‘Ultra-high risk’: Hamilton’s car more difficult to drive than Russell’s Mercedes at Monaco

Sir Lewis Hamilton suffered from "incredible" bouncing during first practice in Monaco.

2016 world champion Nico Rosberg has sympathised with former team-mate and rival Sir Lewis Hamilton after a difficult Friday for the 37-year-old in Monaco.

Hamilton registered a total of 58 laps in the Principality over the course of the two sessions in Monaco, ending the sessions 10th and 12th respectively, an average of just over a second adrift of leader Charles Leclerc.

Team-mate George Russell managed 65 laps in what appeared to be a cleaner, less disrupted day of running for the 24-year-old, and he ended FP1 in P8, before giving a perhaps more representative showing of the Silver Arrows’ pace in the second hour by finishing sixth.

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Russell was, on average, around six tenths of a second quicker than Hamilton on Friday, but it is very possible that they were running distinct setups because, while the younger Briton did not appear to encounter many issues, the 37-year-old complained of “incredible” bouncing.

The nature of the street circuit in Monaco is such that the bumps on the road are exaggerated by the current cars which now create downforce using ground effect aerodynamics.

It seems to be different from the “porpoising” they have suffered so far this season, but there will be a fair bit of brain-racking from the German outfit as they try to figure out how to eradicate it.

Rosberg observes that the seven-time champion had a particularly uncomfortable ride during practice.

“It looked like they had one of the most difficult cars to drive out there, particularly on Lewis’ side,” he told Sky Sports F1.

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“You could just see the bouncing being rather extreme and also the snappiness, it was just all over the place and looked ultra-high risk. 

“Nevertheless, you’d have to say that George just put his head down and somehow, even with such a difficult car, found the rhythm and really has been extracting the maximum out of it.”

After day one in the famous streets of Monte Carlo, the German assesses that Russell’s side of the garage will be a bit more settled than Hamilton’s right now.

“I think being seven tenths [of a second] away, close to being the best of the rest behind Red Bull and Ferrari, is where George is going to be, isn’t he?” suggested Rosberg.

“That’s where Mercedes are. And it’s more on Lewis’ side that there’s a lot of head-scratching. 

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“He has completely lost the rhythm today and it’s just so difficult to get back into it tomorrow. So Lewis is now, big time, on the back foot at the moment.”

Russell has come into the race this weekend having achieved his second, and Mercedes’ third, podium of the season in Barcelona, while an excellent recovery drive from Hamilton saw him finish fifth after suffering contact on the first lap with Kevin Magnussen.