Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 14, 2019. Image Credit: AFP

Monaco: Lewis Hamilton has hailed his mourning Mercedes team and says the performances of the car itself are “fantastic” ahead of qualifying on Saturday for Sunday’s 77th Monaco Grand Prix.

The defending five-time world champion and his Silver Arrows teammate Valtteri Bottas were seven-tenths of a second clear of third-placed Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari after Thursday’s opening sessions.

“I’m surprised,” he said. “I don’t know where all the time has come from — I don’t know if Max (Verstappen) maybe didn’t get in a time or what, but the performance we have here is fantastic. We’re constantly improving this car and understanding it and understanding the tyre. I guess that’s why you’re seeing the performance advantage we have.”

In the week of Niki Lauda’s death Mercedes want to honour the memory of their late non-executive chairman with a notable win.