Saturday, March 2, 2024

Lewis Hamilton: “Difficult to know here in Monaco how the upgrades were performing”

Lewis Hamilton was happy with his fourth place finish in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, but the Briton says it is too early to know whether the updates the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team brought to the principality are a step in the right direction.

Mercedes brought a heavily revised car to Monaco, particularly with the reintroduction of sidepods to the W14, but the unique nature of the track meant they were unable to learn as much as they would like to see just where the updated car sits compared to their rivals.

Hamilton praised his team back at the factories for the updates, and he rewarded them with a top four finish amid difficult conditions in Monaco, but it will only be in Spain next week when the team begin to understand just what the upgraded car is capable of.

“I’m really happy with today’s result,” said Hamilton.  “We moved forwards in the race and that’s not an easy task here in Monaco.

“Coming into the weekend, I didn’t know where we would stand. To come out with fourth and fifth is great points for the Team. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone back at the factories for pushing and bringing these upgrades.

“It’s been so much work to bring those here. We managed to keep it in one piece today and brought it home.  It was difficult to know here in Monaco how the upgrades were performing. There’s lots of bumps and the car feels very stiff so it’s tricky.

“Barcelona, though, is probably the best test circuit we could ask for in order to learn more about our package. I’m looking forward to seeing how the car reacts.”

“I made a mistake, completely by myself” – George Russell

Team-mate George Russell was far from happy with his race in Monaco despite ending fifth, with a mistake just as the rain began to fall costing him places to both Esteban Ocon and Hamilton.

Russell’s pit stop had seen him jump ahead of both drivers, but a slide into the barriers saw him lose out to both, with the Briton also earning himself a five-second time penalty by re-joining the track in a dangerous manner as he hit Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez.

Damage to the car restricted his performance across the final laps, but despite the pending time penalty, Russell was still able to keep fifth, well clear of Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

I’m very disappointed with myself,” said Russell. “After the pit stop, I was ahead of Lewis and Esteban (Ocon) and I made a mistake, completely by myself.

“What’s even worse is that I wasn’t even pushing. I touched the brake and locked up; that’s cost the team a podium. One third of the track was extremely wet, another part was quite dry. If you touch the white line when it’s wet, it’s like ice. But ultimately, it’s the same conditions for everyone.

“We cannot judge the upgrades from this circuit. Barcelona will be the first real examination of it and it will be exciting to see how we perform. No matter what happens in Spain though, it will be interesting to learn and move forward from there.”

George Russell ended fifth in the dry-wet Monaco Grand Prix – Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team
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