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Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes ace details Monaco Grand Prix hopes after testing

18 May 2018
Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes ace details Monaco Grand Prix hopes after testing

"The gap to Lewis was huge [in Barcelona], but there were many things that affected that".

"Our ambition needs to be that we're better off rather than worse off".

"There are a lot of challenging races coming up and Monaco is a serious challenge", Hamilton said.

Pressure had been building on the Silver Arrows following a tricky start to the season - a miscalculation by the team cost Hamilton dear in Australia and he had to settle for third and fourth-place finishes in Bahrain and China respectively.

Hamilton started the season with pole position in Melbourne but Ferrari won the first two races.

Nikita Mazepin was fifth quickest as he completed more than 100 laps for Force India, with this weekend's GP3 feature race victor enjoying another outing for the team.

Vettel was also fourth in Azerbaijan, when he made a mistake while trying to pass Valtteri Bottas late in the race.

"In the next few days there will be meetings and we don't know if the same tyres will be used in France and Britain".

Mercedes have recently struggled on the street circuit in Monte Carlo and Hamilton predicts that Red Bull will provide strong competition in the principality.

There's no doubt that the new shallower Pirelli tyre construction hurt Ferrari more than most.

"As with Valtteri, a one stop became the best strategy to defend the lead from there and managing the tyres and the pace was the goal from there to the finish". Mercedes, meanwhile, were the most obvious beneficiaries.

Pierre Gasly took over from Sean Gelael in the Toro Rosso on Wednesday afternoon, setting a time 1.3s faster than the F2 driver who spent all of Tuesday and Wednesday morning at the wheel. Verstappen finally got his first podium of the season and fulfilled his obvious speed and potential, which is good to see.

The ensuing loss of a front-wing endplate didn't have a major impact on the end result but Verstappen is still without a clean weekend in 2018.

GP3 race victor Nikita Mazepin was fifth fastest in the Force India and completed 108 laps despite a vehicle issue in the morning.

The Red Bull driver - on pole for the first time in Monaco in 2016 - set the fastest race lap on Sunday and, perhaps more significantly, was quickest in the last high-downforce sector. Kimi Raikkonen took pole past year. On the next lap, Hamilton, still on soft tyres, set another new lap record. They later pitted one after the other giving back the lead to the Briton. Kevin Magnussen in the Haas finished in P6 behind Ricciardo.

The American team showed excellent pace in pre-season testing in Barcelona and based on early-season results it would seem that low-fuel runs or some kind of testing trickery were not behind their headline times in testing. Carlos Sainz (Renault) and Fernando Alonso (McLaren) secured seventh and eighth places respectively.

There were six retirements on Sunday but this wasn't enough for Williams to get into the points. He was fortunate to finish so high considering he sustained some light damage to his front wing after driving into the rear of Williams' Lance Stroll during a virtual safety vehicle period near the end of the race. He and Grosjean remain the only two drivers to not score points in 2018. Sergey Sirotkin, meanwhile, finished 14th and last.