Hamilton hails Mercedes upgrades in Monaco

Hamilton hails Mercedes upgrades in Monaco

Lewis Hamilton was in a high mood as Mercedes unveiled their much anticipated upgrades on the opening day of the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix.

The team’s troubles since the introduction of the ground-effect regulations remain to be widely known, but a shift in thinking away from the ‘zero sidepod’ design is expected to drive an improvement in performance and enable them in the fight to take back the world championship.

After the Azerbaijan GP, Hamilton said that he was “counting down the days” until this update package was ready. Despite having to wait longer than he had planned following the cancellation of the Emilia Romagna GP, it seems that the wait was worthwhile.

“I’ve generally had an amazing day, I really enjoyed driving today,” Hamilton said after finishing third in FP1 and sixth in FP2. “I want to say a big thank you to everyone back at the factory, because to build and design and develop a car is not an easy thing.

“And everyone’s put so much time and so many hours of hard work to have us here today, so I’m glad that we were able to keep it on track for them.

“And I think we got a lot of data. I mean, it’s not the place to ultimately test and upgrade, but the car was generally feeling good… I think, ultimately, it’s a shame we weren’t as close as I’d hoped at the end of the session, but definitely felt the improvements.

“Just gotta keep chipping away at it and see if we can squeeze any more juice out the car.”

Mercedes seems to have taken an approach similar to Red Bull and Aston Martin, who have already cemented their positions as the top two teams of the season.

Though the sidepods are the subject of much discussion, it is the floor and suspension that are anticipated to offer the W14 the anti-dive capabilities shown on the RB19 with such success.

Hamilton was encouraged by how he felt after the first two practice sessions, but he still wanted to be cautious going into Saturday’s key qualifying session.

The eight-time world champion may have outpaced George Russell, but he still trailed behind Max Verstappen’s FP2 pace by half a second.

“In FP1 I thought maybe we were looking good [for pole],” the Mercedes driver added. “We’re always looking good in FP1 for some reason.

“In this session we were close to half a second off. I think maybe that could have been three tenths, maybe but I don’t think we have half a second in the bag.

“So we’ll see, we’ll work on it and see if we can squeeze more out of it tonight.”

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