Belfast Telegraph

Lewis Hamilton is firmly on course for Monaco magic

By Ian Parkes

Lewis Hamilton enjoyed an "awesome" day ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, topping the timesheet in both practice sessions.

The reigning Formula One world champion spoke of his desire to achieve a "perfect weekend" after signing a lucrative three-year deal with Mercedes on Wednesday.

Things certainly look promising for Hamilton after impressing during both free practice sessions in the Principality.

The 30-year-old's time of one minute 18.750 seconds was the quickest of the morning session in Monte Carlo, while his one minute 17.192 seconds lap saw him again top the timesheet in a rain-affected second session.

Hamilton said on Twitter that this had been an "awesome day" and a "great job by the team" - form he hopes to continue when racing returns tomorrow.

"Every year, it stuns me how fast we have to think out there, with so much information coming at you, and you have to be more reactive and agile than anywhere else," he said.

"The target is always to get on the pace as quick as you can and to be very specific and precise in the set-up changes you make, so you don't go down the wrong path.

"When it rained we didn't need to take any risks so stayed in the garage, but the lap I did at the end showed that the black paint covering the white lines is even more slippery than the lines themselves.

"Now we need to work well, make the right steps forward with the car and pick up on Saturday where we left off today."

Hamilton is looking to top the podium in Monaco for the first time since the title-winning season of 2008.

The British driver's main competition is likely to come in the form of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

The German is looking to win in Monaco for a third successive year and recovered from finishing ninth in the first practice session to come home second in the afternoon, 0.740secs behind team-mate Hamilton.

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