It was a busy Friday practice in Monaco for Mercedes-AMG, with both drivers tuning the set-up and completing valuable single lap and long run work ahead of qualifying and the race.
FP1 was dominated by poor ride for both cars, hampering the drivers’ ability to attack on their timed laps, as they ran the Hard and Medium tyre compounds.
After set-up changes in the break, the ride was improved in FP2, with the drivers running the Medium and Soft compounds on short runs, and the Medium on the long run.
Lewis Hamilton didn’t set a representative time on the Soft tyre after locking up into Turn 5 (Mirabeau).
‘It’s been a relatively good day I think but it’s clear we’re not yet where we want to be in terms of performance. Monaco is a very tricky circuit with these cars – they are set up very stiff for the aero to work, so it’s not easy to put the car on the limit on a bumpy street circuit like this. You’ve got to give the circuit a little bit more respect than you normally would, and there are parts of the circuit where we’re almost doing a wheelie with both front tyres off the ground! We’ve got some work to do overnight to see how we can make it a bit easier to drive. At the front, Ferrari are flourishing again – we saw in Imola how good they were over the kerbs, and this is playing to their strength here, too. We now need to get our heads down and see what we can do for tomorrow, so that we’re at least best of the rest behind Ferrari and Red Bull.’
‘I was fighting to put a lap together out there today and it’s a very different experience to previous years here in Monaco. Back in the day, I remember coming here with lighter and more nimble cars, but they are now a lot heavier, and that changes the driving experience quite a lot. The track’s been resurfaced but it’s probably the bumpiest circuit I’ve ever driven – at points, it feels like my eyeballs are coming out of their sockets with the bumps! The car was bouncing quite a lot today on the bumps, not the aerodynamic bouncing like we’ve had so far this year, but just because we’re running it low to the ground and stiff as well, so we’re bottoming out quite a lot. We improved the car for FP2, and we’ve got some studying to do tonight to find the right mix between ultimate performance and a driveable balance. I haven’t put my best sectors together yet, and actually the grip feels pretty good when we’re pushing. Ultimately, I think we’ve got the potential to be up there in the mix; maybe not quite on the speed of Ferrari and Red Bull, but I hope we can be ahead of everybody else tomorrow and on Sunday.’
‘We’re struggling with the ride here and that’s preventing us attacking the lap, especially on low fuel. We made a bit of progress between the sessions, but we need to pick through the data and understand whether we can achieve more. The tyres are behaving reasonably well: they are coming in quite easily which is no doubt helped by the hot conditions we have this weekend. We didn’t get the most out of the Soft tyre, it was difficult with traffic and Lewis had few occasions where he was blocked so there’s more to come but everyone will be finding a bit of time overnight so we’ll work to make sure we can move forward. The long run pace was encouraging, at least the consistency was good and seemed to have less degradation than some others but it’s Monaco where long run doesn’t count for much if you are stuck in a traffic jam. So, plenty for us to work on overnight but if we can make progress on a few of these issues, we should be able to find quite a bit of pace.’