After much of the attention was on Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in the lead up to the FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2021, Ferrari stole the show on Day 1, much to the delight of the 7-Time World Champion who is happy to have more competition.
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas managed P5 and P6 respectively in a solid, if not spectacular, morning practice session, while Hamilton managed P3 in the afternoon session on the soft tyres, with Bottas P5 on the same compound.
Lewis Hamilton Relishing Monaco Return
After a one year hiatus due to the pandemic, Lewis Hamilton is relishing the return of Monaco to the calendar as it pushes all the drivers to their limit.
‘Everyone loves to drive here – the weather has been great and this track is rapid, absolutely mesmerising, so I’ve enjoyed today. The Ferraris look really strong, which is great, it means more competition.
‘For me personally, this is a track where you need to walk before you can run but you’ve got to do that quickly, obviously. The grip on this track is really high this year, they’ve redone the surface so there’s a lot of grip.
‘Whichever track you go to, the car never gives you everything you want immediately, you need to acclimatise. From a driver’s point of view, you’re experimenting – you’ve got to dial-in your driving style, figure out where you can and can’t push, where you’ve got to give up some time to get some, and you’ve got to really work with the car.
‘The car is good, we’ve made some decent steps with the balance so generally I’m very happy. I’ve got some changes I’ll make this evening as we analyse today and it’s going to be close tomorrow, which is exciting,’ said Hamilton.
Slow Start For Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas made a slow start to his Monaco return, and will be looking to get out of the blocks faster come Saturday.
‘It’s nice to be back on this track after a two-year gap, it’s still so tight around here with very little space. It’s very demanding and I feel like we still have work to do with the cars – from my side, I’m lacking some front end on this circuit. We’ve had similar issues at other tracks, mainly in mid-corner but here, it’s all slow-speed corners and if you don’t have a good feeling at the front, you can lose time easily. Our car also feels quite stiff on the bumps and cambers in the corners which we’ll look into.
‘It will be important to turn the tyres on quickly and get them working. Today for the first lap, I couldn’t get them to work immediately so we need to work hard on that for tomorrow. Ferrari look quick, as do Red Bull, so it’s not only about two teams which will be a lot of fun,’ added Bottas.