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Monaco GP: Lewis Hamilton declares Mercedes' Friday as 'best day' of 2024 F1 season so far

Lewis Hamilton had a very strong Friday in Monaco as he finished first and second in the two practice sessions; Jenson Button thinks Silver Arrows are "right up there; watch Qualifying on Saturday at 3pm and the Monaco GP itself on Sunday at 2pm, live on Sky Sports F1

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Following Friday practice at the Monaco Grand Prix, a confident Lewis Hamilton says that the Monaco 'track is amazing!'

Lewis Hamilton has described Mercedes' Friday at the Monaco Grand Prix as their "best day" of the season so far on the track.

Hamilton was quickest in first practice and within two tenths of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in second practice, as he finished second.

The seven-time world champion, who hasn't won an F1 race for two-and-a-half years, looked fast straight away and had the upper hand on Mercedes team-mate George Russell.

"It's been a good day - definitely the best day we've had on track," said three-time Monaco winner Hamilton.

"The car was feeling really positive, I really enjoyed driving it, the track is amazing and the grip is good. We still have some challenges, but it was looking strong."

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Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets in first practice ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix

Mercedes are yet to score a podium this year and both drivers stated they were in "no man's land" in Imola, a step behind Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari, but ahead of everyone else.

Having a strong car over the bumps and kerbs is key in Monaco, which is something Hamilton appeared to have no issues with during Friday practice.

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"What was a surprise was the grip level and how the car was reacting here," he added. "It's definitely a more enjoyable ride than we've had here previously, the last two years particularly.

"The second session, I don't know whether we improved or not. Definitely, over the long runs, we have a lot of work to do tonight to make sure we get to the end of the race. We just need to improve the long run pace and the graining."

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Highlights of Friday practice from the Monaco Grand Prix

Russell backs Hamilton positivity

Russell wasn't as comfortable with the car compared to Hamilton as he finished the second practice session in 10th, but was third in first practice.

The 26-year-old, who won Mercedes' last race at the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix, thinks a top five is the minimum target for Saturday's Qualifying, which is live on Sky Sports F1 at 3pm.

"We know how quickly everything changes. Today has been one of our best Fridays, no doubt. The car has been feeling the best I've ever felt around Monaco, so lots of positives," said Russell.

"Everyone is developing so quickly at the moment. You see how quick the lap times are today compared to last year, we are way quicker, potentially even breaking the lap records. It's feeling good and we will have to see what the weather does as well."

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George Russell said his Mercedes was 'the best I've ever felt around Monaco'

Russell, who ran a new front wing on Friday, had issues with vibrations under braking, which forced him to end his second session slightly early.

He hopes Mercedes can solve the problem overnight as it cost him performance.

"As soon as I touched the brakes, the whole thing was shaking to bits. I don't know what was going on. I tried my best to hold on as hard as I could, like a gorilla trying to hold on and the thing kept shaking," Russell explained.

"On a track like this, where you really need the confidence to attack, it set us back and we decided to call it a day during the long run and analyse what was going on. Generally, the car has been performing really well today but Charles is well out in front."

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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 that he believes is more enjoyable and predictable to drive

Button: Hamilton getting maximum out of car

Mercedes are trying to bring upgrades to every race as they try to move closer to the front.

Sky Sports F1's Jenson Button says Mercedes will be "right up there" in Qualifying and thinks a four-team fight for pole position is on the cards.

"I don't think any [Mercedes] driver has been that happy over the past couple of races. It's nice to see them confident with the car. Lewis is getting the maximum out of it," said Button.

"George has his issues but is still doing OK. The vibration thing is a weird one. They will be looking at the steering rack and also the brakes because when he hits the brakes he gets the vibration.

"That's not a nice feeling when you are pushing the car to the limit and you can't see where you are going and you can't be precise which you need to be around here."

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

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

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

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 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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