The Formula One practice session 1 in Monaco continued…
(FP1 report part 2) The Mercedes F1 car looked beyond unstable as after 25 minutes, Lewis reported again, “The bouncing is crazy man”.
The team then changed Hamilton’s ‘heave spring’, while Russell tried a different front wing. Ted Kravitz commented, “These are quite big changes to be made at this stage”.
Rosberg explained, “The heave spring is the ride height spring for the whole car. You can open up the gap and you can make the spring softer. The problem is if you now go up 3mm with the car and you make the spring softer you know aerodynamically you’re going to go 1/10th second slower.
“So it’s horrible – you have to just guess and hope the better ride will then make you faster”.
Hamilton then went out and put a 1:15.5 just two 10ths from the leader at that time Lando Norris, although the Mercedes still car looked far from planted to the track.
Mercedes weren’t running their new front ‘cut away’ end plate wing designed for the Monaco weekend as they sought to build on the setup understanding they acquired in Barcelona. The wing may appear in FP2.
The Alpha Tauri with its shorter wheel base was performing well with 20 minutes to go as demonstrated when Pierre Gasley went P2 a mere 0.094s from the top of the time sheets.
With a couple of minutes to go Lewis radioed in, “It’s so bouncy out here I’m losing my mind”
“I Need elbow pads in this cockpit its so bouncy”
Mercedes are miles away from understanding this car. When on top of their game the car goes out for FP1 and the setup journey for qualifying begins. Big changes mid session do not inspire the driver with confidence in the car and the lap times don’t then come.
In fact both drivers fell backwards during FP1
Notably George Russell complained far less than Hamilton during the session.
The session finished with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc quickest with a 1:14:531. After his disappointment over team order last time out, Sergio Perez was P2, just 0.039s behind the Ferrari – with Carlos Sainz P3 and Max Verstappen P4 just over 1.8s away from LeClerc’s pace.
Mercedes were no-where with Russell P8 (-0.680s) again beating Hamilton and Lewis was almost a second of the lead time.