Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton & Valtteri Bottas: Struggle at Monaco.

Toto Wolff & Lewis Hamilton admit set-up errors cost them in Monaco GP practise

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Heading into the sixth race of the calendar year, the 2017 season is gearing up to be an engaging contest between two giants of the sport in Mercedes and Ferrari.

At one of the most decorated races in the entire season, Mercedes began at Monaco with a splendid showing from Lewis Hamilton, who pipped world title rival Sebastian Vettel to take the top spot in the first practise session.

But, fortunes turned once they made changes to their set-up during the break, going into the second practise session, as both Mercedes cars struggled to keep pace with Ferrari, with Hamilton and Bottas finishing in eighth and 10th respectively.

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Comparing the timings with Vettel, who led at the end of the session, the reigning constructors' champions were 1.1 seconds behind.

Hamilton believes making the alterations in the set-up of the car cost them significantly, rather than their individual performances as both drivers struggled with pace and tyre wear throughout.

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Speaking on the issue, the 32-year-old was quoted by Sky Sports saying: "We were good in P1 but something went wrong in this session. We need to figure out why.

"The car was handling really good this morning but this afternoon, for whatever reasons, the tyres weren't working. That's something we have to study and figure out to fix for Saturday."

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff reiterated the same, claiming it was the fault on their part, but he is confident the team can make amends before Saturday's qualifying.

"We took a wrong junction in setting up the car in a direction which we believed was good," said the Austrian.

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"We couldn't back out of it. We committed to the set-up as it takes longer than a session to change and we decided to push through and collect some data.

"There was a lack of grip and we went out of the window everywhere."

He is of the opinion that there is no need to panic, insisting that working and analysing the data from the session is the only way Mercedes can put up a commendable display this weekend.

"We were pretty competitive in the morning and we just need to back track it. That's not a very difficult exercise but we lost a session where we could have progressed.

"We are lacking data so it's about sticking our heads together, staying calm and trying to work as well as possible on Saturday morning."

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Meanwhile, Finnish star and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas claimed the 10th spot and was just four hundredths of a second quicker than McLaren, who have had an abysmal campaign 'till date.

Vettel clocked 1:12.720, which was the fastest ever lap time recorded at the street circuit, and the Italian outfit is optimistic of a laudable performance from both Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen as experts believe Ferrari's style of racing will be more suited to the track.

The German ace leads the drivers' standings with 104 points, six ahead of challenger Hamilton at 98, with Bottas finishing the top three with 63 points.

It remains to be seen which team gets their tactics right on the given day, and all eyes will be on the Britain-based outfit to continue their domination both in drivers' as well as constructors' championships.

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