Lewis Hamilton’s defiant car setup backfires, adds to his self-inflicted woes in Monaco GP qualifying

The Englishman struggled throughout qualifying despite the W14's new upgrades


Lewis Hamilton’s defiant car setup backfires, adds to his self-inflicted woes in Monaco GP qualifying

Lewis Hamilton (Credits: News18)

The qualifying session at the Monaco GP proved to be one of the most exciting of the season, with a surprise around every corner. One who didn’t enjoy it as much as the rest was Lewis Hamilton, who struggled throughout the session. He only managed to qualify in P6 and was promoted to P5, courtesy of Charles Leclerc’s penalty.

During the FP3 session, Lewis Hamilton suffered a crash, adding to his challenges. However, he managed to secure his place in Q2 with a last-minute run. The same nail-biting scenario repeated in Q2 as he secured advancement with a final lap. He complained about the drivability of the car consistently.

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Speaking to Motorsport.com on his issues, he said, “So we’d been trying something through the weekend, and there was some uncertainty with it. We went back halfway on the other car, but I went the full way on mine. I was like, ‘We should take it off’, and they were like, ‘No, no, we should keep it, we should keep it’ . “I was certain of it and said, ‘If I’m wrong, then I’ll put my hands up’. In the end, I think it was OK. Probably for a single lap, it was a little bit worse, but for the race, I think it will be better.”

Hamilton’s decision to deviate from the team’s qualifying setups proved detrimental, exacerbating his struggles with car control and resulting in a challenging day for him. Regardless of his troubles, he out-qualified his teammate George Russell and is optimistic about his chances during the race, where he feels his setup will perform better.

Related: Max Verstappen ‘gave it everything’ to secure maiden Monaco GP pole while Sergio Perez spoils championship chase with Q1 crash

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Mercedes’ upgrades have brought a significant improvement

Mercedes at the Monaco GP via Evening Standard
Mercedes at the Monaco GP via Evening Standard

The Silver Arrows have been a victim of persistent struggles ever since the introduction of the new technical directives in 2022. They have struggled with their car, and the optimal design has seemed to elude them. Their 2023 season has been shrouded in inconsistency. They endured a torrid start to the season, too, unable to keep up with customer team Aston Martin.

They announced big upgrades for the Imola GP, which was canceled. This carried over to the Monaco GP, where it is typically not recommended to introduce an upgrade package as it limits speed and mobility greatly, making it difficult to monitor the true extent of an improvement. They ditched their ‘zero-pod design’, referring to their new challenger as the W14B.

The W14B is anticipated to turn Mercedes’ fortunes around. So, the upgrades have had an impact, with both drivers feeling more comfortable with the car. Lewis Hamilton also said, “The team did a really great job in bringing these upgrades – you could really feel it straight away, particularly at the front of the car.” They brought massive floor upgrades in addition to their side pods, and so far, it looks like they are on the right track.

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The true extent of their improvement is unclear, given the circuit on display is Monaco, but it is a step forward. They will undoubtedly strive for a positive result, and carry that momentum into the upcoming races, hopefully renewing themselves and fighting at the top once more. Their main competitors are Aston Martin, whom they aspire to beat in the coming weeks.

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