(Motorsport-Total.com) – Lewis Hamilton has been on the verge of retiring more than once in qualifying in Monaco (Formula 1 2023 lives on tape), but each time the Mercedes driver has been able to save himself in the next section with his last attempt. “I didn’t always try to do it at the last minute, but it just happened that way.”
Only Lewis Hamilton made it to the next section
Because Hamilton had big problems getting the tires warm on Saturday and so he always had to drive several laps to get to the right window. But of course it wasn’t without risks: “I was always able to get there on the last lap, but my heart was pounding in my throat,” he says.
Because he knew: if there is a yellow or red flag, it means that it is over and it will go out. “But we got through it and I’m really grateful for the run we were able to make.”
Because the last lap of Q3 put Hamilton sixth, and his penalty against Charles Leclerc gave him a new starting position on Sunday. “I’ll take whatever I can get,” the Mercedes driver laughs.
However, Mercedes’ new upgrade hasn’t yielded the desired result, although Hamilton says he clearly felt the improvements – especially up front.
Hamilton decides against his team
The seven-time world champion still has some unfulfilled wishes. Before qualifying, he had identified the middle sector as a weak point and, against the will of his team, changed the car, making it even more difficult for him in the last sector. “But you can’t have everything,” he says.
“We tried something at the weekend, but there was some uncertainty,” explains Hamilton. “We got back halfway with the other car, but I still had it all the way in. So I said we should take it off, but they said, ‘No, no, no.'” We should let it work.”
But Hamilton triumphed over his team: “I was sure and said: if I’m wrong, I will take the blame.”
And at first, according to motorsport chief Toto Wolff, the “brave decision” didn’t seem to pay off: “The car didn’t really feel together,” he says, “and we had to take a third set of tires in Q2. There was a lot of pressure.”
In the end, Hamilton ended up in front of his teammate George Russell and saw himself ready for the race: “Maybe he was a little worse in one lap, but I think he will be better in the race.”
At Mercedes, however, you have to admit that sixth and eighth weren’t what you’d hoped for with the new upgrade: “I think sixth and eighth are not very good,” says Wolff. “But I also think that the three-tenths drop in the less positive third quarter is strong for both drivers.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton complained about the drivability of his W14, but Wolff denied it had anything to do with the upgrade: “No, it has nothing to do with the upgrade,” he explains. “That’s what we tried in qualifying, it didn’t make it any easier.”
Hamilton himself admits that the upgrade took much longer than expected: “Sure. I don’t know what else to say! It’s definitely hard when you see the concept has proven itself and works. But it’s not easy just to change it.”
It refers to Aston Martin, which had already changed its concept at the beginning of last year, but according to it did not become faster. “It took quite a bit of work over the winter,” he says.
Mercedes ‘still dependent on others’
And although Mercedes is now going the way of the Red Bull, the bulls are still on their way: “The fact is that we are going more in this direction, but their airflow – how they control the vortices and everything else – is still a little different from ours, Hamilton says.
“I think we still have to work on being able to use a similar junior winger like them,” said the Briton. “We’re still not as efficient, they still have less drag, they still have more downforce all around, so we still have a lot of work to do to catch up.”
You can see that also in qualifying for Monaco: “At the moment, we still depend on others,” he knows. “When ‘Checo’ hits a wall, we say thank you. But Ocon came out of nowhere. Laid in a great lap.”
“I was really hoping for Fernando [Alonso] He will end up at the pole. I saw him and thought this might be great for him. But Red Bull was very fast. “But now Aston is almost on par with Red Bull and they’ve done a great job there,” said Hamilton.
“I’m really happy for Aston and I hope we’ll be there soon.”
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