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Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes driver says he 'not getting too hung up' on bad qualifying form ahead of Monaco GP

Lewis Hamilton has been outqualified by Mercedes team-mate George Russell on six out of seven occasions this season; watch the Monaco GP weekend live on Sky Sports F1, with practice action from 12.30pm on Friday and Sunday's race at 2pm

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Lewis Hamilton reminisces on his first visit to Monaco as he confidently looks ahead to the race weekend in a car which he believes is more enjoyable and predictable to drive.

Lewis Hamilton says he is "not getting too hung up" on the "pretty bad" qualifying form he has experienced so far this season.

The seven-time world champion has been out-qualified by his Mercedes team-mate George Russell at six of the seven races so far this year going into this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, with his best effort a seventh place in Japan.

Hamilton, who holds the Formula 1 record for the most pole positions with 104, has also failed to make it through to the final part of qualifying on two occasions, while Russell has reached Q3 at every race.

The 39-year-old's struggles have come amid a dismal start to the season by Mercedes, which has left the Silver Arrows unable to compete not only with championship leaders Red Bull, but also Ferrari and McLaren.

Asked by Sky Sports News whether improving his qualifying performances has been a point of emphasis, Hamilton said: "I wouldn't say it's not been a priority but the whole weekends been the priority is to improve everywhere.

"But particularly since the end of last year and then all this year has been pretty bad on a Saturday.

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Lewis Hamilton narrowly avoided a crash after his Mercedes went spinning during FP1 of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

"But it is what it is, and I'll continue to work at it. So far I haven't got it to a great place but there's plenty of races left to sort that out. And there's plenty of time to iron out all the creases, in my performance and the in the car's.

"I'm not getting too hung up on it."

Despite being out-qualified by Russell at each of the last two races, Hamilton managed to finish ahead of his team-mate in Miami and Imola after strong Sunday showings.

"My race performance is still pretty decent, so fortunately I can kind of fall back on that for now," he added.

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Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and George Russell face elimination in SQ2 at the Miami Grand Prix.

Hamilton hopeful of Mercedes finding 'sweet spot' in Monaco

Hamilton's comments on Thursday come ahead of the most important qualifying session of the year in Monaco, with overtaking so difficult in Sunday's race that there are usually few changes to the running order after the first corner.

Hamilton is hopeful the Mercedes upgrade package that arrived in two parts in Miami and Imola Mercedes will help them to put on a competitive showing at the street circuit but admits previous performances this season in low-speed corners leave him uncertain.

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Lewis Hamilton is out in Q1 at the Chinese Grand Prix.

"You look at Suzuka, we were very slow in the slow-speed (corners). If you look at Jeddah, we were fast in the slow-speed and terrible in the high-speed, so I have no idea until I get out there tomorrow," Hamilton said.

"I think we should be a little bit better here. I think the window is starting to open in terms of performance between high and low, so I'm really hoping we've got it in a bit of a sweet spot.

"We weren't that far off in qualifying last year actually with a much worse car, so I hope that says something for this weekend."

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Lewis Hamilton makes stunning move over Nico Hulkenberg to secure P8 at the Chinese Grand Prix.

'Race win this season not realistic at the moment'

Hamilton and Mercedes had begun what is set to be their 12th and final season together - ahead of his blockbuster switch to Ferrari next year - with intentions of finishing on a high.

Senior figures at Mercedes have expressed confidence that further upgrades, expected to arrive across June and July, will bring them significantly closer to challenging for victories, but Hamilton says adding to his 82 wins for the team does not seem "realistic" at the moment.

"That's what we're working towards but at the moment it's not realistic," he said.

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Lewis Hamilton said Adrian Newey would be an amazing addition to Ferrari after the chief technical officer confirmed his exit from Red Bull this week.

"I don't know how the year's going to evolve. If others hit a plateau and don't develop and we continue to develop, or if they develop at the same rate as us, I really have no idea.

"But what I have to say is, we're going to continue to push. I haven't got a crystal ball so I have no idea how the year's going to end, but in terms of how we're working together and how we're continuing to stay focused and motivated, I think that's inspiring for me."

In a lighter moment during his press conference, Hamilton was asked whether learning Italian ahead of his move to Ferrari, or claiming a podium with Mercedes was a greater challenge.

"I think learning Italian could be the hardest probably," he responded. "But no, at the moment, getting to the podium probably is the less likely one."

Stream the Monaco Grand Prix and more with NOW
Stream the Monaco Grand Prix and more with NOW

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Sky Sports F1's live Monaco GP and Indy 500 schedule

Friday May 24
10am: F3 Qualifying
12pm: Monaco GP Practice One (session starts at 12.30pm)*
2pm: F2 Qualifying*
3.45pm: Monaco GP Practice Two (session starts at 4pm)*
5.30pm: The F1 Show
6.30pm: Indy 500 Final Practice
8.30pm: Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge

The Monaco GP takes places this Sunday at 2pm - live on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event

Saturday May 25
9.40am: F3 Sprint
11.15am: Monaco GP Practice Three (session starts at 11.30am)*
1.10pm: F2 Sprint*
2.15pm: Monaco GP Qualifying build-up*
3pm: Monaco GP Qualifying*
5pm: Ted's Qualifying Notebook

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Look back at some of the most dramatic moments to have taken place at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Sunday May 26
6.55am: F3 Feature Race
8.35am: F2 Feature Race
12.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Monaco GP build-up*
4pm: Chequered Flag: Monaco GP reaction
5pm: Ted's Notebook
5.30pm: The Indy 500

*also live on Sky Sports Main Event

It's time for the most-famous F1 race of them all - the Monaco Grand Prix. Watch every session from the famous street circuit from Friday live on Sky Sports F1, with Sunday's race at 2pm. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership - No contract, cancel anytime

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