Formula 1

Hamilton excited by more competition

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2021 Monaco Grand Prix, Thursday - Steve Etherington

Sir Lewis Hamilton decided to look on at the positives after a middling day in Practice for the Monaco Grand Prix. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver spoke about his love for the track and his excitement over the revival of the Scuderia Ferrari‘s at Monte Carlo.

“Everyone loves to drive here – the weather has been great and this track is rapid, absolutely mesmerising, so I’ve enjoyed today. The Ferraris look really strong, which is great, it means more competition.”

Hamilton focused on the high-grip at Monaco this year after track resurfacing and how that was affecting his car.

“For me personally, this is a track where you need to walk before you can run but you’ve got to do that quickly, obviously. The grip on this track is really high this year, they’ve redone the surface so there’s a lot of grip.”

He was very aware that his Mercedes needed time to get up to speed, as has been obvious from the majority of events during the championship so far. He talked about those struggles and was full of praise for his team and the car ahead of the one day break before we kick into the race weekend proper.
 
“Whichever track you go to, the car never gives you everything you want immediately, you need to acclimatise. From a driver’s point of view, you’re experimenting – you’ve got to dial-in your driving style, figure out where you can and can’t push, where you’ve got to give up some time to get some, and you’ve got to really work with the car.”
 
“The car is good, we’ve made some decent steps with the balance so generally I’m very happy. I’ve got some changes I’ll make this evening as we analyse today and it’s going to be close tomorrow, which is exciting.”

It seems even Lewis has made a mistake over when the next sessions are, as they take place on Saturday as usual. Hopefully his car is properly set up for a good fight when the last two all important sessions come along.

Bottas: “I’m lacking some front end on this circuit”.

2021 Monaco Grand Prix, Thursday – LAT Images

Valtteri Bottas didn’t have the ideal Thursday in Monaco, with the Finn explaining his performance during both practice sessions was hampered by some front end issues with his W12.

The Finn finished P6 during the first practice session, and then followed it up with the fifth fastest time in the afternoon on medium and soft tyres. While Bottas was pleased to be back in Monaco after the event was left off the 2020 calendar due to the coronavirus pandemic, he pointed out his car was lacking front end grip – an issue Mercedes have had at other tracks.

“It’s nice to be back on this track after a two-year gap, it’s still so tight around here with very little space. It’s very demanding and I feel like we still have work to do with the cars – from my side, I’m lacking some front end on this circuit.

“We’ve had similar issues at other tracks, mainly in mid-corner but here, it’s all slow-speed corners and if you don’t have a good feeling at the front, you can lose time easily. Our car also feels quite stiff on the bumps and cambers in the corners which we’ll look into. It will be important to turn the tyres on quickly and get them working. Today for the first lap, I couldn’t get them to work immediately so we need to work hard on that for tomorrow.

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Michael is a young writer from Drogheda in Ireland. He has watched Formula 1 since 2010 and fell in love with Formula 1 after the Canadian Grand Prix in 2011. He previously hosted a little known podcast called "The Commentary Box" for 4 years on Belfield FM. He is a newcomer to sports writing and cut his teeth in with Political Opinion pieces in his college newspaper. He won the 2021 SPARC Journalism Award for Best Political Piece and hopes to build on his achievements over time.
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