The seven-time world champion said he “really enjoyed driving” Mercedes’ upgraded W14, which features a revised sidepod design after the team finally abandoned their controversial ‘zeropod’ philosophy after more than a year. 

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Hamilton was third-quickest in the opening practice session in Monaco before ending the day sixth, just under half a second shy of pacesetter and reigning world champion Max Verstappen. 

Despite Monaco not being an ideal circuit to try out major updates, Hamilton was left encouraged after getting his first taste of Mercedes’ long-awaited upgrades. 

“I’ve generally had an amazing day,” Hamilton said after FP2. “I really enjoyed driving today. 

“I want to say a big, big thank you to everyone back at the factory because to build and design and develop a car is not an easy thing and everyone’s put so much time in, so many hours of hard work to get us here today. 

“I’m glad we were able to keep it on track for them and I think we got a lot of data. It’s not the place to ultimately test the upgrade. But the car was generally feeling good. 

“It’s a shame we weren’t as close as I’d hoped at the end of the session, but definitely felt the improvements and I’m grateful for them. 

“We’ve just got to keep chipping away and squeezing more juice out of the car.”

Asked if there was one specific area of improvement he noticed on the car, a coy Hamilton replied: “There is, I’m not going to say where. 

“But there is and it’s very clear where the lack of performance is for me. So we’ll talk about that in the debrief, we’ll put our heads together and try and figure out how we can do that with what we have. 

“But hopefully this gives us a platform to improve on moving forwards.” 

However, Hamilton downplayed Mercedes’ chances of challenging for pole position in qualifying on Saturday. 

“In P1, I thought ‘wow, we are looking pretty good’. But we are always looking pretty good in P1 for some reason,” he explained. 

“In this session we were close to half a second off. Maybe that could have been three tenths but I don’t think we have half a second in the bag. So we’ll see. 

“We’ll work on it and see whether we can work on it overnight.”