21 May 2015
F1 Monaco Grand Prix: Hamilton not focusing on ’14 qualifying rift
Lewis Hamilton will not be thinking about what happened to blow the Mercedes F1 team open in Monaco twelve months ago as he prepares to nail 'the perfect weekend' in the Principality.
Lewis Hamilton has said that he does not expect there to be any repeat of the row that soured qualifying at last year's Monaco Grand Prix, but acknowledges that the best way to avoid it is to do a better job.
Without going into detail of the feelings sparked by what he felt was his team-mate's deliberate attempt to sabotage his flying lap by running off the road at Mirabeau, Hamilton insisted that he was only focusing on raising his own game ahead of potentially the most decisive qualifying session of the season.
“I'm confident that last year's episode won't re-occur and so I don't feel the pressure either way,” he said when asked about his qualifying strategy, “I'm just going ahead with the mindset of being better than I was last year and doing a better lap.
“I arrive here just doing another new race. I'm mostly focused on areas that I need to improve on, so it's an opportunity, another chance. I've only won here once, in 2008, and that wasn't even a perfect weekend, so I'm still struggling for that. There are some that the drivers here have had over the years, so I'm looking for that.”
With Rosberg holding the championship advantage as the series arrived in the Principality twelve months ago, he had the choice of when to run in the final phase of qualifying. This time around, Hamilton is on top, but the Briton admits that the decision to go first or second is not an easy one.
“I do have the choice this year which is good,” the world champion conceded, “It's lucky that I get that in the sense that, at the first race, we tossed a coin, and I guess Nico perhaps won in the first race and chose to go second but, from race to race, there's pros and cons to being the first car or wanting to be one of the latter cars in qualifying, and naturally here, yellow flags and all those kind of things are an issue.
“To be honest, you could get it wrong either way. If you decided to go first and then, on your lap, there happens to be yellow flags, so... I don't know. I think we'll play to be as a team, me and my engineers decide.”
Rosberg, meanwhile, confirmed that, while running second was usually the way to go, Monaco made the choice a little more of a lottery.
“Usually going second, there is little bit extra grip because you won't be exactly behind your team-mate, you will have a couple of car lengths between,” he explained, “Every car puts down a fraction more rubber and you have that extra grip, so most of the time that is the thing to do. The only thing here is you have to weigh in the fact that something could happen, so it is something you need to weigh before qualifying and then everybody does their own choice.”
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