hamilton ‘felt improvements’ in practice

28 May, 2023 - 00:05 0 Views
Hamilton ‘felt improvements’ in practice

The Sunday Mail

Lewis Hamilton says he “felt the improvements” of his upgraded Mercedes after finishing sixth fastest in practice at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set the pace from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso. Hamilton said: “The car was generally feeling good.

“It’s a shame we weren’t as close as I would have hoped at the end, but definitely felt the improvements.” He added: “It’s not a place to test an upgrade.”

Mercedes have introduced a design development to their car that features new front suspension, sidepods and floor.

It is the first step in a series of planned improvements after accepting, at the start of the season, that they had made a mistake by pursuing a unique design direction that has left them uncompetitive for the last two seasons.

Hamilton admitted that Mercedes would not be able to find the pace to close the gap to the fastest cars in Monaco.

He said that the areas of improvement in the car were obvious, but would not reveal what they were.

He added: “It’s very clear where the lack of performance is for me. We will talk about that in the debrief and try to figure out how we can (address that) within what we have.

“But hopefully, this gives us a platform to improve on going forward. In this session, we were close to half a second off. Maybe that could have been 0.3 seconds.”

Hamilton ended the session 0.498 seconds off the pace and, when told by his engineer Peter Bonnington where he was losing out to the fastest cars, said over the radio: “The car won’t go much quicker than that.”

Mercedes had planned to introduce the upgrade at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last weekend, but that race was cancelled as a result of flooding in northern Italy.

Teams rarely choose to debut major redesigns at Monaco because the unique tight and twisty nature of the track means forming a clear impression of their effect is difficult.

Team principal Toto Wolff said: “At least our car is not worse than before. It hasn’t done anything we didn’t like.”

Hamilton’s teammate George Russell was only 12th fastest.

He had been about 0.2secs behind Hamilton before ending his soft-tyre running early.

Others continued and set faster times as the track improved.

Russell said: “We are sort of almost forgetting about the upgrades. We will worry about that next weekend (at the Spanish Grand Prix), and focus on trying to improve here.”

What about the pace-setters?

The fastest time was disputed throughout the day by Verstappen, Sainz, Leclerc and Alonso.

Sainz had appeared to be the faster Ferrari driver until he crashed at the Swimming Pool section with about 20 minutes remaining in the session.

The Spaniard had just been demoted to third quickest by his teammate Charles Leclerc when he clipped the inside barrier at the exit of the Swimming Pool section.

Coming to the end of his series of laps on the softest tyre, Sainz misjudged his entry to the second part of the Swimming Pool and hit the inside barrier a glancing blow. — BBC.

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