Monaco GP: Lewis Hamilton declares Mercedes Friday the ‘best day’ of the 2024 F1 season so far | F1 News

Lewis Hamilton has described Mercedes’ Friday Monaco Grand Prix as his “best day” of the season so far on track.

Hamilton was fastest in first practice and two tenths behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in second practice, finishing second.

The seven-time world champion, who has not won an F1 race in two-and-a-half years, looked quick immediately and had the advantage over his Mercedes team-mate George Russell.

“It’s been a good day, definitely the best day we’ve had on the track,” said three-time Monaco winner Hamilton.

“The car felt very positive, I really enjoyed driving it, the track is amazing and the grip is good. We still have some challenges, but it seemed strong.”

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Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets in first practice ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix

Mercedes are yet to claim a podium this year and both drivers claimed they were in “no man’s land” at Imola, a step behind Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari but ahead of everyone else.

Having a strong car over bumps and curbs is key in Monaco, something Hamilton seemed to have no problem with during Friday practice.

“What was a surprise was the level of grip and how the car reacted here,” he added. “It’s definitely a nicer ride than we’ve had here before, especially the last two years.”

“In the second session, I don’t know if we improved or not. Definitely, in the long runs, we have a lot of work to do tonight to make sure we make it to the end of the race. We just need to improve the long race pace and graining.”

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Highlights from Friday practice at the Monaco Grand Prix

Russell backs Hamilton’s positivity

Russell was not as comfortable with the car compared to Hamilton, as he finished the second practice session in tenth place, but was third in the first practice.

The 26-year-old, who won Mercedes’ last race at the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix, believes a top-five finish is the minimum target for Saturday’s qualifying, which airs live on Sky Sports F1 at 3 p.m.

“We know how quickly everything changes. Today was one of our best Fridays, without a doubt. The car felt better than ever in Monaco, so there are a lot of positives,” said Russell.

“Everyone is developing very quickly at the moment. You see how fast the lap times are today compared to last year, we are much faster, potentially even breaking the lap records. It feels good and we will have to see what the weather is doing.” Well.”

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George Russell said his Mercedes was “the best I’ve felt in Monaco”

Russell, who used a new front wing on Friday, had problems with vibrations when braking, forcing him to end his second session a little early.

He hopes Mercedes can fix the problem overnight as it has cost him performance.

“As soon as I hit the brake, everything fell apart. I don’t know what was happening. I tried my best to hold on as tight as I could, like a gorilla trying to hold on and the thing kept shaking,” Russell explained.

“On a track like this, where you really need confidence to attack, that set us back and we decided to call it a day during the long run and analyze what was happening. Overall, the car has been working very well today, but Charles is far ahead.”

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Lewis Hamilton recalls his first visit to Monaco as he confidently looks ahead to the race weekend in a car he believes is more fun and predictable to drive.

Button: Hamilton makes the most of the car

Mercedes is trying to bring improvements to each race as they try to get closer to the front.

Sky Sports F1’s Jenson Button says Mercedes will be “up there” in the standings and believes a four-team fight for pole position is on the cards.

“I don’t think any (Mercedes) driver has been so happy in the last two races. It’s good to see them confident with the car. Lewis is getting the most out of it,” Button said.

“George has his problems, but he’s still fine. The vibration is strange. They’ll be looking at the steering rack and also the brakes because when he hits the brakes he feels the vibration.”

“It’s not a nice feeling when you’re pushing the car to the limit and you can’t see where you’re going and you can’t be precise about what you need to be here for.”

Monaco GP and Indy 500 live schedule from Sky Sports F1

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Let’s take a look back at some of the most dramatic moments that took place at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Saturday May 25
09:40: Speed ​​F3
11:15: Third practice of the Monaco GP (session starts at 11:30 a.m.)*
1:10 p.m.: Speed ​​F2*
14:15: Preparation for Monaco GP qualifying*
3:00 p.m.: Monaco GP classification*
5:00 p.m.: Ted’s classification notebook

Sunday May 26
6:55 am: F3 main race
08:35: F2 main race
12:30 p.m.: Sunday Grand Prix: preparation for the Monaco GP*
4:00 p.m.: Checkered flag: reaction to the Monaco GP
5:00 p.m.: Ted’s Notebook
5:30 p.m.: Indy 500

*also live on Sky Sports main event

It’s time for the most famous F1 race of all: the Monaco Grand Prix. Watch every session of the famous street circuit live on Sky Sports F1, with Sunday’s race at 2pm Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month membership – no contract, cancel anytime

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