Hamilton buoyed by Mercedes’ ‘best day we’ve had’ in Monaco

Lewis Hamilton says Friday at the Monaco Grand Prix is “the best day we’ve had” after he finished first in FP1 and second in the second practice session.

Mercedes has regularly appeared more competitive during Friday running before slipping back, and has yet to finish on the podium so far this season. However, Hamilton’s pace was particularly eye-catching in Monte Carlo and he says it stands out as the strongest start to a race weekend this year so far.

“It’s been a good day, definitely,” Hamilton said. “The best day we’ve had, on track. The car was a positive — I enjoyed driving it. The track is amazing. The grip is quite good. We still have some challenges with the balance but it looked strong.”


While Hamilton says he never lacks the confidence to push early in the Monaco weekend, he was encouraged by how the car responded to that approach.

“I do that in Monaco! So it wasn’t a surprise. But what was a surprise was the grip level and how the car was reacting here,” he said. “Definitely a more enjoyable ride than we’ve had here previously, in the last two years particularly.

“The second session, I don’t know whether we improved or not. Definitely on the long runs we have to work to do overnight to make sure we can make it until the end of the race. We can’t lose that [low fuel performance], and we just need to improve long run pace and graining.”

Teammate George Russell was third in FP1 and backed up Hamilton’s feelings about how the car is performing around the tight street circuit.

“We know how quickly everything changes,” Russell said. “But today was one of our best Fridays, no doubt. The car is feeling the best I’ve ever felt around Monaco. So there are lots of positives.

“Everybody is developing quickly at the moment. You see how quickly the lap times are compared to last year. We are potentially breaking lap records — hopefully it will be us. It feels good. We’ll have to see what the weather does, as well.”

However, Russell did have issues with a vibration during FP2 and fell to 10th in that session, and says that’s impacted his weekend so far. He also believes there’s a clear favorite in the form of Charles Leclerc and Ferrari.

“As soon as I touched the brakes, the whole thing was shaking to bits. I don’t know what was going on,” he said. “I tried my best to hold it as hard as I could, like a gorilla. It kept shaking. On a track like this, where you really need confidence to attack, it held us back.

“We decided it was best to call it a day during the long run and try to analyze what was going on. Generally, the car performed well today. In FP1 we were P3, then Lewis was P2. Clearly it is working well. But Charles is well out in front.”

Story originally appeared on Racer