Hamilton confident after strong Monaco practice

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MONACO — After finishing second fastest in Friday practice for the Monaco Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton said his car felt better on the street circuit than it has all season.

Hamilton topped the first practice session and was 0.177s off the fastest time of the day set by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in second practice.

Qualifying is essential to securing a good result at Monaco due to the lack of overtaking opportunities, and Hamilton, who has not stepped on a podium since last year’s Mexican Grand Prix, felt positive after second practice.

“It’s been a good day, definitely,” he said. “The best day we’ve had on-track. The car was positive, I enjoyed driving it. The track is amazing. The grip is quite good.

“We still have some challenges with the balance but it looked strong.”

Hamilton said Mercedes still needed to refine the car’s setup to get the most from its tyres over a race distance, but remains optimistic about his performance level compared to the last two years in Monaco.

“What was a surprise was the grip level and how the car was reacting,” he added. “Definitely a more enjoyable ride than we’ve had here previously — in the last two years particularly.

“The second session, I don’t know if we improved. On the long runs we have to work to do overnight to make sure we can make it until the end of the race.

“We need to improve long run pace and graining.”

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