‘Dream’ day for Mercedes in Monaco
The Silver Arrows were rocked by the passing of Niki Lauda earlier in the week, but Hamilton, who described Lauda as a “bright light in my life” did him proud after topping FP1 and FP2, with Valtteri Bottas just behind to make it a dominant Thursday of running for the team.
“It’s the dream for every driver to come to Monaco and have a car that you can exploit and utilise your abilities with,” Hamilton told reporters. “I’m really proud of the team.
“Naturally our goal is to try and do something really positive this weekend. We’ve made some small tweaks over the two sessions and during the sessions as well, but I’ve been quite happy with the set-up.”
Hamilton’s 1:11.118s in FP2 saw him finish seven tenths clear of P3 man Sebastian Vettel, a time that was also 0.7s quicker than the fastest managed by Daniel Ricciardo who topped every session and won the Monaco Grand Prix last year.
“Every year we come back here, it gets faster and you really notice it when you’re going past the barriers,” Hamilton acknowledged.
“Coming into Turn 12, you carry so much speed into that corner, and then there’s just the wall in front of you; going up the hill to Casino it’s the same thing. It’s incredibly intense out there and you have to be so focused.”
#MonacoGP Thursday = ✅
Lewis clocks a 1:11.118 to top the timesheets around Monte Carlo, Valtteri posts a 1:11.199 to take P2 pic.twitter.com/7d5sUPYlGZ
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) May 23, 2019
Bottas believes the performance of the W10 meant Monaco is no longer “impossible to drive” in a Mercedes.
“There have been years in here where the car felt nearly impossible to drive but now it was actually driveable and enjoyable, so we’ve just got to fine-tune the set-up,” said the Finn.
“I think we started the weekend with the right foot, that’s the feeling, but obviously this is Monaco and anything can happen. So far, so good.”
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