Lewis Hamilton believes that the much-anticipated upgrades to the W14 are making a difference.
Though the German team is somewhat limited in how far it can upgrade its 2023 contender, short of creating a whole new car, seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton feels that the raft of upgrades, which include heavily revised sidepods and a new front suspension, are making a difference.
“We got a lot of data,” said Hamilton following Friday’s running. “It’s not the place to ultimately test an upgrade but the car was generally feeling good.
“I think ultimately it’s a bit of a shame we weren’t as close as I hoped at the end of the session,” he admitted, “but I definitely felt the improvements.
“We’ve just got to keep chipping away at it, see if we can squeeze any more juice out of the car.
“In P1, I thought maybe we’re looking pretty good,” he said, “but we’re always looking pretty good in P1 for some reason. In this session (P2) we were close to half a second off.
“I think that maybe we could have been three-tenths, but I don’t think we have half a second in the bag. We’ll see, we’ll work on it and see if we can squeeze some more out tonight.”
Asked where he believes the team’s engineers need to focus, he said: “It’s very clear where the lack of performance is for me. We’ll talk about that in the debrief.
“We’ll put our heads together and try to figure out how we can do that with what we have. But hopefully this gives us a platform to work on moving forwards.”
While Hamilton was feeling positive, his teammate, George Russell enjoyed a somewhat difficult day, particularly in terms of turning on his tyres.
“We’ll work overnight to see what more we can do just to try and get more out of the tyre,” said the Briton. “We know that the base performance of the car is good and we normally overachieve maybe on a Sunday and underachieve on a Saturday. So we need to try and flip those over this weekend.
“It’s not a matter of moments and it’s sometimes a bit baked-in to the car,” he continued. “So I’m not expecting tomorrow to be an easy day but we’ll work hard and see what we can do.”
The youngster had previously said that Monaco is not an ideal litmus test when it comes to upgrades, and after Friday’s running he stands by his earlier comment.
“Monaco’s such a unique circuit it’s not really the place to be evaluating any updates or changes,” he said. “We knew that coming into the weekend, so we’re sort of almost forgetting about the upgrades, we’ll worry about that next weekend and just focus on trying to improve around here on a unique circuit.
“Qualifying is obviously the most important part of the weekend and qualifying is a part of the weekend where we generally struggle. We always do better on a Sunday when you look at the last 18 months. So we need to try to figure some stuff out overnight.
“There’s definitely some positive signs to take from the session. Definitely improved from FP1. But it’s never easy around this place.”
Check out our Friday gallery from Monaco here.