Hamilton: Mercedes’ Monaco struggle bodes well for other tracks

2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes’ tough weekend int Monaco indicates they should be more competitive at other, more conventional circuits later in the year.

The team looked in good shape on Thursday, but ran into difficulties when the temperature fell at the circuit on Saturday. Hamilton qualified seventh and was unable to make any progress from there in a frustrating race for the seven-times champion.

Hamilton said the team had not been able to make the tyres work as well as their rivals had in Monaco.

“We’re struggling with our tyres in cold conditions for whatever reasons,” he said. “We couldn’t switch on tyres, get our tyres working the way the others could [in qualifying].

“But then at the same time, they were able to have really good long runs, good race pace. So that’s a big, big question of how we utilise the tyres on tracks like this.

“Obviously in the last race and the previous races we’ve generally been relatively good on the tyres, but this one particularly has been weak. So that’s an area that we need to try and understand and rectify for the future.”

Mercedes’ form at Monaco hasn’t been as good as at other circuits, Hamilton pointed out, which he believes is a consequence of the team’s design direction with its cars.

“This has never generally been a strong track for us,” he said. “We have the longest car.

“A longer car is like a bus to turn through the corners. It’s not as nimble as the others on the small track like this, but it’s great elsewhere. There are things that don’t work here which have boded well for the other circuits.”

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Despite the retirements of two drivers who started ahead of him, Hamilton finished where he started after other rivals moved ahead of him when he pitted. He lost the lead in the championship to race winner Max Verstappen.

However Hamilton said he isn’t dwelling on the biggest setback to his championship bid so far this year.

Monaco GP review: “Actions speak louder than words”: Verstappen reminds Hamilton he has little to prove in title fight
“I don’t really feel any pain at the moment,” he said. “Of course it’s not a great weekend. But I’m not dwelling on it.

“There’s a lot that we could have done better in terms of how we prepared coming into the weekend. We’ve had some some good conversations through the weekend.

“But it’s not good enough for all of us. We win and we lose as a team and it’s collectively not a good job for all of us, across the board. We don’t take it lightly but there’s no point getting all depressed, we’ve got to start looking at the data and figuring out why we’re in this position.”

Hamilton pointed to the team’s track record in rebounding quickly from difficult weekends.

“We’re going to be on pause over these next days once we get some analysis. Naturally we all want answers within the team so I know everyone will be working flat-out to make sure that hopefully this sort of weekend doesn’t happen again.

“We’ve shown time and time again in the past that we can bounce back from these weekends. Hence why I’m not the most stressed. ”

“I’m sure the guys hopefully will get to blow off some steam, see their families tonight, and they’ll be back in the factory tomorrow,” he added. “I’ll be probably invited into a meeting already on Tuesday, and then probably one later on in the week in terms of our targets to analyse and then plan for the next one.”

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2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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38 comments on “Hamilton: Mercedes’ Monaco struggle bodes well for other tracks”

  1. Hamilton said the team had not been able to make the tyres work as well as their rivals had in Monaco.

    Bottas could, he fought for pole and was on the front grid.
    But maybe his car was shorter.
    But I get the bus comparison. He needed that one for the team.

    1. Valteri’s car was shorter indeed. The faster you travel the shorter the lengths. General relativity.

      1. Ah yes, but the ruler also gets shorter @zomtec ;)

        1. Jockey Ewing
          25th May 2021, 21:25

          Haha, nice ones, good vs better :) <3

      2. Special relativity. No mass considerations needed. Of course general relativity includes special. But it is overkill

    2. They’re like “GG low rank elo bots” and “now me troll this match” and so many more!

    3. Just wondering how and why he was slower than Bottas when in your words, “Lewis had a flawless weekend.” Nothing he’s said yet has really explained that. The car being long is fine but Bottas’ car is the same length.

    4. Might be the best bus driver. Hey, GBDOAT has a nice ring to it. However, as a race car driver, doesn’t hold a candle, sorry

    5. And last year’s Mercedes finished ahead of this years.
      Clearly there is something amiss, Ham did not fulfill the car’s potential and that is unusual.

