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Monaco GP: Practice team notes - Mercedes

NEWS STORY
20/05/2021

Lewis and Valtteri managed P5 and P6 respectively in a solid, if not spectacular, morning practice session. Lewis managed P3 in the afternoon session on the Soft tyres, with Valtteri P5 on the same compound. Both drivers completed some balance work on a range of short and long runs.

Lewis Hamilton: 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.

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.

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.

Valtteri Bottas: 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. Ferrari look quick, as do Red Bull, so it's not only about two teams which will be a lot of fun.

Andrew Shovlin: For a Monaco Thursday this one has been relatively straightforward. Traffic is always a feature and as expected, the shorter sessions make it hard to do much by way of long runs. That said, we've covered the majority of what we set out to and we have a decent understanding of our limitations and the areas that we need to improve. This season we've learnt to expect Max's company in the battle at the front but it was a surprise to us to see both Ferraris looking so strong; you don't need to scrutinise the timesheets for long to see that their pace is genuine - they could be real contenders for the win.

We've got an extra day to work on things tomorrow which is handy as it feels like we need to improve both our single lap and long run performance, but Monaco is all about putting together the entire weekend and today was a pretty decent start.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Monaco, here.

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