Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport‘s Lewis Hamilton feels proud of the team for its positive start to the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, having set the fastest times throughout Thursday.
Hamilton set the pace in both Free Practice 1 and 2, with his best time throughout the day being a 1:11.118, only a few tenths away from beating the track record set by Daniel Ricciardo last year during Qualifying. Ricciardo’s pole time last year was a 1:10.810.
Both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas showcased dominant pace in the afternoon session around Monaco, with Hamilton’s time 0.763 seconds quicker than the Scuderia Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, who finished third in FP2. Max Verstappen managed to split both Mercedes cars in FP1 with second place, but after losing track time due to mechanical changes, couldn’t repeat his pace in the second session.
Hamilton feels very proud for his Mercedes team in their ability to provide a car that can utilise Hamilton’s abilities around the Principality.
“It’s the dream for every driver to come to Monaco and have a car that you can exploit and utilise your abilities with,” said Hamilton.
“I’m really proud of the team and 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.”
The reigning world champion and current championship leader’s pace has been impressive and has placed them as favourites to take pole position in qualifying on Saturday.
The pace of the Mercedes was so strong on Thursday, they are close to surpassing the absolute track record by Ricciardo with two session on Saturday to spare. Hamilton commented on about how intense it can be when completing a lap around Monaco at such high speed.
“Every year we come back here, it gets faster and you really notice it when you’re going past the barriers. 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.”