Hamilton: We’re closer to Red Bull and Ferrari than I expected

Hamilton: We’re closer to Red Bull and Ferrari than I expected

Lewis Hamilton
photo: Spas Genev

Mercedes was not fastest in the free practices before the Monaco Grand prix. Both drivers – Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas – said it was not easy on the streets of the principality.

Lewis Hamilton

We didn’t suffer any damage which is a good thing. I said yesterday the Red Bulls were going to be quick which they were. As expected, we struggled a little bit more. The car felt good in some places, in others, it felt bad. So we have got some things to work on, but we’re not completely in the dark; we’re in a much better place than we were last year.

We’re closer to Red Bull and Ferrari than I expected, but we’re still a few tenths off. So we’ve got some ground to cover and pick up if we want to be in the fight for the win. We’ve got to keep working on the set-up and try and see if we can pull out some more potential from the car. The HyperSoft felt good, but it doesn’ t last very long. It looks good for qualifying but could be interesting in the race.

Valtteri Bottas

As we expected it was quite difficult. We thought that Red Bull and Ferrari were going to be quick here and they were. The car didn’ t feel great in FP1 and we struggled a bit on the HyperSoft tyres. In FP2, we got it to work better. The gaps between the three teams are not too big though, which is good. We know our car has a lot of pace, but it is difficult to find the right set-up for this track.

If we can find a good set-up and get some good laps in for qualifying, we should be able to fight for the pole, but I think it will be the most challenging qualifying session we’ve had this year. I’m very proud to be driving with my special Mika Hakkinen helmet in Monaco this weekend. Mika has proven in the past that the helmet design and a Silver Arrow are a good combination, so hopefully, I will be able to get a good result as well.