“My eyes are coming out of their sockets”

(Motorsport-Total.com) – “We want to be the best this weekend,” said Mercedes driver George Russell. The Silver Arrows understand that under normal circumstances they shouldn’t stand a chance against Ferrari and Red Bull in Monaco. This was also shown in Friday’s free practice, with Russell finishing sixth and teammate Lewis Hamilton twelfth.

Clearly recognizable: Lewis Hamilton’s left front wheel hung in the air


The seven-time world champion in particular had a tough time in the fight on Friday – albeit with the car below the track. “The car bounces really hard,” he says. However, this is less due to porpoises, which seem to have been dominated by silver arrows recently. “It’s a different bounce,” says Hamilton. One related to the training course in Monaco.

“This is probably the most uneven track I’ve ever ridden,” says Hamilton, speaking of “the most uneven roller coaster ride I’ve ever ridden.” He felt like he got 100 hits in one song. “Your eyes will fall out of their sockets,” he says plainly. “I don’t know if other people feel the same way.”

This may also have been the cause of braking errors, such as those in the Mirabeau curve, where he drove into the run-off with smoke tires. “The car was just laid out,” says Hamilton. Russell supports this theory.

Almost like a wheelie

“There are places where both tires are in the air. In Turn 5, the right front wheel is up and everything is so stiff that the left front wheel loses contact with the ground as well,” Russell says. “You’re about to do a wheelie because there’s no front wheel left on the ground.”

All of this made it particularly difficult for Hamilton to get all together: “I’m just struggling with the car,” he says. “I don’t remember ever going through anything like this.”

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Therefore, the Monaco experience isn’t really nice for him when he thinks of his early years: “Back then, we had a really light and nimble car. It was so much nicer to drive here,” he says. “And now we have these super heavy cars.”

“I’m not saying it’s not fun. But I couldn’t put together great lap times. The best laps were really in the first practice session. We study the data and then see how we can improve the waves. I’m hoping for a better day tomorrow,” Hamilton said.

Battle with McLaren

Because the car actually feels like it could almost be at the front of Ferrari and Red Bull. “But there are only these things that prevent us,” said the Englishman. “Our battle will be to stay ahead of McLaren.”

Especially with the cars’ high rigidity, the W13 doesn’t seem to match the Ferrari, for example, which managed to have the best time in both laps. “Ferrari shines again. We saw at Imola how good it is on the pavement,” says Russell. “They’re there easily, and of course that’s playing into their hands at the moment.”

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As a result, Russell is also unsure if Mercedes can close the gap at the front overnight. He prefers to focus on McLaren, who finished the race ahead of Mercedes thanks to Lando Norris. “We are not where we want to be,” admits Russell. “We want to be the best among the rest. That will be a fair result this weekend.”

“But we have to make sure that cute little Lando doesn’t get in the way.”

There are also pluses

At least, there are also some positive things to report. According to senior racing engineer Andrew Shovlin, tires at Mercedes go into the right window quite easily, and Hamilton’s time isn’t quite as representative: “Lewis has had several occasions when he’s been banned, so we can add more,” he is.

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The long-term pace was good, too. “We seem to have less tire degradation than some of the others,” says Shovlin, but he does keep that in mind: “But this is Monaco, where long distances don’t affect much when you’re stuck in traffic.”

“There is a lot that we need to work on overnight, but if we can make progress on a few of these issues, we will be able to find more speed.”

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