It was a difficult pair of sessions for 7-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff. Not only did he complain of ‘bouncing’, but he only classified at 10th for FP1 (0.968 behind Charles Leclerc on top), and also finished 12th in FP2 (+1.611 behind Leclerc).
This comes after Hamilton had impressed in the race at Spain, where he came back from P19 (where he had been due to an early collision with Kevin Magnussen) to finish P5. Hamilton would probably have finished higher if not for a late water leak issue, which meant he had to lift and coast and concede his position to Carlos Sainz as a result.
Mercedes’ team principal, Toto Wolff had earlier stated that his expectations for Monaco were low. On being asked if there was optimism amongst the team for another good result at Monaco following a strong weekend in Spain, Wolff had said:
“I wouldn’t say so, because we have been particularly off-pace this weekend in the slow corners in the last sector, due to overheating. But I’d be curious to see where we are this weekend. We still struggle with warm up a little bit, so my expectations for Monaco are lower than on any other circuit.”
And certainly, based on the practice sessions, Mercedes look unlikely to recreate any semblance of their weekend in Spain.
Nico Rosberg: “It will be tough for Lewis to come back.”
Nico Rosberg has earlier already been critical of Hamilton’s driving this season, and is usually full of praise for George Russell. The pair had a famously icy relationship during their time as teammates at Mercedes, but it has seemed to have mellowed now that Rosberg has retired.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Rosberg was pessimistic of his former teammate (and team’s) weekend and thought that Hamilton’s weekend would not get any better from here, that he’s been struggling.
“Lewis has been having a hard time out there today. He lost his way out there.”
“It will be tough for Lewis to come back.”
However, the former world champion was once again full of praise for George Russell, praising him for adapting to the car.
“We know the Mercedes car is difficult to drive here, but George has stuck with it. He’s found this flow, once he finds that rhythm and flow he is making incredible progress. He’s in a fight with Lando for best of the rest.”
It will be interesting to see how the rest of the weekend turns out and if Hamilton can bounce back, but for now, it seems that home-town hero Charles Leclerc might just be in for a good time at his home race. Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton will hope to improve their fortunes and take another solid haul of points.