Hamilton and Mercedes arrived in Monaco hoping to take another step forward after appearing to do a lot to address its porpoising problem with its updates in Spain last weekend.
After struggling to bounce back from Monaco’s bumps in practice on Friday, Hamilton could only qualify eighth for Mercedes on Saturday.
The seven-time world champion was sixth after the opening laps of Q3 but was unable to improve on his final lap due to a red flag that popped due to the crash involving Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz.
Hamilton was worried about his chances of moving up the order on Sunday given the difficulty of overtaking in Monaco, saying he “hoped the weather improves and that creates opportunities, and maybe people adopt different strategies.
“It would be nice to have a bit of luck for once,” added Hamilton. “I’ve had [bad luck] all year. He has to stop at some point.
“It would be nice to have a little luck for once. I had [bad luck] all year. He has to stop at some point.
Photo by: Erik Junius
Hamilton had edged Mercedes team-mate George Russell in the opening races of Q3, only for Russell to improve late in the session and grab sixth on the grid.
Hamilton finished more than a second behind Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc on pole position, but said he expected Monaco to be difficult for Mercedes given their struggles in the final sector in Barcelona all weekend.
“I kinda expected that, we weren’t very good at low speed in the last race anyway,” Hamilton said.
“In fact, in the race, it was fine, but [not] on one lap so I anticipated that it would be difficult here.
“I think it’s worse than expected, because of the bumps. It’s super bouncy and bumpy for us everywhere, slow, medium and high [speed corners]. So difficult.
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff didn’t think the bump struggles signaled a return to porpoising for the W13 car as it “hit the ground in a very different way”.
“We don’t have a porpoise return, we’re hitting rock bottom,” Wolff explained when asked by Autosport about the rebound issues. “The car is too steep, too low, and it’s exactly the same gap as in qualifying in Barcelona.
“So it’s probably realistic where we ended up. The car is good for fifth and sixth and [Lando] Norris got ahead of us, but we shouldn’t expect miracles, especially here in Monaco.