Hamilton on W14 upgrades: “You could really feel it straight away”

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Although he didn’t challenge for pole position, Lewis Hamilton had a promising day on the streets of Monte Carlo.

Photo credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

A crash in FP3 left him a little bit on the back foot heading into qualifying, but in the end he secured P6. That’s become P5 as Charles Leclerc got penalised for blocking Lando Norris in Q3.

Hamilton did have some scares in Q1 and Q2 as he was in the dreaded relegation zone in the closing minutes, but he ultimately made it through on both occasions.

The Brit explained post-qualifying about the difficulties of getting the tyres into the operating window immediately.

“I didn’t try to leave it late. It’s just how it turned out!

“I just struggled to get temperature into the tyres in this session. So it was always that last lap that I managed to just pull something out.

“It was like my heart was in my mouth because it could be a yellow flag, could be a red flag, who knows. But we made it through and I’m grateful for that.”

Hamilton spoke about where he was losing out through the weekend so far compared to the RB19 and AMR23 in particular.

He also explained the improvements he felt from the updated W14 and the help it’s given him at the front of the car. Qualifying has mostly been a struggle for the seven-time World Champion this year, but he looked strong over a single lap throughout the weekend.

“Firstly, 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.

“Our middle sector has been where we’re losing out all weekend so far. So I had to make some changes, I made a changeover into qualifying which made it harder for us in the last sector. So, we can’t always have a cake and eat it.”

Hamilton also talked about the fact Mercedes had been trying something on the W14 with both cars. Ultimately he wasn’t happy with it and completely rolled back on whatever they were trying.

He believes it will be a bigger benefit in the race as the 38-year-old tries to bag his second podium of 2023.

“Yeah, so we’ve been trying something through the weekend. It was just some uncertainty with it.

“We went back halfway on the other car, but I went the full way on mine. I was like, ‘no, take it off’. They were like, ‘no, no, we should keep it, we should keep it’. I was like, ‘I’m certain of it’. So I said, ‘if I’m wrong, then I’ll put my hands up’.

“I think at the end it was okay. Probably for a single lap it was a little bit worse, but I think for the race we’ll be better.”