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Formula 1 Monaco GP

Hamilton set-up tweak "made life harder" in Monaco F1 qualifying

Lewis Hamilton admits he "made life harder" for himself in Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying with a set-up tweak for Q3 that ultimately didn't work.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Hamilton - who crashed in FP3 - got out of Q1 at the last minute with his final run, and the same thing happened as he made it out of Q2 with his last lap.

In the final segment he earned sixth on the grid, with the potential to move up a place if third-placed Charles Leclerc receives a penalty for impeding.

Hamilton also acknowledged that the upgrades Mercedes introduced to this weekend have already proved to be a benefit, but a set-up change to help with his final sector backfired on him in Q3.

“I didn't try to leave it late, it's just how it turned out!,” he said when asked about his eventful session by Autosport.

“Firstly, the team did a really great job in bringing these upgrades - you could really feel it straightaway, particularly at the front of the car.

“Our middle sector has been where we're losing out all this weekend so far, so I made a change into qualifying, which made it harder for us in the last sector. So you can't always have your cake and eat it.”

Asked if he’d wanted to change the car against the advice of his engineers, he said: “Yeah, so we'd been trying something through the weekend, and there was some uncertainty with it.

“We went back halfway on the other car, but I went the full way on mine. I was like, 'We should take it off', and they were like, 'No, no, we should keep it, we should keep it'.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

“I was certain of it and said, 'If I'm wrong, then I'll put my hands up'. At the end, I think it was OK. Probably for a single lap it was a little bit worse, but for the race I think it will be better.”

Hamilton admitted that he was concerned that he might not make it through to Q3 as he struggled to generate tyre temperature throughout qualifying.

“I struggled to get temperature into the tyres in this session, so it was always that last lap that managed to just pull something out," he said.

“But my heart was in my mouth, because it was like, it could be a yellow flag, it could be a red flag, who knows? But we made it through, and I'm grateful for the lap that we got.”

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Asked if he was surprised that it had taken so long for Mercedes to pursue a change of concept, Hamilton made it clear that he had hoped to see it happen earlier, while acknowledging that changing direction isn’t always straightforward.

“For sure,” he said. “I don't know what else to say! It's definitely difficult when you see it and see the proof of the concept and it's working. But it's not as easy as just changing it.

“You saw last year with the Aston, they changed the sidepods and they didn't go any faster - it took a whole heap of work over the winter.

“But the fact is, we are more in that direction, but still the airflow that they have - how they control the wake and everything - is still a little bit different to ours, and I think there's work we need to be able to use that smaller wing that they have.

“We're still not as efficient, they still have less drag, they still have more downforce pretty much everywhere, so we've got a lot of work to catch up.”

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