Belfast Telegraph

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes team fear repeat of their Monaco nightmare

 

Phillip Jordan

Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team will head to Monaco “bloody worried” that they could face a repeat of their horror show last year.

Hamilton turned on the style to crush his rivals by winning so impressively in Spain on Sunday and extend his Championship lead to a healthy 17 points over Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton toasted his triumph with the former McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen, who finished sixth for Haas, into the early hours ahead of his return to the cockpit of his Mercedes today for this week’s test at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The streets of Monte Carlo proved last year’s nadir for Hamilton after he qualified only 14th and took the chequered flag in a lowly seventh place on a weekend to forget.

Hamilton, along with team-mate Valtteri Bottas who will drive for Mercedes tomorrow, will this week rack up valuable mileage to gather as much information as possible ahead of Monte Carlo a week on Sunday.

“I’m bloody worried,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said. “We have seen there are tracks which suit us well and some that we are not perfect at.

“For whatever reason it is very difficult to undo the DNA of our car, and Monaco, as well as Hungary and Singapore, are tracks where we have under-performed.

“As much as I am overwhelmed by the victory here, my mind is already on Monaco, and I remember it wasn’t a pleasant Sunday night last year.”

The slow-speed nature of the most famous race on the F1 calendar is one which played into Ferrari’s hands last term as Vettel led Kimi Raikkonen home in a one-two finish.

“There are a lot of challenging races coming up and Monaco is a serious challenge,” Hamilton added. “Toto’s job is to worry and his mind will already be on the next race. We know that it is going to be a difficult weekend, but as we have seen this year, you can still take great points from races you do not win.”

Hamilton also confirmed his long-running contract saga is nearing a conclusion.

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