    6. “Bottas could, he fought for pole and was on the front grid.”, by squeezing his tyres. Early in the race was shown an audio transcription from Bottas pratically begging for pitting, he fell more than 4 seconds from Verstappen, Lewis, on the other hand, are always breathing on Max’s neck.
      Anybody whose care to read Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo tips knows the compromises in setting up your car, baffled the armchairs here don’t.
      Bottas thought track position was king, but made himself helpless (not to mention Monacos’ pit stops are prone to change the fate of the race – 2015, ie).
      In this very site there was a thread that put light on Hamilton’s frutration, I bet you hadn’t read it entirely, at the end there was a quote from Toto:
      “There was one particular aspect of tyre heating that we discussed this morning and on Thursday night where we could have taken a different direction, a direction that [Hamilton] was interested to pursue that we didn’t. And that was exactly the content of our discussions now, how can we go into an exploration mode when we expect much colder temperatures?”.
      Lewis pointed a direction, the team didn’t follow. Strange thing is: to Brundle Toto acknowledge during an interview that Hamiltons’s directions helped to sort out the rear instability of one of the Ws in past years.

      I know, I know, it’s useless to try reasonabling with someone who’s not interested in facts, but only in demeaning others people, but I’m writing not to you, but to all that will surf here seeking for insights on Formula 1 dynamics.
      Peace and healthy

  2. Bottas proved this is all not correct. Also the Mercedes has gone well at Monaco in the past with this long wheelbase. He seems to be putting blame on the team, well he is part of the team. Dunno, Max putting him under pressure.

    1. Mercedes goes so well, that they do ok even in disaster tracks.

      But Hamilton underperformed greatly.

      Probably his use of tires in the end, not turning them on enough.

      Same reason he destroys Bottas on most tracks hurt him in Monaco.

      1. Hamilton was half a second down on Bottas in qualifying, by his standards that’s underperforming. Any time a driver is that much slower in the same car it’s going to be looked at by the teams to figure out what went wrong.

        Still there’s no reason for Mercedes to be too concerned as Monaco is a unique circuit and, as Ferrari demonstrated, performance here can be a bit different to other tracks.

      2. @fakepuker

        “Hamilton didn’t underperform.”

        You’re right: He failed miserably!

        1. That’s more like it!!

    2. @john-h that’s not really true though is it as Bottas fell away from Verstappen to be 5 seconds back at the pit stops. His tyres clearly just fell away while others around him didn’t.

      As Hamilton didn’t get his chance to put a second lap in during qualifying it’s not really fair to say he underperformed although he certainly didn’t look to have a good qualifying session up to that point either. HAd he finished ahead of Norris and Gasly then I would have considered that the best of a bad job for him this weekend so he wasn’t far away and I think he’d have got there with his last run if he had the chance.

      When it came to the race, it’s impossible to pass at Monaco, even more so this year. Once Hamilton had that grid position and didn’t make any places at the first corner then the next chance was at the pit stops and his team decided to go for the undercut which with hindsight was clearly not the correct call as the overcut was far more powerful. That call lost him 2 places and he had to settle for seventh and fastest lap.

      I’d say he had a weekend to forget but there wasn’t any obvious huge mistake this weekend although he’ll likely be on the strugglers list with Ricciardo and Tsunoda.

      1. He was slower than Bottas throughout practice and qualifying, he absolutely underperformed, he should have put in a better banker lap in Q3, but the reality is that he didn’t have the pace. My comment is based around the race weekend, not Sunday which as everyone knows is less of a contributor to the final result @slowmo.

        Personally I was dissapointed to see some of the post-race interviews with Hamilton saying it wasn’t him who needed to improve but the team (on Dutch TV I think). As above I’m a Hamilton fan, have been for ages, but this was poor form and I’m more than happy to call it out – I thought “we win and lose together”.

    3. ian dearing
      24th May 2021, 9:51

      How did Bottas prove its not correct? He was complaining about the tyres way before anyone else, pitted early, and as the team said the tyres were completed gone. Surely that proves the point, not disproves? Merc tyre norm, difficult to turn on in Q, but lasts longer in the race. Monaco, difficult to turn on in Q (as the RB also was for some reason), didn’t last in the race.

      Interesting that the last time we were at Monaco a wrong tyre did 60 laps plus, but this year with half the race being on ‘coast’ a number of teams were still struggling with tyre life. The part new grippy surface?

