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    REPORT: Finding a Rhythm in Monaco It's a productive first day...

It's a productive first day of action in Monaco, with Lewis and Valtteri clocking up the laps around the streets of Monte Carlo!

What Happened?

-  Conditions were warm, dry and partly cloudy for Friday's duo of 90-minute practice sessions.

-  Lewis ended first practice in third place, 0.354s off pacesetter Daniel Ricciardo, with a 1:12.480 on HyperSoft tyres. He completed 34 laps in total.

-  Valtteri managed 39 laps during FP1 and was seventh quickest with a 1:13.502, also putting in his best time on HyperSofts. 

-  The second practice session featured a brief, 15-minute red flag for track repairs on the run to Mirabeau.

-  Lewis was the lead Mercedes driver in FP2, finishing fourth fastest with a 1:12.536 on HyperSofts. He lapped the track 34 times during the session.

-  Valtteri was one and a half tenths further back, with the best of his 38 laps - which was a 1:12.642 on HyperSofts - being good enough for sixth.

-  Practice sessions are even more important in Monaco, because it's crucial drivers find a rhythm and build up their confidence around the twisty street track before qualifying and race day.

What Did We Learn?

"We've had pretty good sessions today with both cars," explained Trackside Engineering Director, Andrew Shovlin.

"It's never easy in Monaco as the track is so short it's near impossible to put together more than two or three clear laps but both drivers have a good feel for the car and we have identified a few areas where we need to improve the balance.

"It's our first proper experience of the HyperSoft tyre which is giving good grip on single laps; however needs a bit of looking after on the longer run.

"In terms of pace it's difficult to know where we stand today, it does feel like Red Bull are the ones to watch in qualifying but we're in much better shape than we were this time last year and we've certainly got a car that is behaving more normally.

"The track is going to evolve a lot over the next couple of days and it can have a big impact on the balance of the car and how the tyres are working.

"As such, it's never easy to know how much to change for the final practice session but if we can improve a few issues in certain corners we should be in decent shape for qualifying and the race and be in a position to put some pressure on the others."

What We're Saying

Lewis: "It's been an okay day, we didn't suffer any damage which is a good thing. I said yesterday the Red Bulls were going to be quick which they were today.

"As expected, we struggled a little bit more. The car felt good in some places, in others it felt bad. So we have got some things to work on, but we're not completely in the dark; we're in a much better place than we were last year.

"We're closer to Red Bull and Ferrari than I expected, but we're still a few tenths off. So we've got some ground to cover and pick up if we want to be in the fight for the win.

"We've got to keep working on the set-up and try and see if we can pull out some more potential from the car.

"The HyperSoft felt good, but it doesn't last very long. It looks good for qualifying but could be interesting in the race."

Valtteri: "As we expected it was quite difficult today. We thought that Red Bull and Ferrari were going to be quick here and they were.

"The car didn't feel great in FP1 and we struggled a bit on the HyperSoft tyres. In FP2, we got it to work better.

"The gaps between the three teams are not too big though, which is good. We know our car has a lot of pace, but it is difficult to find the right set-up for this track.

"If we can find a good set-up and get some good laps in for qualifying, we should be able to fight for the pole, but I think it will be the most challenging qualifying session we've had this year.

"I'm very proud to be driving with my special Mika Häkkinen helmet in Monaco this weekend. Mika has proven in the past that the helmet design and a Silver Arrow are a good combination, so hopefully I will be able to get a good result as well."

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