Sir Lewis Hamilton has conceded that he does not believe he will be able to fight for the win at the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend despite the improved performance of the Mercedes in Spain.
Mercedes were quick and consistent for the first time this season last weekend in Barcelona as George Russell ended on the podium while Hamilton fought back from a first lap collision with Kevin Magnussen to take fifth.
It might have been fourth for the 37-year-old had it not been for late cooling issues but, nonetheless, he hailed a strong weekend for the Silver Arrows – a weekend that convinces him the German outfit can compete for wins this year.
“Yeah definitely. We have made a lot of improvements with the car, the race pace is much, much better and the car is much nicer in the race,” he said.
“We just have some improvements to make for it in qualifying.”
The seven-time champion confirmed that Russell ran a slightly different setup in Barcelona to cross reference their performance and see which one would be most effective.
Given the 24-year-old’s pace both in qualifying and the race, Hamilton would like to give it a go this weekend in the Principality.
“Our cars were a little bit different,” he confirmed.
“We experimented something on George’s car which ultimately [ended up] being the better way to go in qualifying so maybe the next race I can take that on.”
The 103-time race winner also reckons he might have been battling for the win had it not been for the unfortunate incident with Magnussen at the start.
“This is a great sign we are going in the right direction and I have no doubt that at some stage… because if I hadn’t had that I would have been fighting with the Red Bulls,” explained Hamilton.
“That gives me great hope that at some stage we will be fighting.”
However, that will not happen yet, as winning in Monaco is a unique distinction in that qualifying is usually key, and the Briton does not believe that Mercedes have the one-lap pace at the moment.
“I don’t know if we will be quick enough for that. I don’t think we are quick enough to qualify first just yet,” said Hamilton.
Hamilton’s P5 on Sunday keeps him sixth in the Drivers’ Standings, now seven points ahead of seventh-placed Lando Norris.