      1. Because he qualified 3rd on Saturday, that’s why.

        1. Which completely misses the point of what he is saying. Did they both have issues warming up the tyres throughout practice and Q. Yes. Where those same tyres destroyed early in the race. Yes. Hamilton or Bottas could have put it on pole and the same thing would have happened.
          You disagree with his (positive) point that generally tyres that are slow to warm up last longer in the race, Monaco was a one off, and it should be back to normal at the next races, and your evidence against is that Bottas qualified 3rd behind a RB and Ferrari?

          1. I know they had issues warming up the tyres, but he seems to be blaming this and the length of the car for his results in qualifying, however his teammate drove around these to qualify much higher on the grid, and indeed at one point in Q2 get very close to Max.

            Honestly, I’m very surprised at the staunch defence of Hamilton here. Just to clarify, I am a Hamilton fan too.

          2. They did make changes to Bottas car setup that they didn’t do for Lewis which helped turn the tyres on, but they can’t have been too sure they’d work or they’d have done it to both cars for quali. Still, it’s something I’m sure they’ll look into for other slower tracks like Hungary.

            IMO it’s DAS that’s causing their issues – it’s just taking them longer to get the right balance between heating the tyres and getting them to last.

          3. I don’t see this as anything to defend or attack. He made a logical, positive statement, that seems to have been borne out by past performance. Difficult warming tyres during Q gives longer tyre life during the race. The headline says it all, Monaco struggles bode well for other tracks.
            Same with the longer wheelbase, it’s a pain on the tighter tracks, but comes into its own on the faster tracks. Particularly as more and more corners can now be taken flat.
            Its about the car characteristics and how those characteristics should help Mercedes in the future, not who did better out of Bottas and Ham over the weekend.

          4. The Mercedes was definitely struggling this weekend – I think the comments in general are more about why Hamilton consistently talking about how poor Mercedes were this weekend without admitting that he was also he was also poor compared to his usual impeccable standards.

            It just seems a little at odds with the usual “we win and lose as one” schtick.

    4. As many probably know on this site, I have been a Hamilton fan since 2007, however I call it as I see it. I’m not stretching any facts, he should have been quicker. Throughout all free practice and qualifying he was a step behind Bottas. Monaco is all about Saturday not Sunday as everyone knows.

      1. @john-h – You’re trying to reason with someone who I’m still convinced is a regular poster on here playing a character to wind people up. I wouldn’t take much notice! :D

    5. @john-h Bottas was still only third fastest. Plus his tyres wore out a lot faster than for the other top runners.

      1. Bottas is nobody’s benchmark. He is a wingman like Perez. Charles and Max would put Bottas to bed in same machinery. So you cannot conclude the Merc wasn’t potentially quickest car in Monaco.
        Lewis loses too many times in qualifying against an avg driver like Bottas (who is Hulk/gasly calibre).
        Normally the excuse is that he sets up the car for Sunday. Who believes that after this weekend, lol.

      2. @f10clown
        Lol, F1oclown at his best.
        Spain: Max can’t manage his tyres.
        Monaco: The Mercedes can’t manage its tyres.

        Hmmmm……

        1. Name calling doesn’t help.

  3. I really think that Monaco is one of those circuits that’s nothing to do with modern F1 racing, and all about the money and prestige! For all the work that goes in to trying to make a modern F1 car able to overtake the circus gets taken to a circuit that you basically can’t overtake on track!

    Time to say good bye to it I think!!

    1. @kev-f1 Overtaking is not the be all and end all of F1.

      1. really @asanator?? I thought overtaking was fundamental to ALL racing!

  4. We this and we that, has anybody bothered to tell him that Bottas had the pace to challenge for pole.

    It was not a car thing as much as a Hamilton thing, he had a terrible weekend.

    Reply moderated
  5. This episode gives insight into how bottas can be competitive on Saturdays but often gets dropped on Sunday. His set up choices may compromise tire life. Here for once Hamilton would have been better taking bottas’s set up style and then trying to hang on in the race. Instead of just relying on his skill to qualify ahead. He and his engineers just got caught out by the weather and stuck with their usual set up approach until it was too late out of hubris.

    1. to be fair he wasn’t dropped on a Sunday. the wheel got stuck

  6. Lewis is not wrong. Statistically he still has nothing to worry about given the season is long, Monaco doesnt suit his car at all (same goes to some extent for Baku bar the straight) but the vast majority of tracks to come do fit his car. Max may be happy now, but it won’t be enough against the Merc-Lewis combi.

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